Michael Angarano was at the center of one the most gripping storylines on Season 3 of ‘This Is Us.’ Now the actor – who has been nominated for an Emmy – tells us why Nicky Pearson’s big reveal was so important.
It was one of the most intense scenes in Season 3 of This Is Us. In a flashback featuring actor Michael Angarano, 31, fans learned what a young Nicky Pearson did to turn his brother Jack permanently against him. Social media was abuzz as This Is Us devotees witnessed the older sibling (played by Milo Ventimiglia, 42) left horrified and disgusted after Nicky (Michael) killed a little Vietnamese boy by accidentally blowing up a fishing boat. From the look on Nicky’s face it is apparent that the youngster was immediately plunged into PTSD. As a result, it’s no surprise that the actor who played him has been nominated for an Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Emmy.
Michael told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that joining such an established ensemble cast and working on the emotional storyline was a “very special experience” for him. “It was, from start to finish, and it continues to be a very special experience because working on it was really great,” he said. “It was a very warm and welcoming crew and cast and I got to work with Milo intimately; I’ve known Milo for a long time.”
The subject of PTSD and the trauma that war vets face is a theme that continued and was explored further when actor Griffin Dunne, 64, took on the role of the older Nick Pearson. “It was really intense emotion, demanding stuff,” Michael said about the topic. “Again, I felt like we were indebted to a community of veterans… Anybody who’s ever been at war, it’s something that you have a responsibility to.”
When it comes to getting the storyline just right, Michael has nothing but praise for the writers who work together to craft the NBC hit show. “I was really, not skeptical, but I had never really seen that done on network television before… having [journalist and author] Tim O’Brien in the writers’ room,” he said. “[He’s] one of [This Is Us creator] Dan Fogleman’s favorite writers. I never felt like we were anything but authentic; Never felt like we were doing anything but trying to serve that community and our story. I’ve always felt like, in general, when you’re lucky enough to work on something for people to see it and talk about it and memorialize it in some way, that only adds to it. So it’s been just a pleasure. [I] feel very grateful.”
And what did he think about the fan reaction to the huge reveal? “What’s amazing is that having such a big group of people care, and hypothesize, and create all these theories about what they think is going to happen. The writers are genuinely one step ahead of them. Nobody guessed it right, nobody was close. It doesn’t seem like they ever are. It doesn’t feel forced, it feels like the natural progression of the story, of the show, the greater vision that Dan has for the show.”
He added, “It was really fun and anticipation of that reveal, hearing everybody talk about it, what they thought was going to happen because, you know, you can go an infinite number of ways with these characters and there is only one very specific way that it’s going to go, and so it was really cool.”
As for whether or not viewers will see young Nicky again in more flashbacks in Season 4 – like the rest of the This Is Us cast – Michael gave nothing away. “I certainly, A, hope so; B, think it’s very possible; C, don’t know.”
Season 4 of This Is Us premieres on NBC on Sept. 24. The Emmy Awards will air on FOX on Sept. 22 at 8pm ET.