Taye Diggs and Daniel Ezra as Billy Burke and Spencer James

Meet Spencer James. He’s a rising high school football player and straight A student at South Crenshaw High. Although it can be dangerous, Crenshaw is the place he calls home.

But Spencer is given an opportunity he can’t turn down when Beverly High School’s football coach Billy Baker recruits him to join their team.

Taye Diggs, who plays Coach Baker, says his character is competitive and driven and “never lost the taste for success”. He sees Spencer as a gamechanger for his team.

Spencer is then forced to navigate two worlds – the south side neighbourhood that he knows and the affluent Beverly Hills school that could help him to realise his dream of playing in the NFL.

Spencer’s appearance at the school causes friction amongst the team, which includes Baker’s son and starting quarterback Jordan - think Friday Night Lights meets The O.C.

The series is produced by Greg Berlanti, who also brought us Dawson’s Creek, Brothers & Sisters, Blindspot, Riverdale, Deception and the DC Universe shows Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl.

Spencer Paysinger

It is also loosely based on the life of former NFL player Spencer Paysinger, who works as a consulting producer on the show. 

Though it’s called All American, the show's main star is anything but. Daniel Ezra, who plays the young American football star Spencer, is British and sent his audition tape over from London. 

Originally from Birmingham, Ezra says he perfected his American accent by listening to California rappers, travelling to the real Crenshaw with pilot director Rob Hardy, and staying in accent throughout filming.

Daniel Ezra

He surprised the entire cast and crew with his British accent only after filming wrapped on the pilot episode. 

As well as perfecting an impressive American accent, Ezra said he worked hard on making the American football appear believable.

“The real Spencer can’t have his name on a football show and the football not look good,” Ezra told the Los Angeles Times.

“That made me feel the extra responsibility of wanting to look as comfortable in the film as possible. I bought a football, and I just carried the football around for like a month until we started shooting.”

All American premieres Thursday 11 October at 8pm on TVNZ OnDemand.

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