This Is Us showrunner Dan Fogelman and stars Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore reveal how they shot the series finale’s flashback scenes.
The creator and stars of This is us explain how the flashback sequences in the series finale came about. The NBC family drama that was created by Dan Fogelman, originally premiered in Season 1 on September 20, 2016, and ran for a total of six seasons. Although the first episode followed five different people celebrating their 30th birthdays, it was later revealed that two of them (played by Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore) were the parents of the other three (played by Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz and Sterling K . Brown) and that the show took place in two different time periods, a structure This is us carried out during the remaining term.
ThatThis is us The series finale, titled “Us,” aired on May 24, 2022. In the current timeline, it followed the Big 3 as they reeled from a huge loss that loomed throughout the season and faced the future. However, the show always had one leg in the past, underscoring the emotional hustle and bustle with scenes set on a relaxing day of family fun where the Pearsons stayed home and played games. The scene’s simplicity underscored the devastating events with a dash of warm nostalgia, accentuated by the fact that the actors were playing the younger versions of the film This is us characters (Mackenzie Hancsicsak as Kate, Parker Bates as Kevin and Lonnie Chavis as Randall) looked even younger than their current age.
cast and crew of This is us sat down EW to discuss the emotional finale, and during the conversation a surprising secret came to light. The flashback sequences featured a much younger looking cast than fans of the current season are used to seeing as many scenes were filmed three seasons ago. Fogelman reveals they spent”not cheap“Week of filming they stuck with for years and showed NBC’s confidence in their creative process. He says that neither would it have been possible without the actors’ faith in his vision, and both Moore and Ventimiglia agreed. Read selected quotes from the interview below:
Dan Fogelman: Nobody refused. They had so much faith in us that there would never be a situation where we were like, ‘Oh, we’ve changed our minds. We won’t use any of it.”
[The cast also] never questioned anything. They said, “Great!” Then they came in and nailed it every single day. They just never hesitated or complained.
Mandy Moore: I kind of remember, I kind of don’t know. We weren’t even halfway through the series. There was so much story left that after a week of filming you were like, “Okay…” We’re so used to doing bits of montage on the show that so much of it felt like that. So I just trusted. I thought, “Eh, Dan has a master plan. He’s never done anything wrong so I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.”
Milo Ventimiglia: We just understood that we’re going to shoot something that we might not get in the future. Dan created an environment where it didn’t matter what he put in front of us…everyone was there and wanted to be a part of what he put in front of us.
[They] just played like any other scene[s] that we shot, which was good. It kind of took the pressure off. I remember the scene where we’re sitting around with the kids and Mandy is sitting on the floor, I’m sitting on the couch, Lonnie is sitting next to me, and Parker and Mackenzie are there. and ken [Olin, who directed the finale] had this interference with Mandy and interference with me and that just ended the scene. I remember Mandy and I walking off the set and Dan said, “That was the last tap of the show.” I mean, he said it like it was set in stone.
The unusual process by which they reached the epic scale of the This is us final belies how much concern Fogelman and his associates put into getting the Pearson family story right. While they didn’t know exactly how or when the series would end, they knew what note they wanted to end on. They then literally spent years making sure that grade was perfect.
This is us Fans are probably still reeling from the end of the series. However, it will certainly be reassuring to hear that Fogelman has had her and her feelings on her mind for so long. While the show certainly had its ups and downs, they really went above and beyond to tell the exact story they needed to tell.
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