Justin Hartley Q&A: ‘This Is Us’
“The moment that I read it, it became special to me,” recalls “This Is Us” star Justin Hartley about taking the role as Kevin Pearson, one of the three main adult siblings on the hit NBC drama. In our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above), he says that the audition process was pretty normal even though the thought of playing Kevin was not: “I thought ‘Gosh, this would be the role of a lifetime,’ and I was fortunate enough to fool them into hiring me.”
Last year Hartley scored a Daytime Emmy nomination as Best Actor for his role as Adam Newman on “The Young and the Restless.” Just a year later he’s garnering Best Drama Supporting Actor Emmy buzz on the Primetime side for his performance as Kevin. That talk for him and the show, which picked up a Best Drama Series nomination at the Golden Globes this year, may be nerve-racking to some but Hartley welcomes it all with open arms: “I’m going to be totally honest with you: I love it. We work really hard… the crew, writers, and Dan Fogelman. So for me it’s not overwhelming at all. I want to win all of them. It’s great being nominated, but I want to win all of them because I love these people that I work with and I think they deserve it. So the more award nominations the better I think.”
One of the big reasons Hartley is receiving critical praise is because of the depth he brings to his character, something he says is a dream to do and credits the writers for: “It’s what you hope for, as an actor. The beautiful part about the role for me is peeling back those layers. And also, I get to be funny — or attempt to be, anyway. But that’s what you want. You want to get heartbroken and you want to fall in love with the character that you’re playing.”
Peeling back those layers has not come without challenge. Hartley adds, “I don’t think anything about the show is easy. It’s hard. It’s a difficult to write, I’m sure. It’s a difficult show to direct, to produce, it’s a difficult show to act in — and at the same time it can be the most wonderful, gratifying, easiest thing.” And part of that difficulty is not letting down the audience that the show has captivated throughout the season, something Hartley keeps in mind all the time: “We’re asking a lot of our audience. Not only to tune in for an hour, but we’re also asking them to dive in and cry with us and feel these deep emotions with us and laugh with us. And so I feel the very least we can do is the exact same thing and be authentic.”
To see which episode Hartley is thinking of submitting to Emmy voters if he’s nominated, his instant chemistry with the cast including Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Chrissy Metz and Sterling K. Brown, and his answer to some of your fan questions, be sure to watch our video interview above.