‘This Is Us’: Milo Ventimiglia Reveals the Most ‘Heartbreaking’ Part of Playing Jack

TL;DR:

  • This Is Us star Milo Ventimiglia is reflecting on his time as Jack after the series finale.
  • The actor revealed the most “heartbreaking” aspect of his This Is Us role.
  • Overall, Ventimiglia seems pleased with how the NBC show ended things.
Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson in 'This Is Us' Season 6. He's wearing a white shirt and black tie, and he's smiling.
Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson | Ron Batzdorff/NBC

This Is Us Season 6 recently brought the NBC series to a close, with the cast and crew parting ways with the Pearson family after years of telling their story. Even Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), who died in the second season of This Is Us, played a prominent role in the big finale. Unfortunately, the fact that Jack’s storyline takes such a devastating turn early on factors into what Ventimiglia considers the most “heartbreaking” aspect of his role.

‘This Is Us’ kept Jack Pearson around long after his death

Jack Pearson perishes in This Is Us Season 2 Episode 14, dying from smoke inhalation after saving his family from a house fire. Fortunately, Milo Ventimiglia was able to keep playing Jack throughout This Is Us, with the NBC series keeping the character in the picture via flashbacks. And the actor recently expressed awe that showrunner Dan Fogelman found a way to keep him in.

“The fact that we’ve managed to keep Jack involved in the storylines going through the six seasons — after we learned everything we needed to know about him in season 3 — is wonderful,” Ventimiglia told TV Insider. “It’s a testament to Dan Fogelman and his staff of writers.”

It certainly has been nice to have Jack around a bit longer. The character even played a prominent role in the series finale. Even in death, Jack and Rebecca get a fitting end to their love story. Of course, Ventimiglia admitted that there’s a downside to playing a character who appears primarily in scenes set in the past.

Milo Ventimiglia revealed the most ‘heartbreaking’ part of playing Jack

RELATED: ‘This Is Us’ Finale: Sterling K. Brown Reveals Why Having ‘a Pretty Hydrated Cast’ Was So Important

With Jack mostly appearing in flashbacks during This Is Us, Milo Ventimiglia admitted he doesn’t get to spend much time with his castmates.

Although Mandy Moore shows up in many of the same scenes, the Pearson kids are much younger when Jack is still alive. That means Ventimiglia doesn’t work closely with the actors who portray them as adults. During a conversation with Entertainment Weekly, the cast lamented that fact.

“The only time that you really get to spend time with all of us is in a setting like this,” Justin Hartley told Ventimiglia during EW’s Around the Table talk.

“I’ve been consistently saying, that’s the one heartbreaking thing for me,” Ventimiglia admitted. “I don’t get to share time with all of you on set.”

He added, “For me, honestly, I feel at times, I’m like, ‘I’m just going to sit and observe.’ I kind of dance on the periphery when it’s the group because you guys have so much collective time together that, for me, I’m like, ‘I don’t want to disturb. I’m just going to watch.'”

And that peripheral presence defines Jack’s character arc throughout the series. It came full circle in the show’s finale, something Ventimiglia seems satisfied with.

Milo Ventimiglia seems satisfied with the ‘This Is Us’ finale

Although Milo Ventimiglia doesn’t regularly appear in scenes with the adult Pearsons, Jack remains a major presence in their lives throughout This Is Us. The series finale drives that home, with him helping Rebecca move on from her life with them.

“I don’t want to leave them,” Rebecca tells Jack in the show’s last scene. “You don’t,” he responds. “You’ll see.”

It’s a fitting message given Jack’s role in the series. And Ventimiglia seems satisfied with the character’s ending. Speaking with Deadline, he expressed gratitude for where the show left things:

“It was whole and it was full. I was happy to end the show with Mandy in a scene together because that’s how we started it. It felt good, it felt accomplished. It felt like we’d been given this opportunity to close things out respectfully, wholeheartedly for the characters. I was grateful.”

And Jack and Rebecca’s story is likely to live on through fans as much as through their kids. Many are already missing their weekly cry with the Pearson family. Fortunately, they can revisit the series’ happier moments whenever they’d like.

This Is Us is currently streaming on Peacock and Hulu.

RELATED: ‘This Is Us’ Finale: Mandy Moore Explains Why Jack Had to Be With Rebecca in That Last Scene