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‘Amazing’ opportunity: French actor stars as soccer player alongside Jason Sudekis in ‘Ted Lasso’

Kola Bokinni, Nick Mohammed, Brett Goldstein, Billy Harris, Toheeb Jimoh, Stephen Manas and Cristo Fernandez in “Ted Lasso.” (Courtesy of Apple TV+)

Stephen Manas grew up in France as a huge soccer fan.

When the opportunity came up for him to be on the TV series “Ted Lasso,” he wanted in.

“When I first read it, I thought it was amazing,” Manas says. “Lucky for me, I got the opportunity.”

In the Apple TV+ series, Jason Sudeikis plays Ted Lasso, a small-time college football coach from Kansas hired to coach a professional soccer team in England, despite having no experience coaching soccer.

Manos plays Richard Montlaur, one of the players.

“The cast was amazing, and I felt like we all came together on set,” he says. “I had come from London to the shoot. It was a little strange for me. Once we started filming, I became more comfortable.”

Manas grew up in Megève, a ski resort village in the Alps of southeastern France. With a ski teacher mother, he found a love for skiing and outdoor sports at a young age.

Music also heavily influenced his life, and he learned to play many instruments, including clarinet, piano and saxophone.

But it wasn’t until the first Harry Potter film came out that he fell in love with cinema, watching it over and over again.

Stephen Manas

At age 17, he moved to Lyon, France, for marketing and business school. Shortly after the move, he was discovered on the street for acting and got his first taste of the entertainment world when he was cast for a small part in an independent film – falling in love but not quite yet knowing how to break into the industry.

After school, he took a corporate job in marketing that he hated and when a talent agency based in India cold-called him, he jumped at the chance to work in film again.

“I started to be an actor in small productions,” he says. “I discovered the acting world very late, but it’s something that has grown over time. I’m in the right place.”

Manas moved to India, where he immersed himself in the Bollywood industry, building his acting résumé.

After two years living and working in India, he returned to France in 2018 to tap back into French cinema.

“I learned acting on the set of movies,” he says. “Every year, I would come back to France and try to be in the movie industry. One day, I met a young guy who was still in school for film, and he had a project he wanted me in.”

Manas booked the lead role in the award-winning short film “Out of Frame/Hors Champ,” for which he also won numerous acting awards.

When Manas is not working in front of the camera as an actor, he is composing music behind the scenes.

“I try to stay well-rounded in what I do,” he says. “Every opportunity is a blessing.”

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