As the series finale of Friday Night Lights and the pilot episode of The Chicago Code were both filmed in April 2010, Lauria had to keep travelling back and forth between Chicago, Illinois and Austin, Texas.
Lauria initially had difficulty handcuffing people for his role in The Chicago Code, often getting their shirt caught in the restraints. He eventually mastered the technique after working on it over the course of several episodes, and with the help of Detective John Folino from the Chicago P.D.
Matt starred in An Upset, a one-act, two-man play written by David Auburn. The play was one of five short works performed as part of Marathon 2008, Series A, which ran from May 9 - May 31, 2008 at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City.
Matt is a 2007 graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Drama.
(When asked what inspires him)
Lauria: First and foremost, my wife really inspires me. Second of all, I think people who are loving and purely selfless...are really inspiring.
(Speaking of his then up-coming role in Burn Notice)
Lauria: [My character] is really integrally involved in the case every step of the way. Instead of just coming to the team and asking for help, he ends up insisting that he be involved in the process of solving it.
(Speaking of Austin, Texas.)
Lauria: I will own a house in Austin before I'm done. It's so cool...It's got the best damn ice cream in the world–Amy's Ice Cream. Such delectable dishes as sweet potato flavored ice cream; it has pralines, marshmallows and sweet potato in it. Blueberry muffin.
(Of his Friday Night Lights character, Luke Cafferty)
Lauria: I always felt a closeness to Luke ever since he got kicked off the team. I just kind of related to him somehow. I'm not a football player, but I just knew where his heart was and how that disappointment felt.
(Of having to handcuff people on The Chicago Code)
Lauria: The cuffing is really hard! Every time I screw it up -- the shirt gets stuck in there or something.
(Speaking of the relationship between his and Jason Clarke's Chicago Code characters)
Lauria: It's all about trust and respect, and what's really cool about the dynamic of their relationship is that they earn each other's respect. Neither of them are willing to give up anything unless they see something from the other. It's a little bit of a chess match.
(Speaking of his guest role in Burn Notice)
Lauria: "[My character] is really integrally involved in the case every step of the way. Instead of just coming to the team and asking for help, he ends up insisting that he be involved in the process of solving it.
(Reflecting on his work on Friday Night Lights and The Chicago Code)
Lauria: I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to have as much variety as I've had early on in my career. Hopefully that'll continue.
(Of working in both Chicago and Texas, both atypical filming locations)
Lauria: That is a total gift. There's a definite atmosphere. You'd never get the feel and the pace and the rhythm and gravitas of Chicago in some studio in Hollywood. With that comes the personality, the culture, the social beauty that is unique to a specific location. That's the same with Texas. For me, it gives me a heightened sense of accountability to serve the people. If I'm playing someone from that place, I want to fully submerge myself into their lifestyle.
(Of Friday Night Lights)
Lauria: It's a great show. I started watching it as a fan, well after it'd begun airing, before I ever even knew I'd be cast in it. It's a little hard to believe that. I'm honored.
(Of doing the action scenes in The Chicago Code)
Lauria: I really don't want to put Chicagoans to shame and I really don't want to put cops to shame, so I'm glad that it's working. It's a blast. It's feeding the twelve-year-old inside of me.
(On playing his Chicago Code character, Caleb Evers)
Lauria: I certainly didn't want to play that [new cop] stereotype and I think Shawn [Ryan] knew that was a boring stereotype, and he was trying to avoid it. [Caleb]'s got guts, he's got intelligence, and he's a fast learner. It's more interesting; it makes it more dynamic.
(On working with Jason Clarke on The Chicago Code)
Lauria: He's a great actor, and he's a really intense artist. He brings an intensity to his work and to his discipline with the work, and it really sets the bar pretty high. Consequently, I've learned a tremendous amount working with him. He's also a very generous actor. Even people who were in one scene, he makes sure that he really gives in a way that will ensure a great performance from them. He's a really intense dude. We have a good time; we have a good balance.
(On the amount of input he has with his Chicago Code character)
Lauria: It's interesting. Shawn [Ryan] has really well drawn characters and relationships, and as the season rolls on, it becomes more collaborative. The writers pick up the rhythms and nuances, and over time, they kind of make you look good. They cater to your choices with the character. It's a give and take, which wouldn't exist without great writing.
(Comparing Friday Night Lights to The Chicago Code)
Lauria: I have a gun on my hip all the time and the 12-yr kid in me is running around and always chasing after bad guys. It's so gratifying! First of all, how do you find a project that is going to measure up to Friday Night Lights? The writing is superb, the characters, the acting, the legacy that has been established…I was so glad to find the writing in Shawn Ryan's talent. It's a gift for an actor for someone who wants to do that kind of work. My character, in terms of the comparison to Luke, he's more sophisticated and mature and that just comes with age and experience. He's kind of an academic superstar, he's more cerebral and he's a real achiever. He's a city boy and Luke is a country boy but it's great to have that variety and the show itself…nothing is like Friday Night Lights. This show is more traditional so it sharpens a whole other set of tools in your box. I'm so grateful that I keep expanding as an artist.
(In response to the question, "What initially surprised you about working on Friday Night Lights?")
Lauria: I wasn't expecting Austin, Texas to be such a phenomenal place. Everyone must go there and spend time there. It's incredible. I wasn't expecting such humility among the rest of the existing cast. With the new cast, I think I was just happy to be there. Michael B. Jordan – such a consummate professional and a humble guy – Jurnee Smollett, I mean, she's the sweetest and so gentle and loving and humble. And, of course, Madison Burge. She literally got out of high school and came on this show so she's so authentic and so richly that youthful high school honesty. Kyle [Chandler], Connie [Britton]…they're amazing. They're so sweet. We got there and they were like 'You guys are part of the fam' and took us right in. That was surprising. But to also have the responsibility that Peter Berg demanded from us. At the first dinner we had down there with them he said 'You have to take this show. You have to improv and you have to do it the way it's going to be natural for you.' That was a whole new style, obviously not taking any credit away from the writers but to really dare to sort of dangerously and riskily sit in yourself in a scene without trying to cover it up.