‘This Is Us’: Milo Ventimiglia Knows His Story As Jack Pearson for the Next 3 Seasons

By now, even people who don’t watch This is Us know about the saga of Jack Pearson, played by Milo Ventimiglia. Some of us are still very wary of slow cookers. 

So does that mean we won’t see much of Ventimiglia on This is Us going forward? Yes and no. This is Us was most recently renewed for an impressive three seasons, but even that carries its own bittersweet news. Once those seasons are done, so is the show (maybe).

But even if we don’t see much of Jack, we will still feel his presence, largely because Ventimiglia has gone behind the camera. 

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Ventimiglia

Milo Ventimiglia on the red carpet
Milo Ventimiglia | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Ventimiglia directed the fifth episode of season 4, called “Storybook Love.”  Although it was not his first time ever to direct anything, it was his first time taking the helm of his own series. Ever gallant, Ventimiglia told the Hollywood Reporter that he welcomed the challenge of trying to shoot the whole episode in only eight days. 

The script featured one of the Pearson family dinners that Ventimiglia had to figure out how to shoot. Scenes where characters eat are especially difficult because they’re ripe for continuity errors, with shots potentially mismatching. And it became even more challenging because the dinner scenes included the show’s famous time jumps.

One scene was the first dinner Jack and Rebecca (Mandy Moore), share in their new house, and the other was the first family gathering a fading Rebecca hosts after Jack’s death in 1998.

Likening the situation to a math equation he knew the answer to, he said, “It turned into, ‘How do I shoot this efficiently and how do I shoot this in a way that, through fresh eyes of a different director, still feels like a great episode of a show that is four years deep into production?'”

What did people think of Ventimiglia is a director?

Ventimiglia’s efforts received high praise from his co-workers and from critics too. The AV Club wrote, “In his first time behind the This Is Us camera, Milo Ventimiglia gets wonderfully lived-in performances from his actors. Justin Hartley and Griffin Dunne, in particular, lock into an engagingly amiable oil-and-water dynamic in Kevin and Nicky’s relationship.”

However, the actor/director received high praise from perhaps the most important “critic” of all, This is Us creator Dan Fogelman, who told USA Today that the episode was one of his favorites, and he is encouraging his cast to explore other talents besides acting.

This may also be a factor in Mandy Moore’s return to music; she dropped the second single “I’d Rather Lose” from her forthcoming album last week. 

Fogelman said, “Our cast members have varied interests, whether it be directing, producing, writing. What we’re hoping to do in the last few seasons of the show is give them the opportunity to scratch those itches and use their talents.”

But what about Jack on camera?

As impressive as this may all be, fans will surely still be eager to see Ventimiglia’s face, because they know they may not see much of him. And they may not be disappointed. 

“I’m pretty familiar with what Jack’s presence is going to be through the next couple of seasons. I know through six. But I also know that, if maybe there’s some moments where you need to put Jack on the bench because some other story storylines are taking over, they can always call me out to direct those episodes. I think there’s always going to be a version where I’m around, but maybe I’m not in front of the camera on the show,” the actor told the Hollywood Reporter.

Fogelman had previously indicated that This is Us would end after the three-season renewal runs its course. Now he isn’t so sure. He seems to like what he’s seeing too much. Not to mention his bosses are reluctant to end a good thing. 

“I think NBC doesn’t love me talking about the exact number (of seasons)” Fogleman said to USA Today.

With the show’s time-hopping, it’s more than likely Ventimiglia will keep showing up as both an actor and a director.