From American Crime Story to This Is Us, Sterling K. Brown knows how to captivate fans with his performances — but there’s a whole lot you might not know about the man off-screen.
The actor recently sat down with PEOPLE’s Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle in the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview, where he was put to the test with an intense round of the Cagle Exercise.
A few of his best revelations? The movie he’s seen the most times is Coming to America, and it may be heresy, but he thinks that Gone with the Wind is overrated.
“My mom used to talk about it all the time like it was this amazing thing, and I felt like when I watched it — it’s one those things, like watching Casablanca,” he explains. “I love the filmmaking of it — it’s the acting style, it’s more heightened. So when you hear something talked about as the greatest of all time, and then you see it, it’s like … Huh, okay.”
- Watch the full episode of The Jess Cagle Interview with Sterling K. Brown on the People/Entertainment Weekly Network! Download the PEN app on your favorite device or go to PEOPLE.com/PEN.
Unsurprisingly, when he’s falling asleep he’s always thinking about his lines, and something he could talk about for hours on end is Game of Thrones. His greatest extravagance is buying sunglasses, he’s very good at ping pong, not so good at golf, and he starts every day by doing about 50 pushups. (“I don’t drink coffee, so the endorphins sort of get me going,” he explains.)
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These days, he feels sexiest when he’s “lotioning” — but he didn’t always consider himself good-looking, he admits.
“I didn’t grow up feeling very handsome,” he says. “I grew up feeling unattractive, and it took a long time to grow into a place where I was comfortable with me.”
As for the best advice he’s ever received? “Be careful of how you use your time, it’s the one thing you can’t get back” — and if he could sum up his life in a single bumper sticker, he knows just the one: “Always have an attitude of gratitude.”
Watch Brown’s full episode of The Jess Cagle Interview before season 2 of This Is Us premieres Sept. 26 on NBC.
—With AURELIE CORINTHIOS