Justin Hartley talks to Awards Daily TV about his character Kevin Pearson’s evolution in NBC’s Emmy®-contender This Is Us.
NBC’s This Is Us is one of the most talked about show of the season. Through the season, we learned about Kevin, a young teen filled with angst. That teen matured into adult Kevin (played by Justin Hartley) who holds intense conversations with his brother Randall (Sterling K. Brown) about their childhood and love. Thanks to advice from his sister’s boyfriend and fiance Toby (Chris Sullivan), he’s told to think of three sentences to win the woman back. He has thirty seconds to do so.
This Is Us is a top contender for Outstanding Drama Series. I caught up with Justin Hartley for a brief chat about his turn on the highly rated NBC show. Consider This Is Us in your Emmy voting
What was your “That scene killed me” moment?
I loved when Kevin reapproaches Sophie and has the three sentences he wants to say to her. That was a brave and cool turning point for Kevin. I’m sure he had thought about what he wanted to say, but there was so much more he wanted to but instead, he kept saying these run on sentences.
The painting scene was another scene that showed the evolution of Kevin. Those were moments that really get me.
When we first meet Kevin, it’s a beautiful moment. What did you have in mind with him?
Dan has this policy of telling you what you want to know about the character and from there you can build your story. The cool thing about the show is the back story is done for you in the script because it’s there in the script. Kevin’s childhood is there in the show so it’s there and done for you.
How does the time jumping work for you?
It’s great for me. I think the younger kids have it harder. I’m the one with the back story. I get older Kevin who reaps the benefits of the work that the actors who play younger Kevin do.
Logan Shroyer who plays teen Kevin has him at this place where he has a lot of angst where he’s not always a great guy. He’s a little self-absorbed and then you see the adult Kevin is making these great strides to be a better man. So, that’s where I get to reap the benefits of all his hard work which is great.
Dan lays out the stories for the characters, but where would you like to see Kevin in five years?
That’s a good question. There are a few things that would be interesting to see. Maybe he gets married. Maybe he has a kid at that point, and maybe he has twins. I think I’d like to see his relationship with his brother continue to grow. Maybe he mends things with his mom.
I really love Kevin a lot, and I want good things for him. He’s showing how he’s grown. He’s approaching becoming the man his father hoped he would be, and I think the man he can be.
What’s a standout scene for you with the Randall and Kevin relationship?
The scene when Kevin leaves the play. He doesn’t say anything, and he holds his brother. He’s there in a way no one else could have been. There’s just this understanding. There’s this unspoken dialogue in that moment.
I thought the fight on the street was heartbreaking. That’s the moment that stands out for me.
As an actor what advice would you give Kevin?
I’d tell him to trust himself a bit more. I think he second guesses himself a lot. I think I’d tell him to have faith in himself.
You’ve done a lot of TV work. Is there a big difference in doing daytime TV and primetime?
Yes. The pace and volume is different. As an actor, when you have more time you can dive deeper into the character so you’re afforded that luxury, but at the same time,
it’s all acting.
If you could pick a family, the Newmans or the Pearsons, who would you choose?
I’d have to say the Pearsons right? It’s like being an athlete and being traded. I had a fun time on The Young and The Restless. I love the Pearsons, I think there’s a lot of stories to be told and that’s my new fam.