Sterling K. Brown earned his fifth consecutive Emmy nomination for Best Drama Actor for playing Randall Pearson on NBC’s “This is Us.” The star earned an additional nod for Best Narrator on CNN’s “Lincoln: Divided We Stand,” bringing his career bid total to nine. “It never gets old,” Brown admits. “I’m like a kid in a candy store.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“This is Us” made a comeback in the Best Drama Series lineup after missing the cut last year for the first time. “[Dan Fogelman] was a little sad by not being there last year,” Brown says. “It’s always more fun to celebrate when you get a chance to celebrate the collective rather than just the individual success. The only sad part about this year is that it’s limited in terms of who can show up due to COVID, but I love this show. For the past five years this journey, this character with these people, has been a dream come true.”
Season 5 saw the Pearson family struggle with real-life issues Americans were facing on a daily basis. In addition to grappling with COVID-19, Randall found himself conflicted with how to talk to his family about racial tension, the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. “This transracial adoptee is constantly in search of trying to find a place where he belongs,” Brown says. “The risks that the show took this year in terms of dealing with social unrest… I have never been more proud to be a part of a piece of art.”
“Difficult conversations can take place without people being antagonistic,” Brown explains while discussing the episode “Forty: Part 2,” in which Randall has a frank conversation about race with his sister Kate (Chrissy Metz). “They had to articulate what was going on. That doesn’t mean I hate you. That doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It just means I kind of need to take care of myself in this particular moment.” Brown says the tough subject matter was easier to get through with the support of his costars Metz and Justin Hartley. “Justin and Chrissy, I don’t even think of them as friends,” Brown explains. “I think of them as my brother and sister.”
Brown was pleasantly surprised when he learned of his nomination for narrating “Lincoln: Divided We Stand.” “They sent me the pitch deck and it was really interesting,” he says about getting involved with the docuseries. “There’s a big discourse going on in the world in terms of history, who gets to tell history and how who tells the history shapes the way we experience the world. When something hits you on an intellectual level and you get a chance to be the voice of something that has historically only been for white voices to tell…to have someone who is African-American tell that was an interesting take.”
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