Arguably the most highly anticipated new fall series, “This is Us,” finally premiered on Tuesday (Sept. 20), and it did not disappoint. The NBC drama — which stars a fantastically talented ensemble cast including Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Chris Sullivan, Susan Kelechi Watson, Ron Cephas Jones, and recent Emmy Award winner, Sterling K. Brown — left viewers laughing, crying — and ultimately gasping — during the premiere episode, which culminated in a twist ending no one saw coming.
— Spoiler Alert! Stop reading now if you haven’t yet watched the premiere episode of This Is Us! —
Revealing that all the characters are siblings, and that Moore and Ventimiglia’s storylines are flashbacks to the past, packed quite an emotion punch for audiences, and People’s Choice wanted to know if the cast was just as moved when they first read the pilot. While attending the show’s PaleyFest screening in Los Angeles last week, we got the full scoop on their emotional reaction. “I was verbally shocked reading it by myself,” Sullivan says. “It was one of the best episodes of television I’ve ever read.”
Hartley was so taken aback that he needed to walk off.
"I had to stand up," he says. "Like what? Did I just read the coolest thing in the history of writing? And then I read it again. It's incredible."
Mirroring Sullivan's sentiment, Watson says that after she finished reading it, "I called my agents and managers and was like, 'Get me on a plane!' I got to go. I got to go! And literally 7 or 8 hours later, I was on a plane to test for this pilot."
Ventimiglia was also in flight when he first read the script. "I leaned back and was like, wow," he says. "I flipped back to page one and started over again right away. Eyes welling up." His co-star Jones also fought off tears after discovering the thread that ties everyone's stories together. "I cried, I teared up," he admits.
Moore says the final reveal made her even more excited to be a part of the series. "This really sets up a show with a certain dynamic," she says. "And it can go in a million different directions."
This Is Us airs Tuesdays on NBC at 10/9c.