On NBC’s This Is Us, Chrissy Metz plays Kate Pearson, a woman who struggles with losing weight throughout the series. The show has been praised for its honesty and authenticity, but as it turns out, a significantly thinner woman almost got the part.
The Hollywood Reporter is out with a new piece on This Is Us today ahead of the show’s September 26 Season 2 premiere, and the article reveals a lot of fascinating behind-the-scenes details about the show. One concerns the casting of Kate Pearson, and NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke revealed that the role was down to Chrissy Metz and one other actress who had a much different body type.
“The other actress was a sort of ‘Hollywood overweight person,’ struggling with losing, maybe, 20 pounds” Salke said.
But Salke said that she and everyone at 20th Century Fox was struck by the “authenticity” that Chrissy Metz could bring to the role, and they wanted to put on screen an honest portrayal of a woman struggling with her weight. Ultimately, then, they decided to go with Metz. It was not revealed in this Hollywood Reporter article who the other actress was, but she was not someone well known.
Metz also wasn’t well known at the time that she was cast as Kate; she only had a few acting credits and would only be recognized by most from her appearance as one of the sideshow performers on American Horror Story: Freak Show. Metz told The Hollywood Reporter this week that when she auditioned for This Is Us, she only had 81 cents in her bank account and was living off of noodles from the dollar store. But then she came across the role of a lifetime with Kate.
“Here was this woman who was actually dealing with weight,” Metz told The Hollywood Reporter. “Not like, ‘Oh my God, I gained a pound.’ She was a real woman who was really struggling, and all I could think was, ‘Oh my God, I’m Kate.'”
Less than two years after she was cast, Chrissy Metz is nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the Emmys on Sunday. She has a pretty solid chance of winning the award, too, though Metz is going up against Ann Dowd, Samira Wiley, Uzo Aduba, Millie Bobby Brown, and Thandie Newton.
This Is Us returns for its second season on September 26.