Michael Angarano on ‘This Is Us’ and How the Role Has Been a “Huge Challenge”


“The scenes… were so specific and intense that it allowed for my personal experience to be really grounded and a real inside out approach” – Michael Angarano

While portraying the younger version of Nicky Pearson on This Is Us, actor Michael Angarano is virtually unrecognizable with period-appropriate long hair, glasses, and a beard. The performance has earned him an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.

In an interview with Gold Derby about the character, Angarano expresses appreciation for having the chance to play a completely transformative role:

I really looked at it as a huge challenge. It really was unlike a lot of roles that I’ve been able to play before. Not that I haven’t been able to play complicated characters, but this character was both really specific and ambiguous. I think any actor would’ve had a very different take on it but the script called for something very specific. There was no ambiguity in Nicky’s voice or the fact that he was very different from Jack. Jack is very earnest and present and direct and Nicky is a little bit more cerebral and over-analytical and emotional. That was very specific and that was very clear, but yeah, I don’t get recognized for This Is Us.

Beforehand, when I got the part and when people knew I was gonna play Jack’s brother, people who had watched the show came up to me and said, ‘You’re gonna get recognized like crazy, like you never got recognized before.’ That happened once. People don’t recognize me from the show, which I take as a huge compliment. I think that’s a great gift.

I also attest that to the script and yes, I had to look physically different, but that’s the fun. That’s the mask that you get to put on on a huge show like that. It always allowed me to go into it in a very grounded way because the two or three hours that I had to go through hair and makeup and wardrobe and then the scenes that we were doing, Milo [Ventimiglia] and I, were so specific and intense that it allowed for my personal experience to be really grounded and a real inside out approach, which really helped me, which I really, really was grateful for.

More: Michael Angarano on Ceremony and How Rehearsing Was Like a Theater Workshop

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