This Is Us star Mandy Moore knew she was filming a death scene earlier this year, but she didn’t know her co-star Milo Ventimiglia would actually be in it. In the heavily promoted This Is Us post-Super Bowl episode, titled “Super Bowl Sunday,” Ventimiglia’s character Jack Pearson was in superhero mode as he rescued his family (and the family dog!) from a house fire. Sadly, by the end of the episode, the beloved Pearson patriarch perished from cardiac arrest due to complications from smoke inhalation once he was at the hospital.
When they were filming the death scene, Mandy Moore, who plays Jack’s wife Rebecca on the NBC drama, had no idea that Milo Ventimiglia would actually be laying in the hospital bed. During rehearsals for the scene, her character arrived at the room after Jack’s body was already taken away.
In a new interview with The Los Angeles Times, Milo Ventimiglia revealed that after they shot the scene, Mandy Moore was “crying every day” for “four weeks.” Milo added that it was extremely painful for him to listen to his TV wife break down as he played dead during the filming of the scene.
“What I understood in my scene is it’s very much not about me. It’s about what Mandy has to experience in finding that ultimate low,” Ventimiglia told the Times.
“Hearing my friend completely break, it almost felt like an out-of-body experience. It hurt; it was painful. Poor Mandy had about four weeks where she was crying every day.”
Milo Ventimiglia revealed that after they were finished filming the emotional scene, he waited for Mandy to come to his trailer.
“We had a big hug and there was laughter and even a, ‘Thank God that’s over,'” the This Is Us star said.
Mandy Moore has already said that the second season of This Is Us really put her through the wringer. In an interview with Gold Derby, Moore said she was “braced and ready” for the challenging second half of the season that revealed all of the details of Jack’s death story, but she admitted she doesn’t know if anyone can “make it through an episode of our show without us crying on set or people crying at home!”
Mandy Moore also talked about shooting the scene that featured Rebecca entering the hospital room where Jack had just passed away. The This Is Us actress thought she would be walking into an empty room.
“I didn’t know that Milo was going to be there for the first take,” Mandy told Gold Derby.
“I remember turning the corner, walking into the room, and I had prepared myself fully for seeing an empty hospital bed and there was Milo, laying on the bed with his shirt off and the paddles next to him on the bed, and I was frozen. I was in the moment.”
Milo Ventimiglia previously hinted to Entertainment Weekly that footage from the hospital bed shoot may be used in later episodes of This Is Us.
“I’m laying there and I can hear Mandy breaking down and just crumbling, take after take after take,” Milo told EW. “We even filmed bits where she would walk up to me, and I’m just laying there staring at a point on the wall, barely breathing, but having to feel her over me or near me — just losing Jack.”
You can see Milo Ventimiglia’s heartbreaking This Is Us death scene below.
This Is Us returns to NBC this fall.