Get your tissues ready for the ‘This Is Us’ finale! Hannah Zeile, a.k.a. teen Kate, talked EXCLUSIVELY with HL about the end of the season after the roller coaster of Jack’s death and more!
This Is Us season 2 is coming to a close on March 13 at 9 p.m. on NBC. The beloved series will end its sophomore season with Toby and Kate’s wedding after a couple of gut-wrenching episodes. During the show’s emotional Super Bowl episode, fans finally learned how Pearson patriarch Jack Pearson died. Watching the grief-stricken Pearson family say goodbye to Jack was absolutely devastating, to say the least. Now that the big reveal is out of the way, the show and the characters can move forward.
Hannah Zeile, who plays teenage Kate, has really gotten to show the world her incredible gift this season. Her powerful and poignant scenes alongside Milo Ventimiglia have been some of the show’s finest. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Hannah about the incredible second season. From closing an important chapter in the Pearson family’s story to what fans can expect in the finale, Hannah talks about it all. Plus, she reveals what she wants to see in season 3! Check out our Q&A below!
Is there anything you can tease about the finale?
Hannah Zeile: I can say that it’s going to be finally uplifting and fun and healing and beautiful. I think that we broke everyone’s hearts for a couple weeks straight, so it’s time to start the healing process.
The show finally addressed Jack’s death, but since the show shifts back and forth in time, you have the ability to continue to explore the aftermath. Do you think that’s something we’ll see more of in season 3?
Hannah Zeile: I don’t know anything for sure, but I think that’s a really important time. That’s something so significant in the Big Three’s lives, and a lot of the reason why they have the struggles that they do is because of Jack’s death. I do think that we’re going to see how they’re coping and how they’re feeling.
How does it feel to have Jack’s death out of the way? That was one closely guarded secret.
Hannah Zeile: The funny thing is that was my most asked question, and then once it was revealed, people were like, “We take it back. We don’t want to know.” But it’s definitely a relief to have it out of the way because it was a secret that we had to keep. Now there’s no limits. There’s so much that we can do now that that’s out of the bag.
What was it like closing the chapter on that part of the Pearson family’s story?
Hannah Zeile: Filming those three episodes was definitely emotionally draining. It was super emotional. They did a really good job of building up Kate and Jack’s relationship. There are a lot of moments that we can look back on and remember their father-daughter bond, so saying goodbye to that chapter was definitely heartbreaking.
Hopefully we’ll get to see more of Rebecca and Kate’s relationship in the aftermath of Jack’s death. I’m anxious to see that.
Hannah Zeile: Me too. I’m anxious to see how it changes with Jack not around anymore because I know that Kate had a very turbulent relationship with Rebecca. I’m curious to see where things will go now.
How did you feel about wrapping season two?
Hannah Zeile: It was weird because it went by super duper fast. I remember being so excited to come back for season two. Since I had been picked up as a series regular, I met with the writers over break. So I knew there was cool stuff coming, and then all of sudden we were at the wrap party all looking at each other like, “How did this happen?”
Is there a period of teen Kate’s life that you still want to explore?
Hannah Zeile: All of the teenagers are interesting to me. I think that any time we flash back to teenage time, it’s such a pivotal time in someone’s life. I feel like that’s when you’re kind of finding who you are. It’s funny because I feel that teenage Kate is so different than her adult version. Of course, they have their similarities, but teen Kate is very independent and angsty. She has a chip on her shoulder, so I’m interested to see how she transitions into the woman that Chrissy is.
Kate is such a relatable character. Have you had fans reach out to you?
Hannah Zeile: Yes, the social media platform that I talk to people the most on is Twitter, so a lot of the time after the episode, people will tweet their reactions or their feelings about the storylines. I love reading them and responding to those. But there’s also been times where I’ve seen people in person. I’ve had multiple women cry and hug me and tell me that Kate was them in high school. That’s so powerful to me. To be able to be performing material that is impacting people on a personal level, that’s really important to me.
Do you have a favorite scene from the past two seasons?
Hannah Zeile: I have a lot but definitely one that sticks out is the car scene on the way to Jerry’s Records with Milo [Ventimiglia]. Just because that scene really showed how effortless the relationship between Jack and Kate was, and we filmed it so effortlessly. It was so natural. It felt really like a conversation with dad in the car. It was so easy and fun to film. I think our actual in-person chemistry really came out beautifully onscreen.
We’ve heard you sing on the show. Have you considered recording music?
Hannah Zeile: I would love to do something with music. I have always loved to sing, but I’ve had really bad stage fright with it, which is weird. Acting wise, I was fine, but singing was really vulnerable for me. With this character, they never had me sing in my audition, so I didn’t even know that was going to be in my storyline. When it was, it really helped my confidence because I’ve have to sing in front of a whole set crew that I don’t know. I had to go out to a studio to record it to have it play on television. I definitely feel more confident in it now, and I would love do something with music. I love to sing.
You and Chrissy need to do a duet sometime.
Hannah Zeile: Oh my gosh. We talk about it. That would be super fun.