Joining the Chris Evans Breakfast Show ahead of American Fiction’s release, Brown reflected on his role as Randall in This Is Us. He admitted that he was initially unprepared for the impact the show would have, stating, ‘No. Sincerely. I knew that it was one of the best shows that I’d ever read… but never imagined it would actually catch on like it did.’
Brown touched upon the show’s ability to connect with viewers on a deep level, sharing a touching story of his cousin who found personal resonance in the characters and themes of This Is Us. He explained, ‘She says, “I see myself and Randall, I see myself and Kate, I see myself and Kevin”. She says, “The show is like therapy, and church and entertainment all rolled up into one”… And at that point, I was like, okay, this is impacting people in a way that we would have hoped for.’
The actor also revealed the close bond he shares with co-star Susan Kelechi Watson, who plays his on-screen wife, Beth Pearson. Brown remarked on their friendship, saying, ‘We had a deep friendship beforehand that just grew and grew. And there’s real love between people. I don’t think that’s something you can fake on camera.’
Brown’s latest film American Fiction has earned him an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Clifford “Cliff” Ellison, the estranged brother of the main character. The movie follows the story of a frustrated novelist-professor who writes a satirical book that unexpectedly garners success and praise.
Reflecting on the connection between This Is Us and American Fiction, Brown explained, ‘While [American Fiction] is a satire… the center of the film is the family and the center of This Is Us is the family. So those things are connective tissue.’
Brown also shared the life lessons he has gleaned from playing both Randall and Cliff. He mentioned that Randall’s pursuit of perfection often impedes growth, and that focusing on the process rather than the outcome is crucial. Additionally, he expressed the importance of living authentically, a lesson he learned from Cliff’s character.
Looking ahead, Brown revealed that he will be working with This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman on a new TV show called Paradise City. The series centers around a secret service agent tasked with protecting the president, who must unravel a mysterious incident.
American Fiction hits theaters on February 2nd.
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