On an early April day, the main cast of "This Is Us" — Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan and Jon Huertas — are doing what they've become all too skilled at doing in recent years: jumping ahead.
"The last day of shooting — I don't know what's scheduled as of yet, I don't know who's filming last — but I want to be there," says Ventimiglia. "Whether I work or not, I feel like I want to be there with the group — just to turn the studio lights off."
"When is that, anyway?" Hartley interjects. "We only have, like, a month, right?"
"I think I have something on that day," Sullivan deadpans.
"This Is Us" premiered on NBC in 2016 and quickly became a breakout hit, one that demonstrated broadcast television could still launch hits even as streaming continued its dizzying expansion. Created by Dan Fogelman, who guides the series with help from co-showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, the drama revolves around the Pearson family as its members navigate the joys and challenges of life, including death, family tension and addiction — all while jumping backward and forward across decades in the telling.
The series concludes its sixth and final season on May 24. We spoke with the cast about the looming end of the family drama that's kept viewers guessing — and if Moore's reaction to what's ahead is any indication, you might be reaching for more than a tissue box.
Q: Production wraps the first week of May — how are you feeling at this stage of the farewell?
Brown: It's really starting to hit now. We're starting to do the last scenes and locations and stuff like that — like we may or may not have finished shooting at the cabin. And I was like, "Oh, we're not going to go back to the cabin? I've been coming to this cabin for six years, and now it's like almost done?" It's a little much for me. I'm sad.
Metz: Everybody knows that I cry all the time and I always get emotional, but I've been trying to open the lever a little each day. Yes, I cry on my way home; yes, I cry on my way to work. I'm already getting teary. It's becoming really real, really real in a way that snuck up on me. I knew it was going to be emotional, of course, but yeaaaah.
Q: There aren't many episodes left to shoot. How are you approaching the ending? When will you get the script for that final episode?