‘This Is Us’: Rebecca’s Thanksgiving Speech Made Mandy Moore ‘Super Nervous’
Thanksgiving has always been special on This Is Us. The Pearson family tradition goes back to when Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) was still alive. The last Thanksgiving on This Is Us, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) took the opportunity to have a serious talk with her kids. Rebecca was frank about her plans for end of life care, which The Big Three also needed to hear.
Moore was on a Television Critics Association Zoom panel on Feb. 11 for This Is Us’s final season. Moore and creator Dan Fogelman discussed Rebecca’s speech and also what it meant for Moore and the story. This Is Us returns Feb. 22 at 9 p.m. on NBC.
On ‘This Is Us,’ Rebecca got one of her most challenging scenes this year
Rebecca sits Randall (Sterling K. Brown), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Kevin (Justin Hartley) down after Thanksgiving dinner. Miguel (Jon Huertas) is also there. Rebecca is prepared, but Moore felt the weight of the scene.
“I was super nervous because it was a huge, like, four pages of a monologue and it was right before Thanksgiving break,” Moore said. “I’m like, I’ve just got to get through this and get to the holiday. But, you know, I get to look in the eyes of these extraordinary people and Justin and Chrissy and Jon and Sterling. And I, like, get the honor and privilege of saying these words and I have this relationship with everyone. We’re truly a family. And so, in that sense, it’s like there’s such an ease to it of just being able to look at each of them and tell them the truth of what these words really are.”
All the writers on ‘This Is Us’ gave Rebecca the right words
Fogelman said writing Rebecca’s Thanksgiving speech was a This Is Us team effort. Fogelman even felt guilty being the only spokesperson for the writers, because the entire staff worked on it.
“That particular script I worked on with our whole group of writers and a young writer, Laura Kenar, who was a writer’s assistant on the show in Season 1 and has now become one of our writers on the staff,” Fogelman said. “But we talked about that scene at length. It is very much the setup for the back half of the season. It was one of those scenes that we knew was going to take seven minutes of our 42 minutes and 30 seconds of screen time we’re allotted every week and felt worthwhile.”
Dan Fogelman’s mom inspired the speech
Fogelman said his own mother died. He did not have the time the Pearsons have to prepare for Rebecca’s death, but he thought about what they would have talked about if they had.
“I lost her quickly and unexpectedly, but I sometimes try and get inside of what if it had been a long, protracted illness that she was at the beginning of?” Fogelman said. “What might have been the thing in a fictional universe she might have wanted to say to me? And I think that’s where we drove from a little bit.”