While the star, who plays William on NBC's massive hit drama, isn't on any social media, he and costar Susan Kelechi Jones recorded a short video during filming of "Memphis," the episode in which William took Randall (Sterling K. Brown) on a tour of his hometown before passing away.
"Keep a look out. I love you cats, man," Jones says in the sweet Instagram video. "I'm not very much of a—what is it? A computer type thing? Susan keeps telling me, get on twitter! Gotta get on Instagram! Say hello to your friends! So I'll get there, but I love you all, God bless."
For Jones, his time on the show as an actor paralleled his character's journey throughout the season, as both knew that William was dying, but neither knew when.
"I had to follow along with the script to find that out each time," he told us. "I didn't know episodes ahead how he was going to die, and I didn't know when. So each time I got a script, I was like ok, I'm still here. It was that kind of thing. ... For the character, it worked perfectly. Each day you come in, you don't know if you're going to die. That's what William's thing was—six months ago, a doctor told me I had three to live, but it worked for the character."
Jones was also feeling those heavy emotions right along with us last night, especially during a few select scenes.
"I feel everything that the fans are feeling, and in this particular case, certain scenes, you feel it even more intense because you're playing the emotions yourself," Jones told E! News. "And that would be hands down sitting on the bed dying. It stems from the work—how I work and how Sterling works. Letting the scene breathe without being overly melodramatic. Those are some moments that resonated for me a lot, you know. We did that scene the first day of the episode, so we didn't have time to build up to it or anything. It was heartwrenching. There was a lot of tears."
|Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Chrissy Metz as Kate and Justin Hartley as Kevin on This Is Us. Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images|
This Is Us' Justin Hartley: Fans Will 'Never Guess' How Jack Dies, It's Completely 'Unexpected'
Puffy eyes for days! This Is Us' Justin Hartley knows exactly how his character's on-screen dad, Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), dies, and from the sound of it, it seems like fans should take off from work or school the next day. The hunky actor, who plays Kevin Pearson, dropped by Us Weekly's NYC headquarters to discuss the NBC hit on Wednesday, February 22 with Us Weekly video reporter Christina Garibaldi and executive producer Kim Rittberg.
"You'll never guess it," Hartley, 40, exclusively tells Us of Jack's fate. "It's unexpected and it's extremely heartbreaking and sad and deep and moving and, ugh, it's painful. It's painful. It'll stay with you."
Last month, This Is Us revealed that Jack died when the Big Three (Hartley, Chrissy Metz and Sterling K. Brown) were just teenagers. Although the flashback funeral scene didn't reveal much else, fans continue to come up with theories on how he died. Hartley admits to Us that he's read some, but has yet to come across one that's correct.
Viewers of the freshman series are used to stocking up on tissues. During last night's "Memphis" episode, Randall's (Brown) biological father, William Hill (Ron Cephas Jones), succumbed to his stage IV diagnosis.
Hartley either watches the emotional episodes live or ahead of time on set. "Sometimes I'll watch the New York feed if we're in L.A.," he says. "Whenever I'm tweeting the show I like to have watched it once before so I can [fully enjoy it]. I like watching [my fiancée, Chrishell Stause] watch it."
Hartley's on-screen romance isn't as solid. Kevin is currently trying to win back his ex-wife Sophie (Alexandria Breckenridge), whom he previously cheated on.
"I think he's serious about getting her back and I think unfortunately good people do bad things sometimes," Hartley tells Us. "He's got a lot to make up for any way you slice it. He broke her heart and he left her with nothing. I think he did it in sort of a selfish way and then he didn't fess up to it and just ran away from it. He's trying to convince her that he's changed so yeah, I think he can earn her back. I think it's going to take some time. She's a smart woman, so she's got to be patient with him. And he has to be patient with her and realize these are deep wounds."
'This Is Us' Guest Star Brian Tyree Henry Cried for 20 Minutes After Devastating Episode
The tears just keep on coming. After the Tuesday, February 21 episode of This Is Us, fans were a wreck as William (Ron Cephas Jones) passed away in his favorite city, Memphis. However, before William met his demise, he took a meaningful road trip to the Tennessee city with his son Randall (Sterling K. Brown).
During the road trip, viewers saw flashbacks of William’s early life with his mother, Dorothy (Amanda Warren), his experiences in the band with his cousin Ricky (Brian Tyree Henry) and his downward spiral into drugs with girlfriend Laurel (Jennifer Holmes).
Henry, who is Brown’s best friend in real life, spoke to Us Weekly exclusively about the emotional episode.
“I was crying for at least twenty minutes after the episode,” the Atlanta actor told Us.
The fan of the show was obvious gutted by watching William pass away, but the emotions started long before the episode aired. During the makeup process Henry, who was aged around 40 years to go from playing Ricky in the ‘70s with a younger William (Jermel Nakia), to playing him as an older man in the present day, was awed by the transformation.
“I told the makeup department that they’re aging me the same age as my father, he’s 76, so I showed them a picture of my dad and they were like, ‘Oh, well, we gotta make you look like your dad.’ And it was so uncanny how they did it, I looked exactly like my father,” he explains. “It really was very emotional at times to look at myself in the mirror, because I would forget that I was 76. And it was really special that I got to pay some honor to my dad by looking exactly like him in the show, it was great.”
Henry, who admits his scenes were “lighthearted” compared to the tear-jerking scenes, found it to be “inspiring” to see his pals Brown and Jones act so well together.