This Is Us finale: Sterling K. Brown on Randall’s family surprise

March 16, 2017

The season 1 finale of NBC dramedy This Is Us ended on an unsettling, uncertain, unkind note for Jack and Rebecca after a vicious, years-in-the-making fight sent Jack packing for Miguel’s place. But before a sobered-up Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) told Rebecca (Mandy Moore) that their love story was just getting started and walked out the door, Rebecca worried that this trauma would affect her kids. Jack assured her that the Big Three would be just fine. “Sometimes they’ll make good decisions, sometimes bad decisions,” he said, “and every once in a while, they’re going to do something that’s going to knock us off our feet. Something that exceeds even our wildest dreams.”

In a flashforward sequence during our ’90s story — or, as you may also know it, the present day — Kate (Chrissy Metz) announced to Toby (Chris Sullivan) that she’d like to become a singer, following the dreams that her young (and older) mother had, and Kevin (Justin Hartley) jetted off to a meeting with Ron Howard about a movie in L.A., which would take him away from Sophie (Alexandra Breckenridge) in New York. Time may deem those two choices “Good” or “Bad,” but we already know which Big Three decision falls under “Knock Us Off Our Feet.” It came courtesy of father-of-two Randall (Sterling K. Brown), who surprised his wife with a feel-good announcement. After we saw him add a picture of William (Ron Cephas Jones) to a photo album and leaf through childhood pictures of himself with his adoptive parents, Randall told his wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) that he wanted to adopt a child. Indeed, the man who was taken in by the Pearson clan 36 years ago to create the Big Three, is now looking to create his own three-sibling familial unit and in a way, to honor the legacy of both fathers.

How did Brown feel about this perfect pay-it-forward parenting moment? “It was a conversation that Dan [Fogelman, the series creator] and I had early on about a possibility to be explored in the upcoming season, and it makes great sense to me — on a personal and professional level,” he tells EW. “Professionally, in the context of the show, having been the product of an adoption myself, and having a loving father and being able to pay homage to my family, makes perfect sense. And then also myself being a father of two and on the precipice of wanting to expand my family or not expand my family, it’s a conversation that my wife and I have all the time. So, it’s sort of art imitating life imitating art. I don’t know which one came first, the chicken or the egg.”

The egg was almost fertilized earlier the season. In “The Game Plan,” Beth thought she was pregnant, causing the spouses to spiral into a mess of stress. And just when they both managed to get to a good place of acceptance and love, they learned that she was not pregnant — and celebrated in relief. So, what changed in Randall about expanding his family as he looked over that album? Factor in the literal and figurative journey he made with William, as well as the fact that he now has the time to focus on such an undertaking now that he reprioritized his life to honor William’s legacy; in “What Now?,” he rolled down the windows and quit his pressure-cooker job doing… you know, something with the wind. “It definitely was something that went on internally within him,” says Brown. “I believe that Randall and Beth talk about everything [but] our show begins with him doing something where he doesn’t announce to Beth that he’s actually going to be bringing his biological father home, and it seemed perfectly fitting to go ahead and end the season with him not talking to her and saying, ‘Yeah, I think we should do this.’ I just think [it’s] the loss of William, going to visit Jack’s memorial, recognizing the benefits of having had his mom and dad bring him up in the loving environment, and wanting to possibly have another child. And part of the thing personally my wife and I explore — because we have two boys — my wife sometimes is like, “It would be really nice to have a little girl.” And I think to a similar extent, he’s one of three, he has two girls right now, it could be very nice to have a little boy.”

While not too much is known about season 2 — series creator Dan Fogelman does promise, “We’re not going to be coming back into season 2 with them divorced and sharing the kids on the weekend”— the adoption process seems to be an early order of business. “That’s something that’s going to be explored right from the beginning,” hints Brown.

Before “Moonshadow” aired, Brown said that the finale “was one of the first episodes that I watched that just left me saying, ‘Man, this is dark,’” pointing to that Jack-Rebecca fight, which he called “pretty damn special.” “Something that I appreciate about Dan is never being afraid to recreate the show anew.” While fans are now voicing disappointment that they did not learn or see how Jack dies in the finale, Brown previously dropped a hint to EW that it will be impactful when it’s finally revealed. “I think Jack died the way that he lived, by always trying to do the right thing,” he said. “I think folks are going to be moved, and surprised, and it’s very, very sad.”


Events Sterling Attended in 2016

March 15, 2017

I have been working on adding all of the images to our gallery from the events Sterling did during 2016 as he promoted both The People Versus OJ Simpson: American Crime Story and This is Us.

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Sterling K. Brown Fan > PUBLICITY > 2016

Go Behind The Scenes Of The Season Finale of ‘This Is Us’

March 14, 2017

‘This Is Us’ has been somewhat of a surprise hit for NBC.

The show has been in the top 4 of the week for prime time on all 4 of the major networks. It feels as if people love to watch the series, knowing they are going to tear up at all the emotion. The cast has become a bit of a family with this rollercoaster of a show, and even though NBC has announced they will be back for (at the very least) two more seasons, the cast still got emotional on the last day of shooting for Season 1. Sure, they know they will be back, but it is very much for them like not seeing the family they’ve seen weekly since the beginning of the show.

In the above interview, the cast of ‘This Is Us’ including Randall (Sterling K. Brown), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) get a little emotional as they talk to us after they finish shooting the last episode of the season.

This Is Us Season Finale called “Moonshadow” airs tonight, March 14, 2017, at 8:00 PM EST on NBC and the show will return soon.

To watch the video of this interview go here.

TV This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown: ‘Jack died the way that he lived’

March 14, 2017

As tonight’s season one finale of This is Us approaches Entertainment Weekly spoke with Sterling on what is to come …

“What Now?,” the Mar. 7 installment of This Is Us, proved a pivotal episode for Randall (Sterling K. Brown). After attending the unconventional memorial service for his biological father, William (Ron Cephas Jones), the husband and father of two had a healing conversation with his mother, Rebecca (Mandy Moore), over her hiding of William from him for 36 years and then later marched into the office late at night and quit his job, walking out in triumph.

Of course, those were far from the only noteworthy moments of the episode. In fact, it ended with two huge developments: Kate (Chrissy Metz) confessed to Toby (Chris Sullivan) that Jack’s death was her fault, and Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) — bearing in mind Kate’s words to fix the marriage — hopped in a car and seemed to drive off to her gig two hours away, having had a few drinks.

Brown spoke at length with EW about Randall’s big night, as well as his goodbye to William in “Memphis,” and here, he offers his thoughts on those fraught scenes with Kate and Jack, starting with the one for which Randall is indirectly responsible. After all, it was Randall who advised Kate to share her feelings and grief with Toby (Chris Sullivan), which prompts her to tell her fiancé that she’s the reason that Jack is dead. So, how much of it really is Kate’s fault versus her just feeling guilty?

“When somebody passes away, everyone asks themselves questions like, ‘Man, if I had probably talked to them more…’ or ‘If I had maybe not asked for so much….’” Brown tells EW. “Everybody has a way of internalizing their grief sometimes to make it seem as if they could’ve done something to change things. I would say this is a mind of a 16-year-old who’s now 36, but you can’t help but relate to it from age 16, so however mature you are, there’s certain ways in which your development has been arrested. There is a reason that she believes that, and it’s understandable from my perspective, but I also have a level of grace with her as her brother to recognize that nothing is ever anybody’s fault.”

The episode transitions from Kate telling Toby that she’s to blame into a buzzed Jack calling teenage Kate (Hannah Zeile) from the pay phone outside the bar and telling her that she was right and that he’s going to work on the marriage. He then drives off, leaving viewers to wonder/worry how connected those scenes are — and if tragedy is about to ensue, given our knowledge that Jack dies sometime this era. “The scenes are laid out exactly the way in which [creator] Dan [Fogelman] intended them to be laid out,” Brown says cryptically. “I watched the episode, and I said to myself, ‘When folks see Milo get into that car, they’re going to take a collective gasp.’ That’s the intention of our showrunner.”

What about Jack’s death, you ask? Is tonight the night? (Series creator Dan Fogelman indicated earlier this season that by season’s end, viewers will know more details about Jack’s death, but not everything.) As you saw in the previews for the finale (9 p.m. ET/PT, NBC) at the end of last week’s episode, we will follow Jack on his perilous, inebriated journey. Are there any hints Brown can drop about how powerful that moment will be whenever we do wind up finding out — and about how it might happen? “I think Jack died the way that he lived, by always trying to do the right thing,” says Brown carefully. “I think folks are going to be moved, and surprised, and it’s very, very sad. But I think that his death is in fitting with the type of father and the husband that he always tried to be, even when he fell short of the mark.”

Brown believes that the finale — which is predominantly a Jack-Rebecca affair — will hit the mark. “You track Jack and Rebecca before they met one another, and how they came to be a part of one another’s lives, with where they are when the kids are at age 15 and 16, so it’s two very different places, obviously,” he says. “This couple has come to mean so much to so many people and folks root for them. We will take them with our finale through the highs and lows of what this marriage has to offer. Some things will be incredibly joyous, and some of it will be very, very painful. In classic This Is Us fashion, we give you a nice little roller coaster to send you off to the end of the season.”

Former Bay Area resident Sterling K. Brown feels ‘blessed beyond words’

March 10, 2017

Sterling spoke with the Mercury News about what his success means to him and how he found his calling of acting.

Sterling K. Brown spent most of his 15-year professional acting career “just showing up, saying lines and going home.”

Then, suddenly, he became an “overnight success.”

Last September, Brown earned an Emmy award for his remarkable portrayal of prosecutor Christopher Darden in “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” Just a couple days later, he made his debut in “This Is Us,” NBC’s wildly popular family drama.

As “This Is Us” prepares to complete its freshman run on NBC next week, the Stanford grad is still pinching himself.

“Man, I have been blessed beyond words,” he says. “This last year or so has opened up doors that I hadn’t been able to walk through before. I never saw this as part of my future. But now that it’s happening, I feel so incredibly fortunate.”

This newfound star power wouldn’t have ever materialized if Brown hadn’t made a dramatic existential detour during his days at Stanford. A native of St. Louis, he arrived in the Bay Area as an economics major, fully intent on becoming a big-time businessman.

“In the application essay I wrote to get into Stanford, I talked about how I was going to own one outlet of every popular fast-food chain, so that I’d be constantly be in competition with myself,” he recalls, smiling. “I did some acting in high school, but I didn’t think it would be prudent to pursue it as a career possibility.”

However, shortly after Brown settled in at Stanford, drama professor Harry Elam Jr. (now a vice provost at the university) came to the Ujamaa dorm looking for black students to appear in a production of August Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.” Brown landed the role of Herald Loomis, and when the play finished its run, Elam had some encouraging words for the young man.

“He told me, ‘I know you don’t plan on majoring in (theater), but you might just want to hang around the drama department and have some fun with it, because you’ve got some talent.’ ”

So that’s what Brown did. He hung around and occasionally took to the stage — until something finally clicked.

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First Images from The Predator

March 10, 2017

The first image has been released from Sterling’s new film The Predator which will be released in theaters next February.

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This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown on Randall’s workplace shocker, Rebecca reconciliation

March 09, 2017

This week’s episode was so beautifully done and had some significant moment’s for Sterling’s character Randall. Entertainment Weekly spoke with Sterling on the memorial, the workplace decision, and Randall’s reconciliation with his mother.

Randall, wringer. Wringer, Randall.

These two have certainly gotten to know each other over the last few episodes of This Is Us, though it appears that Randall is coming out the other side intact. The family man extraordinaire, played by Sterling K. Brown, saw things come crashing down in “Jack Pearson’s Son” as the stresses of whatever he does at his job (wind-trading?), caring for a terminally ill father, and trying to keep up with his commitments as a husband and father left him quivering on his office floor, where he’d find unlikely comfort from his play-skipping brother, Kevin (Justin Hartley). “Memphis” opened several days after Randall was hospitalized and treated for his anxiety, and wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) reluctantly allowed him to hop in a car with William (Ron Cephas Jones), so a father with extremely limited time left on this planet could show his son where he grew up. Their memory-stuffed tour ended in the hospital, where William died, his head cradled in Randall’s hands.

And then, in Tuesday’s installment of the NBC dramedy, titled “What Now?” — which also saw an inebriated Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) hop into a car to fix his marriage and Kate (Chrissy Metz) reveal that she’s the reason that Jack is dead — Randall was back home, grieving the loss of a father, cruelly for the second time in his life. At the end of the memorial service — to which “The Team” at work sent a perfunctory if not downright lethal basket of pears — Randall and the guilt-soaked Rebecca (Mandy Moore) had a loaded, yet healing conversation, one in which Randall issued true forgiveness, or something close to it, to his mother for hiding William’s identity from him for three and a half decades. The emotional Olympics didn’t end there, though: Learning of all the people that William touched — from the Vicodin-addicted athlete with whom he pretended to enjoy football to the mailman that he chatted up on his morning walks — Randall finally realized the way to honor his fallen father’s legacy and to roll down the windows of his life: He dropped by the office after Kevin’s Opening Night, Take 2 (which went so well, by the way, now Ron Howard wants him to act in his new movie), explained to his boss how disappointing the firm proved to be in his time of need, and then just plain quit his job. (Not quite as viral as Kevin’s adios, but an impressive statement nonetheless.) This, whatever this was, would be the new start to a life that his father would want him to live. “No hard feelings,” Randall told Tyler (John Pollono). “I walk out of here in triumph.”

On that high note, let’s speak to the man who came, who saw, and who conquered these last few episodes: Sterling K. Brown.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you feeling like you yourself went through some sort of massive emotional gauntlet? That’s quite a one-two-three punch of episodes.

STERLING K. BROWN: It really is. I would say “Yes.” I remember going from shooting Randall’s breakdown, where Kevin finds him in the corner of his office on one day, and then the next day, if I’m not mistaken, I had to shoot the goodbye scene between Randall and William. And it was just — I don’t know who schedules this — but it was so painful, and so taxing. And then ultimately it turned out to be a good thing for Ron and I because we were like, “All right. Well, at least we got that over with. Now we can just enjoy each other’s company,” because that’s what we’re doing for the majority of the rest of the episode.

And then [in this episode] I am so proud of my brother, recognizing that he came to me on his important day and made a tremendous sacrifice to be present, and that he was able to get the play back up and that we were able to go and witness him do what it is that he loves. It was a combination of the mailman telling me about his experiences with William — seeing how he’s affected our family at large — and there was a scene that got cut where every day William takes a nap, so the girls had us all lay blankets out in the living room and take a nap. And Kevin has this wonderful scene where he’s talking about, “Well, William would help me with my lines,” and talked about how much he enjoyed Brando from The Godfather, and I said, “When did William help you with your lines?” He said, “You know, sometimes we would both be up at night, and he couldn’t sleep and I’d just go and run lines with him, or I’d just wake him up because I couldn’t sleep, just to get his advice on something.”

It’s just another example of the many ways in which this man was present for people. I think Randall came to recognize through the course of the day, and then watching his brother’s play, that there was more to life, and that certainly he had been rushing through things to get to the end result of something, rather than purely enjoying the process and the journey of being. And it made sense then. It was a wonderful release because you would think you go in to quit a job, and it’s going to be something that’s fraught with tension and anxiety, but this was one of the most anxiety-free moments that I think Randall has had, because… it just didn’t make sense anymore.

Randall has weathered so much in these last few episodes. He suffered the breakdown, was hospitalized, went to Memphis, suffered the loss of his father and quit his job. Is part of you nervous for him? Is too much happening?

I feel like in [episodes] 15 and 16, I was very nervous for him. People would tweet and they’d be like, “I’m worried about Randall,” and I’d be like, ‘Girl, I’m worried about Randall, too!’ (Laughs) In 17, I feel like he is getting to a place of awareness to recognize that he actually has to slow down, and I feel most at ease with him right now moving into the end of the season, because he’s giving himself the time necessary to reflect on what’s transpired, rather than trying to barrel forward and just try to make everything normal. He recognizes that what’s transpired is not normal, and he needs a little bit of time to absorb what the new normal is going to be. So, I’m in a good place with where Randall is left off at the end of the season.

To read the entire interview go here.

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