Mandy Moore has literally grown up right before our eyes. The 32-year-old actress kicked off her career in 1999 when she burst onto the scene with the pop single “Candy” at age 15. But now, Moore is playing a 66-year-old grandmother on NBC’s breakout hit dramedy, This is Us.
The series shifts between the year 1980 and the present day, so Mandy Moore is seen alternately as a young mother and a grandmother. In an interview with Vulture, Mandy said she didn’t know that the role of young mom Rebecca Pearson would span decades when she signed on for it. But she’s definitely not complaining about the role or the prospect of getting old.
Moore told Vulture that she went through a slew of makeup tests before producers got the desired look for her senior self.
“I think we had five makeup tests and putting on the prosthetics takes about four hours each time,” Mandy revealed. “Initially I looked too old, and then it wasn’t enough…It’s weird watching it, seeing the third episode going like, Wow, I wonder if that is how I’ll age. I’d be pretty okay with it. Rebecca’s taken fairly good care of herself. I’m embracing aging. I’m ready for that to happen in the next 30 years. I’m not scared of it.”
In a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mandy revealed that she worked with a coach to jump into the elder Rebecca’s mindset when preparing for the role.
“I worked with a physicality coach for present-day Rebecca because I don’t know what it’s like to be 66,” Moore revealed. “Although that is not old at all, physically there would be a slightly different walk.”
“The way she carried herself would be quite different than Rebecca at 30 or 38… I tried to remember that present-day Rebecca is not moving around and trucking along as well as she was maybe in her 30s. So she’s a little slower, but not too much…It’s not so old, so I didn’t want to play her as like frail and falling apart.”
Mandy Moore’s transformation has been a bit of a jaw-dropper, but so far, viewers have not seen the elderly version of her TV husband, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia). In fact, Moore’s first scene as a grandmother had her showing up with a new man (Miguel, played by Jon Huertas) by her side, so it’s clear that the young couple we first saw in 1980 is no longer together. So, does this mean Jack has died?
“You’ll find out more as to what happens to Jack and Rebecca and why in 2016 they’re no longer together,” Moore told THR. “What happens to them, what breaks them apart… it’s pretty heartbreaking…I was pretty devastated to see they don’t end up together.”
But don’t rule out seeing Jack as an old man. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, This is Us creator Dan Fogelman revealed that Ventimiglia is on board to play the aging game.
“He’s game,” Fogelman said. “I mean, what better thing for an actor? What scarier thing for an actor? We haven’t shot old Milo yet… Both Mandy and Milo strangely can float through different periods easily, and it feels very authentic…Our makeup team and hair team just blew me away, and I was so happy with what they did.”
No matter what happened between them, in the Vulture interview, Mandy Moore says she chooses to believe that Jack and Rebecca are soulmates, and her character will never take off the moon necklace that he gave her in the second episode. Considering she’s had that thing for almost 30 years, it must need a good cleaning!
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.
Take a look at the video below to see Mandy Moore on This Is Us.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]