Sterling K. Brown Interview: ‘This Is Us’
Sterling K. Brown continues his Emmy streak this year, bringing his total nominations to five, his third in a row for playing Randall Pearson on “This Is Us.” Brown won his first Emmy in 2016 for playing Christopher Darden in “The People v. O.J. Simpson” and immediately followed that up with another Emmy win the next year for “This Is Us.” The celebrated actor admits in our exclusive interview that Emmy nomination morning “never gets old,” and was even happier this year to see two previously unacknowledged co-stars get their first bids this year — Mandy Moore (as Rebecca) and Chris Sullivan (as Toby). Watch our video interview with Brown above.
As happy as Brown was to earn his fifth Emmy nomination, he admits he was “giddy for my other castmates,” noting, “For Mandy and for Chris, that was huge. I was so happy for my mama. I was so happy for my brother-in-law.” Sadly, Brown’s onscreen wife, Susan Kelechi Watson (as Beth) was not recognized by the TV academy this year, despite putting in strong work throughout Season 3. “As overjoyed as I was for Mandy and for Chris, I was as crestfallen for my dear partner in crime ’cause I think it could’ve gone her way,” observes Brown. The series earned nine nominations in total this year, including a third consecutive for Best Drama Series.
Season 3 was a notable one for Randall as he successfully ran for city council, but it ultimately came at a price. An increasingly frustrated Beth found her own dreams becoming second to Randall’s, leading to a blowout fight in the penultimate episode of the season, “R&B.” The episode dives back into the past where we see how Randall and Beth came together, contrasting with the rough patch they’re going through in the present. Brown is naturally submitting “R&B” at this year’s Emmys as his strongest work of the season, as it explores the shades of grey within his character. “Randall has a big personality and he is by no means someone who’s trying override anyone else’s dreams or whatnot, but he has no problems asserting himself.”
Brown will also be seen on another Emmy favorite soon, Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” While the actor won’t give details on who exactly he will be playing in the series, he admits the fast-talking, buzzy world of an Amy Sherman-Palladino show was a bit of an adjustment from the more subdued “This Is Us.” He says being on “Maisel” was “the closest thing to theater that I’ve ever experienced,” adding that the Emmy-winning cast is great. “Rachel [Brosnahan] is ridiculously talented. Alex [Borstein] is the bomb. Their table reads are so much fun.”
Meanwhile, Brown says that “This Is Us” will “continue to expand” in Season 4 as Randall and his family move to Philadelphia, a decision he and Beth made at the end of Season 3 to support both of their dreams. “We do something not quite the same but the world continues to get bigger.” This will afford Randall the opportunity to be more involved in the black community, with the series exploring, “what that means for him as a person growing up in a white family, in a white community.”