Jack and Rebecca Pearson always have The Big Three’s back — on and off set.
“I’m definitely the father, [Mandy Moore’s] definitely the mother. But I think we both feel protective of our group,” Milo Ventimiglia, 40, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Not just our cast but our entire group. There is a level of looking out for everyone. I know Susan [Kelechi Watson] has called me ‘Papa Pearson’ or ‘Papa Bear’ before. So if she says it it must be true.”
Ventimiglia and Moore, 33, star in This Is Us alongside Justin Hartley (Kevin), Sterling K. Brown (Randall) and Chrissy Metz (Kate). The cast is extremely close in real life, even attending Harley’s recent wedding in October.
“[We’re] very supportive,” Ventimiglia says of Hartley, 40, and Brown, 41. “I don’t get a chance to work with them, barely if at all. So just seeing the work that they’re doing even the moments that I’m not around it’s inspiring. I’ve told both of them — I’m as much a fan of them as people as I am a fan of their work. They are good men and they are putting in the most beautiful work.”
The NBC drama has been collecting nominations and awards since its debut last year. On Monday, it was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Drama as well as nods for Moore, Brown and Metz. Back in September, Brown also won an Emmy in the Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, in which Ventimiglia was also recognized.
“It’s nice to be a support team for them. And that’s everyone on the show — Chrissy and Mandy and Sully [Chris Sullivan] and Susan. Everyone is really, really embracing who these characters are and living them to the fullest,” Ventimiglia, who recently teamed with Kelley Blue Book, adds to Us. “It’s been one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.”
When not in front of the camera, Ventimiglia is usually on the road. “Kelley Blue Book has always been something that I consult,” he says. “I think that’s a good thing especially living in Los Angeles and being in our cars all the time and just sort of what people experience when they are on four wheels. I always grew up around cars, I enjoy cars. It doesn’t mean that I’m always seeking that biggest, fanciest vehicle. It’s a lot of well, what’s going to get you to point A to point B.” (Kelley Blue Book recently announced the Best Buy Awards, which lists the top 2018 car models.)
He also describes himself as a “motorhead,” as he sometimes goes on motorcycle rides with fellow Gilmore Girls alum Scott Patterson. He jokes: “My favorite moment with Scott on the road? He’s not going to like this. Seeing him in my rearview mirrors!”
For more, read the rest of his Q&A below:
US: What’s been one of your favorite Jack speeches so far?
MV: Gosh, there are so many different ones. The pool episode with young Kate talking about how she’s a princess in my eyes and she doesn’t need a T-shirt. The recent speech that I gave to Randall about balancing. It’s a simple speech but it’s about giving confidence to your kids. There’s a lot more coming [with] Jack and Kevin. Being tougher than the chicken pox, which was always a fun one. I love the confidence that Jack is giving his kids especially knowing that he’s not around as adults. And it’s coming up during a time where we understand when Jack is actually going to die.
US: What’s been one of the toughest scenes to film?
MV: Jack is very stoic — he doesn’t really let his kids or his wife see the weaker moments he has. So I think the scene with teenage Kate admitting to her that he has a drinking problem was a difficult scene only because you imagine the hero, worshipper Kate has for her father and for him to tell her he’s not always the shining hero. It was definitely a hard one.
US: Would it be safe to say that you and Mandy mentor the younger kids on set?
MV: Oh, totally. Oh, of course. They are young artists. I didn’t get into the business until I was 18 so to understand what they must be seeing in their world. It’s not the work it’s the experience of the work and what it exposes you to in terms of pressure from the outside world, from the audience, to jobs, from anything. They’re still kids. They still have to do their homework!
US: What’s the biggest advice you would give them?
MV: Be yourself and have fun.
US: I love how the last episodes centered on Number 1, 2 and 3. Will you and Mandy possibly get your own character-centric episode?
MV: I’m sure at a certain point, there may. I kind of feel like the last episode of the season last year, the first season, was a very heavy Jack and Rebecca episode. We’ve got hopefully a lot to play with so I’m sure there will be something like that a little more Jack-centric or Rebecca-centric. There is a lot of different ways of storytelling on the show.
US: Do people still come up to you about Jack’s death?
MV: All the time! Yeah, every day. Every day. Every day people ask me about Jack’s death. It’s OK, I don’t mind it!
This Is Us airs Tuesdays on NBC at 9 p.m. ET. The drama returns on January 2.
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