This Is Us was arguably the biggest breakout show of last fall and undoubtedly the biggest tear-jerker, so much so that fans even dubbed its air day “Tissue Tuesday.” Ahead of the show’s return in September — which, by the way, fans are very excited about — Susan Kelechi Watson (Beth Pearson, Randall’s wife) sat down with EW’s editor in chief Henry Goldblatt on Friday to dish on some of her favorite moments and inside secrets from the set.
Here are six things we learned from their conversation:
1. The scene that made Watson cry the most was when Randall (Sterling K. Brown) suffers a breakdown and Kevin (Justin Hartley) leaves his play to be with him.
“I’m not the biggest crier on the show; I would say that goes to Chrissy [Metz], Mandy [Moore] and Sterling [K. Brown],” she says. “But for me, definitely the scene where Randall experiences his breakdown and Kevin leaves his play to run and go to Randall, and they both end up on the floor cuddling with each other and he consoles him. They got me on that.”
Though she wasn’t on set that day, she ended up watching it in a screening room on the Paramount lot. “Nobody warned me,” says Watson. “So I’m in a screening room and the scene comes on and I’m like, ‘Damn, damn, damn.’”
2. She realized the show was going to be a big success as early as the second episode.
“Our only hope was that people liked it as much as we do,” says Watson. “They watched the first [episode] and I remember thinking, ‘Oh, good. If they liked the first one, the second is better!’ So when the second one came and moved up in the ratings, I knew that at least we’d be around for a while.”
3. Her favorite scene to film was when she and William (Ron Cephas Jones) get high together in the basement.
“I don’t even know how we knew how to get high, but we faked it,” says the actress. “And we had a good time! Ron is such a great person. I don’t know if people know, but Ron is a huge theater guy in New York. He’s just phenomenal and this is his first major television series and he brings so much experience with him. When you jump into a scene with Ron, you’re in it. He’s this old-school Harlem, New York [guy], and I love that because I’m such a New Yorker. We just have a great time.”
4. Her most memorable fan interaction happened in a Victoria’s Secret.
“I wanted workout clothes and other little stuff and a woman came up to me with her boyfriend,” she says. “I had just walked away from the panties table…I’ll never forget it because I was like, ‘I gotta start doing this online!’”
5. The weirdest prop on set is the show’s People’s Choice Award trophy.
“Sully [Toby actor Chris Sullivan] had it and he brought it to set,” shares Watson. “I was like, ‘You should hide it somewhere on set,’ and he took me seriously. He went on set and started hiding it throughout the scenes. I think it was the funeral scene too. If you look closely, you’ll see the People’s Choice Award moving around.”
6. Her favorite thing about her on-screen husband Brown is his work ethic.
“It’s hard to think of one thing because he’s a good guy; he’s my biggest fan on the set and I’m his,” she says. “One of my favorite things, though, is he’s always prepared — and he’s a busy dude! He has kids, he has family, and he just won an Emmy and has all these things going on for him, but his joy is really doing the work and I just dig that about him, his work ethic.”