×

‘This Is Us’ Cast Reflects on Series as Antidote for the Trump Era

Just hours before Tuesday’s anticipated season finale, the cast and creator of NBC’s “This is Us” gathered in front of a standing room-only audience at SXSW to reflect on the show’s universal success in the midst of a politically divisive era.

“I’m watching everything that is going on in the country and I’m going, ‘What on earth is going on right now?’” series creator Dan Fogelman said. “The fact that people across all spectrums of life are happy with a show that’s this openhearted and optimistic and romantic and inclusive, it gives me hope that maybe other stuff is going to fade away, or at least evolve.”

Mandy Moore, who plays Pearson family matriarch Rebecca, was quick to back up her boss’ sentiment saying, “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, in such a divisive time, to be a part of entertainment that is hopeful and inclusive.”

After working in the industry for more than two decades, it’s this sense of perspective Moore tries to inspire in her on-screen kids, too. Whether it’s on set or during career milestones like the cast’s ensemble win during January’s SAG Awards, Moore says she’s tries to remind the younger castmates not to take this kind of success for granted.

“This is a big moment,” she tells her colleagues. “Be present and appreciate it cause we’ve been working for a long time in this business and these moments don’t come around.”

For now, however, those teary-eyed Pearson moments will be around a little longer. After a season of dramatic lows (homeless foster kids, substance abuse), heartwarming highs (engagements, Las Vegas), and one record-breaking Super Bowl episode (more than 27 million viewers), fans can rest easy knowing the clan will return for an emotionally charged third season.

Though Fogelman was tight lipped about what’s next for the beloved family, he did reveal that the writers would continue bringing the storyline into the future, a la that aforementioned Super Bowl episode.

What fans can certainly expect, however, is more screen time between on-screen brothers Justin Hartley and Sterling K. Brown. As much as the audience enjoys watching the heavyweight actors banter on screen, Fogelman says he too enjoys the special dynamic between the fictional brothers.

“I love watching Justin and Sterling on camera together. There is something so real about them as brothers,” he said.

As for Hartley, he says the success of the show — whether it’s between actors or otherwise — begins on the page.

“I find a lot of comfort in the writing,” he said. “When you have that confidence in your writers and producers, you just jump.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Ballers HBO

    'Ballers' to End After Season 5 on HBO

    “Ballers” is coming to an end after five seasons on HBO. Star and executive producer Dwayne Johnson confirmed the news via an emotional Instagram video. “My heart is full of gratitude to all of you for rocking with us every season. You made us HBO’s highest rated comedy for years and most importantly, you helped [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild Foundation, [...]

  • Disney Villains Series 'Book of Enchantment'

    'Book of Enchantment' Series Based on Iconic Disney Villains Shelved at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has decided to not move forward with “Book of Enchantment,” a series based on some of Disney’s most iconic villains, Variety has learned from sources. The news comes the day before Disney is set to unveil its streaming service at the biannual D23 convention in Anaheim. The prospective project was based on the [...]

  • ITV STUDIOS PRESENTS VERAFILM 2Pictured: BRENDA

    Brenda Blethyn to Star in New ITV Sitcom 'Kate and Kolo'

    Oscar-nominated Brenda Blethyn is set to star in the new sitcom “Kate and Kolo” for ITV, the U.K. broadcaster announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Blethyn takes on the title role of Kate in the comedy alongside theater and film actor Jimmy Akingbola as Kolo. Blethyn is a popular star with ITV audiences after having [...]

  • Sean Spicer Emmys

    Sean Spicer's Casting Explained? Red States Love 'Dancing With the Stars'

    ABC faced backlash this week after casting former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on “Dancing with the Stars.” But that outrage might actually spice up the dancing competition’s dwindling ratings — particularly in Trump Country. “Dancing with the Stars” has faced a relatively alarming decline in ratings over the past two cycles, falling 32% [...]

  • Peppa Pig

    Hasbro Acquires Entertainment One in $4 Billion All-Cash Deal

    Toymaker Hasbro is acquiring studio Entertainment One in an all-cash transaction valued at $4 billion, bringing My Little Pony and Nerf under the same umbrella as “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks” and furthering Hasbro’s growth goals in the infant and preschool categories. Hasbro aims to expand its operations in film and TV. Entertainment One’s production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content