Sterling K. Brown didn’t mean to bring his work home with him.
After a day on the set of Hotel Artemis, “I’d sit on the couch and realize I left fake blood on it,” the This Is Us actor, 42, says. “I’d quickly try to get club soda, but it’s sticky!”
Call it an occupational hazard. In the gory action film, he plays an on-the-run criminal — code name: Waikiki — who brings his wounded brother (Brian Tyree Henry) to a secret, members-only hospital run by Jodie Foster‘s nurse.
Here, the dad of Andrew, 6, and Amaré, 2 — with actress wife Ryan Michelle Bathe — breaks open with Us.
Us Weekly: OK, be honest: Do you handle blood well?
Sterling K. Brown: I get queasy. My wife is the opposite. She watches Dr. Pimple Popper for hours at a time. It’s disgusting! People have a way of finding their opposites. I definitely found mine in Ryan Michelle.
Us: Hypothetically, let’s say you’re on the run. Who’s your partner in crime?
SKB: Brian. Our relationship on screen is very close to the one off screen. He probably did something, and I’m like, “Dude, we gotta go! Let’s run!”
Us: And who do you call?
SKB: Justin Hartley. He’s also my brother. We’re probably closest on set of This Is Us. I know if something happened that’s terribly embarrassing and I didn’t want any questions asked, he’d be like, “Don’t even worry.”
SKB: I was like a kid in the candy store! I’ve known Brian for 11 years and I’ve known Charlie for 19. We did the Williamstown Theatre Festival together in the summer of ’99. So it was nice to catch up. If you want the real tea on what’s poppin’, you hang out in the hair and makeup trailer. So that’s where I would go. I’m not the dude who loves to be in my trailer when I don’t have to be.
Us: There’s some seriously nice butt-kicking in this, too. Did you have to revamp your workout or diet?
SKB: When I’m not in season for This Is Us, I get more time to workout. So, if anything, I turned the dial from a seven to a nine. I play a lot of basketball because it’s working out without thinking about working out. I’ve actually stopped lifting heavy weights. In grad school, my teachers told me I was too big and wasn’t allowing emotions to flow through me. So I changed to high reps, low weight. I’ll leave the bulk to my brother [and costar] Mr. Dave Bautista.
Us: The Hotel Artemis has a strict set of rules. What about in your house?
SKB: There’s a “no profanity” clause. But Andrew, my oldest, generally encourages free and open banter from adults because every time they slip up, he gets a dollar — two for an F-bomb! He’s very smart.
Us: Will your sons be impressed to see you playing a badass?
SKB: I think they’ll definitely dig it. They’re very much boys. The baby will attack Andrew and Andrew will fake hold him down. I think this will speak to them.
Us: As a father, are you drawn to projects they’ll be able to appreciate?
SKB: I do what I enjoy with an eye toward hopefully not embarrassing them in the future. I would love for them to look back on their dad’s body of work and be as proud of it as I am. I don’t think I’ve come close to anything that they would be ashamed of — and I hope I never do.
Us: Everyone at the Hotel Artemis has a code name. What would yours be in real life?
SKB: Brown Sugar, because I’m brown and sweet!
Hotel Artemis hits theaters Friday, June 8.