Season 3 of NBC’s highly successful show, “This Is Us” is underway and The Knockturnal was able to catch up with three of your favorite cast members!
On a set visit at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, CA cast members Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson and newest member to the team, Melanie Liburd filled us in on what can be expected for the rest of this revealing season. Check out the interviews below!
The Knockturnal: Where do you think Randall’s desire to help everyone else, even at the expense of losing his family which we saw during the election, comes from?
Sterling K. Brown: I think Randall’s sort of eagerness to fit in. I think in particular in this storyline, this sort of alienation from the black community and being able to seize an opportunity, like here’s a place where I can be of help and specifically to a large group of people of color. I think his sort of excitement to be able to be of service to his people is a driving force in his life because there are times in which he sees himself as being a part of and there are times at which he sees himself as being separate and I think he’s eager to always feel as if he belongs and I think that being a councilman, he sees that as the perfect opportunity of belonging.
The Knockturnal: What are Randall’s thoughts about bringing Nicky in?
Sterling K Brown:In this particular instance it’s about supporting his brother. He sees in his brother’s heart that he kind of yearns for this connection to the past, to knowing his father and to know your father’s brother is to know your father in a way in which you didn’t before. So I think he supports Kev in that journey. I think for Randall it’s like, this man didn’t reach out to us and he’s sort of dealt also with his father. I think that was like the big thing for him, with his biological father, with William. There’s so much else going on in his life in regards to making sure Deja is well, making sure Tess who is newly out of the closet is being heard and appreciated for who she is as an individual and I think his wife is at a crossroads as well in terms of what she wants to do with her life so for Randall it’s like, look man, you do what you gotta do, you take care of him but I gotta deal with some other things.
The Knockturnal: Randall was so out of his element running for city council, how out of his element will he be in the job?
Sterling K. Brown:There’s going to be a learning curve and I’m sure he’s going to stumble but Randall is smarter than me and is able to adapt fairly quickly. He’s not the kind of person who I foresee failing at anything he pursues of this nature. He’ll take his lumps but Randall, all he does is win. I believe he is probably going to come out on top.
The Knockturnal: Randall battles with anxiety and sometimes he is able to overcome that, like with the election. So, what do you think sort of triggers his anxiety as opposed to defeating it?
Sterling K. Brown:The panic comes in a sense of overwhelming in which he can’t see a way out. Before there was a sense of overwhelming with fatherhood and whether or not he’s actually capable of giving a child everything that it needs to flourish in life. It can be very specific things; with William’s health, with things that were going on with Sanjay at work, with Beth leaving and having to deal with her mother at the time, there’s like a perfect storm of things. Most the time he can run, he can take a deep breathe, but especially when Beth’s not around if he doesn’t have that sounding board, he can spiral. It’s making sure that he has the people close by who can see him when he’s spiraling and they’re like, hey, we’re okay, we’re going to be alright.
The Knockturnal: The scenes where Tess starts to speak about her sexuality were so on the edge of your seats in their own quiet way, are we going to come back to that this season?
Susan Kelechi Watson:Yes, but I can’t say more.
The Knockturnal: What was the most challenging scene that you have filmed so far this season?
Susan Kelechi Watson:It was definitely the scenes with Phylicia [Rashad]. There was a lot of learning about her, about Beth that I kind of had to, I had to adjust a couple of things because I was just learning certain parts of her background. And then the struggle she has between her and her mother in terms of not really being able to speak up. People perceive Beth as really strong, very open and being able to speak her mind and when she’s with her mom she’s not the same. So that was hard.
The Knockturnal: What was the most fun scene you have done this season?
Susan Kelechi Watson:We do quite a few fun ones. There’s one really fun one today that was with Ron Cephas Jones, Justin Hartley and with Sterling K. Brown and I just love being with those guys! And when they get together, they just have a good time, like you just have to roll camera and get what you get because they have a good time.
The Knockturnal: What is it like for you to know that there are so many Black Americans invested in your relationship on set as they were with say, the Huxtables or any other iconic black couples?
Susan Kelechi Watson:I don’t think I can fully wrap my brain around that whole concept. I take it kind of day by day, episode by episode. As feedback comes, I take it as it comes and what I’m hoping to do is to be an authentic black woman on screen, whatever that looks like devoid of any stereotype. I’m hoping that we illuminate what it is to be in a black household, how normal that is, how functional that is and can be and that eventually that doesn’t seem like some kind of abnormal thing. Eventually people can just see that as just every day because that’s what it was for me and for so many other Black Americans. So I’m happy that we get a chance to portray that.
The Knockturnal: You have had so many great experiences while filming This Is Usbut what is one of your greatest experiences in your personal life?
Susan Kelechi Watson:I was in Jamaica and I was in Port Antonio and I went to a place called Likkle Porti, it’s little but it’s spelled likkle because that’s how Jamaicans pronounce it. It is the best food I’ve had in a long time and it’s down this kind of dirt road by some water and it’s like this little, sort of, I don’t want to say shack because it’s not a shack. But one of those small outdoor places to eat, kind of hut looking place and they cook the best food there. I had the fried shrimp and garlic butter lobster, it’s amazing! They had just pulled it from the river, let’s get into it because yeah!
The Knockturnal: How was working with Phylicia Rashad?
Melanie Liburd: Amazing, just brilliant! I was very excited when she came on set. I was a fan of her growing up, I mean, Mrs. Huxtable, so it was an absolute pleasure to work with her and just learn. I learn something from everyone I work with so it’s just a joy. She was great to work with.
The Knockturnal: In the flashbacks, will we be seeing little Zoe along with little Beth?
Melanie Liburd: Well, I don’t want to give away too much but yes you are.
The Knockturnal: Coming onto a show like This Is Us and being just a guest star at first and finally figuring out that you keep getting more and more in depth with this character and falling in love with her and getting to know her, what’s the journey been like for you finding out about Zoe?
Melanie Liburd: It’s fantastic! We’re so lucky to have such brilliant writers and you think, I wonder what can happen, I wonder where it can go and then you read the script and you’re like wow this is phenomenal, this is amazing. I’ve been so lucky joining a show and getting such a fleshed out, well rounded character, more than I imagined actually. It’s really great!
The Knockturnal: Can we expect any wedding bells with Zoe and Kevin?
Melanie Liburd:I don’t think so. Zoe is too much of a free spirit to be into marriage but she’s cool, she’s committed. One step at a time.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays 9pm/PST. Make sure to keep up with the Pearsons!