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Sterling K. Brown Knows Why Randall Almost Blew Up His Family on 'This Is Us'

Sterling K. Brown has won an Emmy for every year This Is Us has been on, and he’s about to go for three. He’s nominated again for the third season. Season 3 certainly gave Brown even more showcases for Emmy voters to consider. There was his rocky relationship with Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) as he ran for city council. There was learning his uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne) was still alive. There was all the turmoil with Deja (Lyric Ross). 

Showbiz Cheat Sheet was on the set of This Is Us in February as Brown was in the middle of Randall’s storyline. He could speak about where it’s all going because Brown and his costars all know how This Is Us ends. This Is Us returns Tuesday, September 24 at 9 p.m. on NBC.

Sterling K. Brown understands why Randall sacrificed his family in season 3

Randall has never been perfect. His panic episodes can come out of nowhere, and he can be self-righteous. In running for city council, he refused to drop out even when it was clearly taking a toll on his family.

“I think Randall’s eagerness to fit in, in particular in this storyline, his alienation from the black community and being able to seize an opportunity like here’s a place where I can be of help, and specifically to a large group of people of color, I think his excitement to be able to be of service to his people is a driving force in his life because there are times in which he sees himself as being a part of, and there are times in which he sees himself as being separate. I think he’s eager to always feel as if he belongs. I think being a councilman, he sees that as a perfect opportunity of belonging.”

Sterling K. Brown knows Randall never stopped thinking about his family

Randall may have seemed preoccupied with the election, and then fixing the youth center when he took office. Brown confirmed his family was always on his mind, even if Randall didn’t always give them the attention they needed.

“There’s so much else going on in his life with regards to making sure Deja is well, making sure Tess who is newly out of the closet is being heard and appreciated for who she is as an individual,” Brown said. “I think his wife is at a crossroads as well, in terms of what she wants to do with her life.

Uncle Nicky was the least of Randall’s concerns on ‘This Is Us’

Kevin (Justin Hartley) arranged for his brother Randall and sister Kate (Chrissy Metz) to meet their long lost uncle Nicky. Brown said Randall only did it for his brother. 

I think in this particular instance, it’s about supporting his brother. He sees in his brother’s heart that he kind of yearns for this connection to the past, to knowing his father. To know your father’s brother is to know your father in a way in which you didn’t know him before. So I think he supports Kev in that journey. I think for Randall it’s like this man didn’t reach out to us and he’s sort of dealt also with his father. I think that was the big thing for him with his biological father, with William. So for Randall, it’s like you do what you’ve gotta do. You take care of him but I gotta go deal with some other things as well.”

Why Sterling K. Brown needs to know how Randall’s story ends

Not all shows have the luxury of knowing how they’re going to end, but This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman does. He’s shared the ending with Brown, because Brown needs to know.

“I know everything,” Brown said. “We know how the show ends. We know what’s happening in the future. It’s kind of hard to play things in the dark. If you’re doing a play or a movie, you get to know the beginning, middle and the end. So if you have the opportunity to do the same thing on a television show, fill me in so we can collectively help craft the arc of the character.”

There are lots of shows where actors just have to do the current script and trust that it’s all going to make sense by the end. That wouldn’t work for Brown.

 “Yeah, I don’t understand that,” Brown said. “No, honestly. To each person their own process. I don’t begrudge but coming from the theater, that’s my background. You read the whole play. It’s not like I’m just going to work on the first 10 pages and then I’m going to see what happens the next 10 pages. I work on the whole thing and that way I see. Collectively we can build that prosperity and presumption and the ruin of it all.”

There’s no concern that Brown is going to give something away too early. He can still act like Randall before Randall knows what’s coming. \

“There’s two different things going on,” Brown said. “There’s an overall arc and there’s a specific objective that you’re pursuing in the moment. Sometimes one feeds into the other and sometimes they’re separate and distinct. You can do what you need to do in the moment and still recognize that that feeds into the overall thing.”

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