On NBC’s new mega-hit This Is Us, Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore portray Jack and Rebecca Pearson, the parents of three children; an adopted African American son named Randall (Sterling K Brown) and twins of their own, Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Kevin (Justin Hartley).
In a unique format, the story, which begins in 1980 when Rebecca is giving birth, jumps around throughout the intervening thirty-six years to the present day.
Milo and Mandy came, with other members of the cast, to the TV Critics tour to discuss the show, which has just been renewed by NBC for two years.
Milo, what are your thoughts about how the show is going to progress for two more years. Especially as it has been revealed the Jack is no longer alive?
Milo: We are excited to see what’s coming. At least Jack is definitely in the past and there’s a version of Rebecca in the present day.
I think it’s an amazing thing to play, knowing that we are exploring different ages and different decades of ourselves, individually and collectively.
Also I trust Dan (Fogelman, the series’ creator) and the writers that they’re going to unfold these stories when and how they need to come out. I don’t worry about it.
When you first read the pilot, what was the catalyst that made you say, ‘I’ve got to do this?’
Mandy: The writing was so spectacular. You just sailed through the script, and we knew who these people were. It was all on the page.
I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason, and I could not be more thrilled. I read the script in October of (2015). Immediately it was like, I would do whatever I can to be a part of this.
Milo: It was a very comforting feeling. Knowing that we had these beautiful words and this beautiful beginning of the relationship that ultimately turns into the family and the extension of the family.
To echo what Mandy said, I’m 21 years (an actor) and this is the best job I’ve ever had.
You have an intimacy on screen that is very believable. Was that there from the beginning?
Mandy: We met during the audition process. We had a callback together.
As an actor, it’s your job to dig a little deeper, find that intimacy and try and make that connection. But sometimes it’s just right there on the surface.
Milo: It was a very natural thing. I think also it’s a commitment to the work.
Mandy and I have had a bunch of conversations about Rebecca and Jack as a couple and our commitment to them.
I’d say to her, ‘From action to cut, you’re my wife, so let’s make something beautiful and hopefully entertaining and something people can connect to.’
When people come up to you and say they love the show, are there specific reasons?
Milo: I had one gal say that the work we’re doing was important. And I think that was one of the things that impacted me the most.
When you’re on a television show you want to entertain. You want to get the job done.
When people say, ‘The work you’re going is important,’ I think it’s filling a void. [This is] particularly in the television landscape that does get cynical, dark, and riddled with zombies, that is more hopeful.
This Is Us Mandy Moore Soundbyte
During an NBC reception for the series, I asked Mandy what she thought the reason for the show’s success was?