How Sterling K. Brown and Brian Tyree Henry Finally Got Seats at the Emmy Table

August 25, 2017

Until last year, Sterling K. Brown and Brian Tyree Henry had carved out parallel careers as recognizable but not particularly nameable actors.

After meeting 10 years ago at the Sundance Theater Lab, as part of the cast developing “Wig Out!” by Tarell Alvin McCraney, they became close friends as they worked together, on plays including Mr. McCraney’s “Brother/Sister Plays” trilogy, and separately — Mr. Henry was in the original cast of “The Book of Mormon” and Mr. Brown appeared in television shows like “Supernatural” and “Army Wives.” Along the way their bond deepened as they watched peers break out.

“Brian and I both, for a long time, we would see film roles and TV roles go to people,” Mr. Brown said. “And we’d be like, ‘Oh man, good for them, but when is it going to be our turn?’”

The answer: 2016, when the actors appeared in three of the most acclaimed new series of the year. Mr. Brown, 41, won an Emmy for playing the prosecutor Christopher Darden in FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” and stars as Randall Pearson, the high-strung family man, in the NBC breakout drama “This Is Us.” Mr. Henry, 35, is now best known as Paper Boi, the gruff but hilarious rapper in “Atlanta,” also on FX. The roles have brought more opportunities — Mr. Brown has a role in Marvel’s coming “Black Panther,” among other movies, and Mr. Henry will work on a total of six films this year, including “Hotel Artemis,” a futuristic thriller in which he is the brother of a hero played by … Mr. Brown.

In July they each received Emmy nominations for “This Is Us,” with Mr. Henry getting a guest acting nod for his appearance in a February episode.

“I’m still in shock,” he said. “We’re both at the Emmys together, for me being on his show? I was like, ‘O.K. this is crazy, man.’”

In a joint conversation, the actors discussed their friendship and how it shaped their journeys from upstarts to Emmy nominees. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.

Did I read somewhere that you bonded in the early days because one of you shaved the other?

BRIAN TYREE HENRY When you put it that way…

STERLING K. BROWN It sounds really sordid.

HENRY It sounds so “Crying Game.” I had a full beard, but I was playing a drag queen in [“Wig Out!”]. So Sterling was like, “I’ve got some clippers,” because we’re in Park City, Utah, where I’m definitely not going to find any black barbers. And he shaved my face for me. It was very nice — I don’t know many people who would’ve hooked a brother up like that. I also think he was being very particular about his clippers.

BROWN That’s exactly what it was.

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Sterling’s GQ Photoshoot

August 25, 2017

What a beautiful photoshoot of Sterling from the new issue of GQ. Man, he looks sharp!

Gallery Links:
Sterling K. Brown Fan > PHOTOSHOOTS > 2017 > 016

Sterling K. Brown of This Is Us on His Ascent, Loving LeBron, and Black Representation on TV

August 25, 2017

GQ is featuring Sterling in their new issue … and what a great interview it is!

The Emmy-winning actor, here making monochrome look masterful, has some opinions on just how quickly Hollywood is running toward diversity.

However Hollywood charts talent, a pretty swift case could be made that the biggest breakout in the past year is not a newcomer but a veteran, Sterling K. Brown. After years of bill-paying recurring roles, Brown, 41, won an Emmy last fall for his deeply felt portrayal of Christopher Darden, co-counsel with Marcia Clark, in The People v. O.J. Simpson, and just earned a second Emmy nomination, for his hyper-sensitive Randall Pearson, the anchor of NBC’s heartstring-yanking This Is Us. While O.J. earned Brown prestige cred, This Is Us is the reason that people come up to him, spontaneously crying, when he’s out buying eggs. As he’s started getting recognized more, he says, “I catch myself every once in a while doing that weird thing that I see famous people do, where they have sunglasses and hats on and grow out beards thinking that they’re fooling people. Dude, you’re not fooling anyone, you look just like you.”

Brown’s recent success tracks an expansion in film and television of stories focusing on characters of color. This fall he appears in Marshall, about the young Thurgood Marshall, and early next year in Marvel’s Black Panther, the black-superhero movie directed by Ryan Coogler. Brown could not imagine a movie like Black Panther being cast this way a decade ago. “Hollywood is learning—Oh, we can make a dollar off of these stories,” he says. But even still, “there’s often the sort of conversation that transpires behind closed doors, and I shall entitle this conversation: There Can Be Only One.” What he means, of course, is that while there are more parts than there used to be, there still exists a kind of quota. “Why can’t there be two black guys? Why can’t there be a black woman?”

Brown recalls when, a few years ago, ABC green-lit a Kevin Hart project at the same time as it was shooting the pilot for Black-ish. ” The conversation was Well, which one are they going to pick up? Is it going to be ‘Black-ish’ or Kevin Hart? “Brown has spent 15 years with a front-row seat to Hollywood’s justifications of its aggravatingly narrow programming decisions. Now, though, not only is he present for the changing tide, but he’s quickly become one of its most recognizable faces. It gives him the platform to push things a little further. “Well, maybe we don’t have to choose anymore,” he says. “Maybe we can put them both on the air and see how the public responds.”

GQ caught up with Brown in early summer as he was finishing shooting The Predator and before returning to set for the second season of This Is Us.

GQ: A lot of the recent press about you is on how it has been a breakout year for you. It’s true that it’s been a huge year, but you’ve actually been a successful working actor for a long time.

SB: I’ve been able to pay the bills. I’ve been able to pay off my student loans. I was a homeowner before anything happened in the larger public eye. But yeah, I’ve been alright, I’ve been happy.

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New Gallery Section | Photoshoots

August 20, 2017

I have created a new category in the gallery called Photoshoots and added over 30 shoots of Sterling. Go and enjoy these beautiful portraits.

Thank you to Jess for donating two of the shoots!

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Sterling K. Brown Dishes on What to Expect from the This Is Us Season 2 Premiere

August 16, 2017

Sterling K. Brown wants to promise fans that the season 2 premiere of This Is Us will not disappoint.

“It’s a full episode,” Brown, 41, tells PEOPLE’s Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle in the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview (streaming now on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network) of the Sept. 26 return of his hit NBC drama.

Brown — who won an Emmy for his portrayal of prosecutor Chris Darden in The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story last year and is currently nominated for his work on This Is Us — says his character Randall will begin the show’s sophomore season pushing his wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) to adopt a child like Randall was adopted.

“He wants to sort of fulfill the legacy of his parents Jack and Rebecca, honor William’s [Randall’s birth father (Ron Cephas Jones)] memory, by adopting,” says Brown. “Beth doesn’t quite see it exactly the same way as Randall does, so they’re having a conversation, if you will, around this whole adoption issue.”

Unsure of how to proceed, Randall goes to seek the counsel of his mother (Mandy Moore).

“She tells him that it wasn’t automatic for her. When she first saw me as a baby she had to be convinced by Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), and Jack was just insistent, and he pushed, and sometimes there has to be that person in the marriage who pushes, who sort of guides the other person in the direction that they need to be,” says Brown. “She talks about how this stranger became her child, this child became her life, and that’s … Randall.”

“The adoption storyline is big and the way that we go about it transforms from Randall’s original perception of how he thinks it should be,” Brown continues. “So Beth and Randall come up with a compromise together for what works for them as a couple, similar to how Rebecca and Jack did — but it looks a little bit different.”

And Brown adds that his costars Chrissy Metz, who stars as Randall’s sister Kate, and Justin Hartley, who stars as Randall’s brother Kevin, are also in stages of big transition in season 2.

“The storylines are great because you have Kevin and his newfound career, or like resurgence of his film career, simultaneously trying to balance that with his relationship with Sophie,” says Brown, who is married to his Stanford University sweetheart, Ryan Michelle Bathe, and their sons. “Trying to find balance as an actor right now I can say is one of the most challenging things about ‘success’ because you want to be able to give everyone the time that they deserve, professionally and personally. And so, I got two kids at home, 6 and 2. I got a wife of 11 years who’s also in this business as well, so I empathize with Kevin on the journey that he takes throughout season 2.”

Brown says Kate’s burgeoning singing career is actually going to create a bit of conflict between the mother and daughter on the show.

“It’s something that she and her mother sort of shared with one another … and it’s interesting too because the relationship between mothers and daughters, like mothers and sons is like, we’re simpatico. But mothers and daughters can often have a sort of friction-full relationship, so we’ll see how this singing sort of brings up that tension between the two of them.”

But Brown says the tension is worth it for fans to get to hear Metz sing.

“She’s got a beautiful voice,” he says. “Chrissy Metz can sang.”

Watch Sterling K. Brown’s full episode of The Jess Cagle Interview before season 2 of This Is Us premieres Sept. 26 on NBC.


Listen to stars read An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power audiobook excerpts

July 31, 2017

“In some ways, it’s easy to understand one of the main reasons it’s taken so much time to fully recognize the self-destructive nature of our current pattern,” writes former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Al Gore in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, the follow-up to his 2006 global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth. “Nevertheless, the obvious and overwhelming evidence of the damage we are causing is now increasingly impossible for reasonable people to ignore.”

The Best Documentary Oscar winner, directed by Davis Guggenheim, was based on Gore’s lectures and global call to action. Like its predecessor, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power does some of the same, but this time the environmentalist exposes how humankind has caused the destruction of Earth in the form of a documentary and a book, which follows Gore around the world as he ties Zika, flooding, and other natural disasters to climate change.

Gore can be heard in one of three exclusive clips, below, from the audiobook that you’ll hear exclusively on EW; two others feature Shailene Woodley (Big Little Lies) and Sterling K. Brown (This is Us).

In addition to stories about how science affects health — air pollution contributes to developmental problems while natural disasters contribute to spiking rates of PTSD, depression, and anxiety in children, he contends — the book also touches upon the Truth Campaign, which began in 1998 as a means to decrease tobacco use amongst teens by exposing the manipulation of that demographic by tobacco company advertisements. The fossil fuel industry, it was later revealed, used those tactics to manipulate and mislead the public about the factual causes of climate change. Gore begs the public to ask the question, “Am I being played for a fool and taken advantage of by these giant corporations?”

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power hits theaters on July 28th.

Listen to the clip here.

Sterling Earns An Emmy Award Nomination

July 13, 2017

Congratulations Sterling on your Emmy Award Nomination! It is well deserved and we are so proud of you! Be sure to tune in to watch the Emmys on September 17th.

Best Actor in a Drama Series
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Matthew Rhys (The Americans)
Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan)
Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us)

Also a huge congratulations to Sterling’s co-star Milo for his nomination too!

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