THIS IS US Team on Moving Up the Premiere, Kevin and Randall's Seismic Fight - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THIS IS US Team on Moving Up the Premiere, Kevin and Randall’s Seismic Fight

October 23, 2020 by  

This is Us season 5 premiere

THIS IS US — “Forty Part 1/Forty Part 2” Episode 501/502 — Pictured in this screengrab: (l-r) Sterling K. Brown as Randall, Justin Hartley as Kevin — (Photo by: NBC)

THIS IS US returns with a two-hour premiere on Tuesday, October 27…a full two weeks ahead of its initially planned premiere date.

“We’ve been working really hard [to get the episode ready],” creator Dan Fogelman told reporters of getting the episode prepared with only ten days of turnaround time between filming concluding and its new air date. “NBC has been really, really incredible about [it]. It was really important to me and to us to get these episodes on before the election, not because they’re political, but because I think they’re difficult and then hopeful. And it felt important to us to just put it on TV now, with no agenda other than that.”

“But,” he allows, “it also created like an intense rush. We have the best editors that have been working night and day. The guys have been shooting on weekends to get it done in time. I literally locked the episodes that are going to air late last night, and we’re going to be airing them in a couple of days—and we’re still mixing and finalizing them…But we have the crew to do it. We’ve been doing this for five years now; we know what we’re doing. The cast doesn’t need a tremendous amount of takes or coverage, they all come ready to go. And so we were able to kind of squeak by and get it done and get it done the way we want it to do, as we were also wearing face shields for the first time in our lives, and masks and we have the actors literally in plastic bubbles between sets. It’s a brave new world over on set, but we found our normalcy really quickly and we haven’t lost our rhythm on set.”

Despite the extended work-weeks, “I’ve been surprised at how it doesn’t feel like we’re going like overtime or anything,” Susan Kelechi Watson (who plays Beth) said.

After the initial rush, with a week off for the election, “we’re actually right on schedule,” Fogelman said. “We’re shooting the same amount of days per episode. We keep saying on set, I would not envy a first year show or a pilot being made now, who are all kind of finding their rhythm and their relationships and whatnot….We don’t lose people on our crew, so it’s kind of the same group of people who are doing the same job. We’re just doing it in PPE now.”

As for the show, the series will be living with the aftermath of Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) brutal fight. “When we took the fight to that place, it was never intended to be like they make up the next week or the next episode,” Fogelman previewed. “That’s a fight that’s been building for 40 years between these two boys, and now men, who grew up in the same house. It’s going to be front and center of our TV show. It’s in the front and center of our premiere, and it will be in the front and center for our show for quite a bit…I think that one’s going to take a little bit of rebuilding, if in fact they can get there.”

What might make it worse, Hartley points out, is how calm the brothers were. “It wasn’t screaming, it wasn’t out of control, it wasn’t manic; it was a calculated statement that Randall made to Kevin and then Kevin made to Randall,” he said. “And they were talking to each other and saying things in that way that are so hurtful, and the way they’re said is just like, ‘This is coming out of my mouth and I intend for this to hurt you and I need to say this.’ I think sometimes when you have fights like that, sometimes it takes an event even to bring people back together, because I don’t know how motivated—we’ll find out throughout the season—both men are to reconcile so quickly. I don’t know if they’re on the same page.”

Added Brown: “I remember talking to Dan at the end of season 1 and I remember watching ‘Moonshadow,’ and I said, ‘Dan, are you sure you want to end the season like this? This is really rough, bro, like Mom and Dad are not getting along.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, we gotta get to some dark places so we can emphasize the light sometimes.’ ‘But you’re going to end this s–t like this?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, okay.’ And he was like, ‘Hey Sterl, do you remember when you called me about the argument between your mom and dad?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘The s–t between you and your brother is way f—ing worse!’ So I don’t know if we can just sum it up too quickly because it wouldn’t be authentic to what we introduced, but I’m hopeful.”

Fogelman, however, threw a little bit of caution at fans. “One of the things I think people forget when we talk about the two brothers is in the second episode of the show, when you meet…adult Kevin and Randall together, they feel pretty estranged from one another,” he said. “They had not been super close. It’s only been in the course of the season, this has been the best patch they’ve had in their adult brotherhood probably in their adult lives and it’s easy to forget. But there was a steep cliff they were very capable of going off, and their mother’s health and the fight over their mother’s health was exactly the thing that pushed both.”

THIS IS US, Season Premiere, Tuesday, October 27, 9/8c, NBC

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