‘This Is Us’: Blake Stadnik’s Favorite On-Screen ‘Companions’ Aren’t Who You’d Expect
It’s rare to see an actor with a disability become an acting star after a few brief scenes in a popular drama series. This is what happened to Blake Stadnik who happens to be blind in real life and landed the role of a lifetime playing the son of Kate and Toby: Jack Damon.
While he appreciates the producers giving him a shot at fame (plus having a hit song with Memorized), he’s also enjoying working with the cast. What a lot of viewers wonder is whether audiences will have a chance to see him interact with the other Pearsons, even if the latter would be much older during the time Jack’s an adult.
In a recent interview, Stadnik says his truly favorite companions on the show are beyond what you’d expect.
Stadnik has bonded well with the human actors
Despite being blind, Stadnik can still make out shapes and light, which enabled him to have a popular stage acting career in recent years. Most of those roles were in musical theater, so it made him the perfect candidate to play adult Jack as a future singer.
This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman wanted a real blind actor during the audition process. He obviously realized enough was enough on shows always hiring able-bodied actors to portray people with disabilities. From the perspective of Stadnik, this set a new precedent for how other shows will hire disabled actors.
One thing his new fans have seen is he’s very active on places like Instagram. He didn’t hesitate to prove to everyone he bonded immediately with the TiU cast. His first pic was posing with his on-screen mom and dad: Chrissy Metz and Chris Sullivan.
Perhaps this won’t be the last time we see them together, especially if we see old versions of Toby and Kate from 25 years on. While there’s still a lot of speculation about whether Jack “Jay” Damon will be seen with his parents, his on-screen parents aren’t the only ones he’s been posting pics of on Instagram.
Stadnik hasn’t taken a pic with everyone in the cast yet
No doubt Stadnik has pics with everyone in the cast, yet just hasn’t posted all of them. For instance, there isn’t a pic of him with his on-screen grandfather Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), perhaps out of good reason to keep a psychological distance since they didn’t know one another in the This Is Us timeline.
There is one pic of him standing next to Dan Fogelman and co-producer Ken Olin. They’re both responsible for hiring Stadnik and setting a new high-bar for disabled actor hires.
Then there’s several pics of his fictitious future wife, Lucy Damon. She’s played by Auden Thornton, another one of the newcomers to the cast this season.
Beyond the human stars, many will probably notice Stadnik has been posting other pics of animals. According to him, some of his closest companions on the set of This Is Us aren’t technically human.
The dogs who play Jack Damon’s dog, Sam
To be the perfect family show that it is, This Is Us had to add some animals to the mix. Jack Damon has a white Pomeranian dog companion by the name of Sam who we see as young, and then older.
Two different Pomeranian dogs were hired to play Sam, giving more dogs for Stadnik to bond with on the set. Based on his Instagram pic of the two dogs, he says they’ve become his closest companions, with the canines seeming to approve.
Stadnik clearly bonds well with animals based on the pics he’s posted with horses and even other dogs. Being more perceptive to the world due to his blindness, no one should underestimate the dogs probably sense this in Stadnik to a point where they relate to one another.
Thanks to this perception of the world, it’ll help him become a respected actor down the road, including likely playing a pivotal role in the series ending of This Is Us.