Sterling K. Brown put his stamp on a great career after bodying the roll of Christopher Darden in American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson. Now, he’s returning to TV as Randall in the NBC drama This Is Us.
In the clip above, you get to meet Randall as he embarks on a journey to meet his real father. Throughout the season, we follow the complex family dynamic that exists between Randall and all the other characters on the ensemble show.
I met Sterling in the lobby bar at the famed Beverly Hilton to chat about his new role, family, and the peculiar way his career has played out.
How does it feel to be in this position in your career?
It’s surreal. Success to this point in time has just been paying bills and providing for my family, being a working actor, and not having to wait tables or bartend or anything like that. That’s success. Now all of a sudden the profiles of these last two projects have elevated in such a way that, you don’t anticipate something like that transpiring. You just feel like the status quo will continue and you’re happy to pay bills and pay taxes and all this. Now all of a sudden things are happening on a large level. Access to larger opportunities has happened that haven’t happened before. And I think more than anything I just feel real, real blessed. Because I know how fleeting it can be, I know how long it’s taken to get to where I am right now, so I am just trying to enjoy each and every part of it.
The This is Us trailer has 91 million views.
The trailer, nobody can anticipate anything like that. That’s lightning in a bottle. Kudos to people who cut it together, because you get a real strong sense of the fact that you’re going to be moved through the course of the show and clearly people were yearning for something to move them.
My character in the show is Randall, he just turned 36 years old and he’s looking to reconnect with his biological father. He was adopted as a baby and all of a sudden there is something in him, even though he has a gorgeous wife and two beautiful girls and a beautiful home and a great job, there is still something missing in his life and that need to connect with who his biological parents were is at the forefront of that.
So he is just yearning for something – even though everything else seems like it’s perfect.
The emotional ride you get to portray in this show is great. Specifically that clip of your character telling off his dad, then asking him, ‘Hey, do you want to see your grandkids?’ When you get a piece like that where you get to hate and love at the same time, as an actor, how do you feel?
Bruh! It’s crazy. I remember reading the pilot, and this was one of the best pilots I ever had the chance to read – at least from a network television. I’ve been out of a school, and when I read that section I was like, ‘OK. I want to be in this.’ It’s not just like, ‘I want to have a good audition,’ it’s like, ‘I want to be in.’ (Producer) Dan Fogelman has a way of doing that with every character in the show that makes it feel like you get to eat.
I’ve been on many shows and paid bills for a long time, but you don’t always get to eat. You may have like a little (salad), but I’m talking about potatoes and hearty meat that gives me iron and protein. That’s what this show does. As we read the next scripts come along, it keeps me going. It’s not a flash in the pan. People are going to be really happy to see how these characters unfold.
When the execs are into the show – the way they seem to be behind this show – what goes through your mind at that point?
Network television has a very small window for success. If you don’t attract from jump street, you’ve seen many shows that has the pilot and maybe an episode or two… then it’s like, ‘Oh, what happened to that show? Oh, it’s gone.’ So when you hear that type of support… They (NBC) are going to put us on Tuesday night after The Voice. We are one of only three shows that they picked up for the fall season. It’s nice to know; I feel like we can all relax a little bit in terms of, I think we’re going to be here for at least a second.
This is Us premieres Tuesday, September 20 at 10 p.m. EST on NBC.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty