Which scene in this episode of grieving was particularly challenging to pull off?
It was really challenging to shoot that tree scene because of the location — both the scene with Milo and the scene with the kids. They were on two separate nights. But it was so loud — so much traffic — we were right by the Van Nuys airport. The planes were landing all the time. It was just so distracting, and I had to really work hard to get past that. Because in my mind I was like, “It’s going to be this quiet, beautiful, peaceful, tranquil spot,” and it really was anything but. So the fact that we were able to find a way to make that work was pretty, pretty impressive. I’m very impressed with the editing. And the sound that they were able to make that work.
Bruce Springsteen rarely licenses his music for TV shows.
What do you think Rebecca and Jack’s favorite Springsteen song would be?
You know what? Taylor [Goldsmith, Moore’s fiancé] and I got to go see his show in New York over the holidays, and we got to meet him! And I wanted to be like, “You’re in the next episode!” But then, you know, he was talking to Taylor. He knows Dawes! He was talking to Taylor about the band, which made my life. And made Taylor’s life. And I was like, “You know what? I’m going to just let them talk about music and not interject my show in there!” [Laughs.] But I so badly wanted to be like, “You’re a huge point in my story line in the next episode!” I don’t know what their favorite song would be. “Thunder Road?” I feel like just a total classic.
This episode also brought the return of Dr. K, who gave Rebecca that much-needed, heartfelt pep talk. First of all, tell us something surprising about Gerald McRaney.
I don’t know if it would be surprising — he’s just a consummate professional and gentleman. He always has just wonderful stories. Because he’s been doing this forever, he’s worked with everybody, he’s an incredible storyteller; there’s always that to look forward to… Man, it is such an honor to get in the ring with him. It’s like going toe-to-toe with the champ of all-time. He’s so stellar, and he brings it every single take, whether the camera’s on him or not, and it forces you to raise your game, to try to keep up with him. He’s so sweet. I hadn’t seen him since he won his Emmy [for his guest-starring work on This Is Us]. He’s like, “Did you hear? I referenced you and Milo in my speech!” And he repeated back what he said in his Emmy speech, and I was so blown away!
Dr. K feels almost like an on-Earth guardian angel — he’s always there in the right trying moments. In this episode, Rebecca was surprised to learn he was a stealth surrogate father figure to Jack, who had been going to see him occasionally and drawing strength from him. Will Dr. K continue to be a pillar for her to lean on, in the way he was for Jack?
I adore him and can only hope that Dan figures out a way to bring him back, although I know that his character’s quite old at this point in time. I don’t quite know how they would finagle it — maybe he visits Rebecca and the kids one more time somehow. I want to work with him all the time…. We have limited time with him [in that era]. But, you know, he could come back as a ghost, or in some sort of flashback.
Please don’t say that Dr. K is going to die soon!
I don’t know! He’s gotta be, what, in his late 80s, early 90s? Maybe Dr. K will outlive everybody.
To read what else Moore had to say about Jack’s death episode, click here.
To see why creator Dan Fogelman picked that ending for Jack, click here.
This Is Us returns to NBC with a new episode on Feb. 27.