Zach is obsessed with the TV series Lost. Some of the other shows he watches are 24, Dexter, and reality shows such as So You Think You Can Dance, Hell's Kitchen, America's Next Top Model, and Survivor.
A Chicago native, Zach is a huge fan of basketball and the Chicago Bulls. "Pip 33", which was tattooed on his calf by a high school friend, is in honor of former Bulls forward Scottie Pippen. He also has a dog named Pippen.
Zach is 5'9" tall. He has natural brown hair and green eyes.
Zach and his The Last Winter castmates were nominated for the 2007 Gotham Awards Best Ensemble Cast.
During the summers in his hometown of Evanston, Illinois, Zach used to teach young kids as he volunteered for the YMCA Camp Echo, where his sister Eliza also worked.
While he was at Northwestern, Zach never had any film training. He only appeared in student films.
It took Zach eight auditions and the fortune of having the producers' first choice back out from the show before he got the role of Matt Saracen on Friday Night Lights.
When he was in high school, Zach put up a stage production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. He also starred as George in the play.
In 2006, Gilford is credited by TV Guide as giving life to "the best character on network television" - Friday Night Lights' Matt Saracen.
Despite playing a starting QB on Friday Night Lights, Gilford never played quarterback and his own football career ended in high school with a broken leg. Football is his favorite sport to play and watch.
During his free time, Gilford leads backpacking and ice climbing expeditions in Hawaii, the South Pacific, Alaska, British Columbia, and California. He is among the main trip leaders of the Adventures Cross-Country association since 2003.
Zach has been living in Los Angeles, California. (2009)
Zach Gilford: (on his dream role) It'd be cool... to be the next 'Bourne'. It'd be cool to be an action hero, but I want to be that kind, where it's like more realistic. As much as I wouldn't mind fighting robots in Transformers, I think it would be more fun to do the thing where it technically is realistic. No CGI. Like Taken was such a cool movie.
Zach Gilford: I played a ton of sports. I'm not the most physically built person so I wasn't going to be the big athlete, and all my friends were. I played basketball, football, volleyball, baseball and all that growing up. I love it, I still play anytime I can. I love playing basketball.
Zach Gilford: I'm a late-night person, but not because I party. I've just always had trouble sleeping. When I was unemployed and living in New York, I couldn't shut my brain off. I'd think about girlfriends, rent, whether I had money to go home to Evanston, Illinois, for Thanksgiving.
Zach Gilford: I'm not the kind of person to follow any one person, but I have plenty of people I admire in performances; it could be a TV actor or just someone I saw playing a great part in a movie and then wonder what else they are up to. And then it makes you curious as to what they are like in real life. Are they nice or are they a jerk?
Zach Gilford: I know it's lame but I'm a big procrastinator. I am totally the kind of person who waits till the last minute and I just get it done. And I get annoyed because when I do actually put the time into getting things done ahead of time, it turns out really well. I'm a clean person and I let things pile up until I finally go "oh this has got to stop" and I go and literally take the toaster off the counter and start scrubbing.
Zach Gilford: I think my strength is always been in being very natural. I think Shakespeare and things like that would be more a stretch for me. Something like more contemporary [is more suited to me], I did a lot of Eric Bogosian, or Sam Shepard, which is all about being real.
Zach Gilford: I'm not arrogant, but I always had confidence that I didn't suck. And I was willing to take chances and do characters that were stretches.
Zach Gilford: With even my limited knowledge of film festivals, Sundance has managed to develop some kind of mystique in my head. Somehow I've grown to think of it as a winter wonderland of films - independent films, which, I believe, means they are edgy and cool.
Zach Gilford: I don't Twitter. I'm on Facebook, but just as a means to keep in touch with people if I want to, just to be aware of where people are and what they're up to. But I've never updated my status. I find that so annoying and obnoxious. I updated my status once on my birthday. I said, 'Zach appreciates all the birthday wishes.' I hate it. I don't know why people feel the need to every five minutes let people know what they're doing.
Zach Gilford: The best acting advice I got -- and it's the one consistent thing I stick with -- is, 'Just be there.' In other words, if something happens on the set that shouldn't have, don't pretend it didn't. Respond to it.
Zach Gilford: (on how starring in a big show has changed his life) I'm hoping it doesn't. I enjoy my life the way it is. It's kind of fun to see a big billboard with your picture on it, but at the same time, in big party situations I always kind of migrate to the corner if I don't know anyone.
Zach Gilford: In TV, there's a trap of getting comfortable in just playing that character you play on the show. And if you do that, that's who you are going to be for the rest of your life. So you really have to make an effort to get yourself out there and be seen in a different way so you don't get pigeonholed as an actor.
Zach Gilford: (on "Friday Night Lights") I call it a "lottery job" because everything from the quality of the project, to the people I work with, to the place I'm working -- I couldn't ask for more.
Zach Gilford: (on playing "Friday Night Lights"' Matt Saracen) What I love about the role is that he's an Everyman. Everyone can relate to him. He's not the glorified person we all want to be but rather the person we all are.
Zach Gilford: (on his love for football) I spent time in Odessa with the Permian Panthers and here with the Westlake Chaparrals, and that really hooked me. Every Friday I flew from L.A. to Austin to see a high-school football game. My friends thought I was crazy, but it really got into my blood and transcended sport.