This past Tuesday night I had the honor of attending the Season 2 Premiere of one of the best and most authentic shows on television, This is Us, at NEUEHOUSE HOLLYWOOD in Los Angeles.
Neuehouse itself is a beautiful venue. Guests had the pleasure of grabbing some drinks and popcorn (and tissues) while watching Episode 1 of Season 2.
And, like always, this show does not disappoint. I cried, I laughed, and I fell in love with the characters all over again.
Creator Dan Fogelman and actors Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Chris Sullivan were all in attendance, including young actors Faithe Herman, Eris Baker, Lonnie Chavis, Mackenzie Hancsicsak, Parker Bates, Logan Shroyer, and Niles Fitch.
After the screening, the actors took to the stage for a Q & A. Check it out:
What part of this episode resonated with each of you the most?
Unanymous: FAKE SMOKING!!!
Chrissy: I can’t take it. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
Susan: I was like, “You gotta go all the way with it.” Sterling and I, when we first read it, we called each other and we’re talking about it and he was like, “You know you’re passing me a joint right.” I’m like, “Brother you know I’m all over it.” And so we get on set thinking we thought of something cute and clever…we get out there and we’re fake smoking. Then the brilliant (director) Ken Olin goes, “I think it’s better with a cigarette…” And we’re like really?! We see that. And I do it with the cigarette and it changed the entire tone of the scene. All of the sudden we weren’t playing it at a fake high.
Sterling: It was really therapeutic like you were really trying to relieve yourself of the stress where before, we were just trying to get high.
Chrissy, your character goes through an interesting journey in this episode.
Chrissy: I think it’s nice to see a woman say, “You know what, I’m not great. I’m trying to figure it out and I’m gonna have to work at it.” Especially with Kate, because she’s always felt as if she was never good enough, thin enough or pretty enough. So for her to step back and say, “You know what: I’m gonna just work on it.” And she has an amazing fiancé and brother who come to the rescue, even though Kate told them not to.
I think that people love seeing Rebecca say “Get in the car.” All of the doubts about the marriage are so relatable but in this one you see her step up and take the reins.
Mandy: Right, she steps up and fills the shoes that Jack normally fills.
Sterling, what is the source of the “baby fever” for your character? When you think about what’s going on in Randall’s mind, where is that coming from?
Sterling: He lost his biological father but it’s sort of like fulfilling the circle of life. One person steps away and it only feels right to bring someone else in. To honor my parents who gave me a life. It helps Randall stay in the present. He’s such a a goal-oriented individual that he’s finally taking time to just be here. To be with his children and relish the experience of the now. So yeah, baby fever.
Susan & Sterling, what is that adoption journey going to do to your characters’ relationship over the next few episodes?
Susan: It’s in a way you haven’t seen them before. Rarely are they on a different pages for a long time. So with Beth I was questioning, “Is this really Beth?” I’m continuing to learn her as well. It’s another side of their relationship. And for them to find how to reach a common ground. Is there somewhere in the middle they can meet? She really wants to honor William too. It means something to her as well as Randall, and that was a surprise to me.
And the kids…
Sterling: These kids are so fantastic! Man…and for the three of us in particular to see versions of ourselves and be able to steal from them is such a joy.
Justin: When you’re creating a character you’re trying to come up with their history and be as intricate as you possibly can. And we’re lucky because the history is on the page. And then to take it to another level seeing these talented actors, it just makes it so much easier they are so great.
Justin, you really see Sophie’s affect on Kevin in this episode.
Dan: Kevin’s storyline won’t go exactly where you think it will. Justin will knock peoples socks off. It’s so interesting and surprising that he is crushing it. We only have scratched the surface so far.
Chrissy & Mandy, there is a lot of exploration of mother and daughter relationships. Tell us about the issues that Kate & her mom face and also Kate as a child.
Chrissy: I think every little girl wants to be like her mom and looks up to her. Kate feels she can’t fill the shoes of her mom or that she’s not good enough. We’ll see how and why she feels that way. Neither one of them are right or wrong. They are just feeling what they are feeling.
Mandy: They’re never quite on the same page which is heart breaking to me.
Milo, you’ve said there is going to be some unpacking of Jack – in this episode we see him admit his flaws and he is a deeply flawed hero. What are we gonna see that explain the flaws, like the alcoholism he deals with?
Milo: I always wonder to myself why is Jack that good? What happened in his past – good or bad – that impacted him to love his children and wife as much as he does? There’s always a darker side to a lighter side. And now everyone is seeing that cracks are not cracks, but deeper wounds and valleys and we understand more why he CHOOSES to be good, he CHOOSES to inspire his kids and his wife, even though the way in is sometimes wrong. In the last episode of Season 1 he had a conversation with his daughter Kate – it’s misdirected by his choice to drink, but there are reasons why he’s doing something.
Which character intrigues you right now the most?
Milo: William and his ability to slow down and capture moments as they are.
Mandy: I’m going with Beth. I’m obsessed and I want to know everything about her. I love Sue and her portrayal. Every episode I am captivated.
Sterling: I’d have to say my brother. He fascinates me. He’s a thespian, and he’s got a love in his life he’s trying to figure out what to do next and trying to balance. I’m like “Wow, that’s weird I feel like Kev sometimes.” And honestly… Justin SLAYS. You guys don’t even know.
Chrissy: I’d have to say Toby. There’s a lot that we don’t know about him, and his mom and home life. He is loving and kind, because a woman tore him a part and maybe that is why he gives so much to Kate.
Kevin: I’m going to give such a lame answer. I love every single character. I love the younger versions, the teen versions, and older versions. This is my favorite show. I love the characters. I watch one scene and I have a favorite, and then I watch another scene and it changes.
Susan: I can’t really chose one. However, I keep telling Milo he’s affecting me too many ways and I don’t like it, but I love it. His scene when he is masking his struggle with his family to the father he didn’t have. And Mandy trying to constantly hold the pieces together. It’s brilliant. And Sterling – the COMEDY he’s bringing. The chuckles, bruh!
Chris: From an audience perspective, I find Sterling K Brown moving in so many ways. From an acting perspective I watch and he is a mechanic. His technique and the things he inserts to Randall just blow my mind every episode. This one not excluded. So I continue to relate to Randall’s anxieties and fears and his need to seek some kind of perfection in life.
After the screening, guests were invited to the exclusive after party at Paley Center. Dinner and drinks were served as guests congratulated the talented cast and creators of the show.