Mandy Moore says Milo Ventimiglia was just being Milo Ventimiglia when he recently told a reporter that he wasn’t the first choice to play Jack Pearson on This Is Us. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Moore shot down her TV husband’s claims that This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman wanted “somebody completely different” for the role of the Pearson family patriarch.
Ventimiglia recently told Variety that This Is Us producers were looking for a more clean-cut actor for the role of Jack, and then he showed up for his audition in full biker mode.
“They wanted somebody completely different,” Ventimiglia told Variety.
“I walked in with my beard and my long hair and set my motorcycle helmet down and they went, ‘Who is this guy?’… I think they just saw something different than someone who had practiced the words, and they picked me.”
“That’s not true!” Mandy revealed to ET of Milo’s remarks. Moore went on to explain that her This Is Us co-star is one of the most humble people in Hollywood.
“Because he’s Milo and he’s sweet and has no ego,” Mandy said of why Ventimiglia would downplay his This Is Us status.
“When I went in to test for it and there were a couple of other guys, I knew going in that he was the one that they wanted. So that’s just Milo deferring — he’s just too sweet.”
While Milo was always meant to be Jack Pearson, Mandy Moore says she knows for sure that she was not the producers’ first choice to play Jack’s wife Rebecca.
“No!” Moore told ET.
“Auditioning for any project is such a crapshoot and I just feel lucky that, somehow, I lucked out and got to be a part of it.”
Mandy Moore may only be half right. This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman previously told NPR that he originally imagined a more average-looking actor than Ventimiglia in the role of Jack Pearson. The character is loosely based on the This Is Us showrunner.
As Mandy Moore and the rest of the This Is Us cast get set to start shooting Season 2 in July, Moore said some scripts for the second season could be placed “on lock down” to keep spoilers from leaking. Moore revealed that certain scripts may have the characters’ names changed in an effort to keep security intact for the top secret storylines, a tactic that Fogelman has used in the past, most notably for the tear-jerky Season 1 “Memphis” episode that ended with the death of William (Ron Cephas Jones).
“We’re lucky enough to have success with the show and I think there is so much interest out there, that [Dan’s] like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna have to keep things a secret,'” Moore told ET. “I was like, oh great, I’m going to be the one that totally leaves the script somewhere and someone reads it and I get in trouble.”
Moore added that while she knows fans are anxious to find out how Jack Pearson eventually dies (it has already been revealed that the character passes away sometime in the mid-1990s when he is in his early 50s, but his cause of death remains a mystery), she has been “very good about not letting people know” what happens on future episodes of the hit NBC drama. Mandy also said she thinks most people don’t really want to know the details of Papa Pearson’s demise until it plays out on This Is Us.
“You want to watch it unfold in real time,” Mandy said.
You can see Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson when This Is Us returns Tuesdays this fall on NBC.
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