Mandy Moore on ‘This Is Us,’ the mom of a family that impacts our lives

 “This Is Us” is a life-affirming dramedy which reveals how the tiniest events in our lives impact who we become.

 The acclaimed series returns to the NBC lineup Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 9 p.m., and teases viewers with the promotional line– “If you think you know what’s coming next…you don’t know us.” That says a lot about what is coming on This Is Us. The heartfelt family series is broadcast TV’s highest rated drama thanks to its storytelling. It embraces the idea that “Everyone has a family. And every family has a story.”

 Now in its fourth season, This Is Us remains at the top of its game as it follows the Pearson family saga with compelling tales. Jumping back and forth across the decades, it chronicles the lives of Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as young parents in the 1980s, to their 37-year-old kids, Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) searching for love and fulfillment in the present day.

 The stars appeared at the Television Critics Association’s winter 2020 TCA press tour and were excited to talk about the show. In the spotlight during an interview panel at the posh Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, California, were Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan, plus creator, executive producer Dan Fogelman.

 Fogelman noted This Is Us has a knack for showing how the connections we share with each other can transcend time, distance and even death. And no character has exemplified that as much as Rebecca, the matriarch of the Pearson clan, played by Mandy Moore.

Mandy Moore in ‘This Is Us’ (photos Ron Batzdorff/NBC )

 As the mom, Mandy is at the heart of the tales. She gets to time travel as her memories take her back and forth from her dating days, falling in love, being a young mother, wanting more in her life than wrangling teenagers, losing her husband, finding her place in her grown children’s lives, becoming a grandmother, and age-related memory lapses.

Moore, 35, is amazing playing her younger self in her teens, and her much older self, graying with memory lapses, with equal artistry.

 “It’s thrilling, unnerving, and everything in between,” Moore told this reporter at TCA about her traversing through time in the nonlinear storytelling. “It makes me feel like the luckiest person in the world. Portraying this matriarch is the job of a lifetime. Four seasons in, we have all found our footing when we’re working together. When I slip on that wig and those prosthetics and sit through the (aging) process, it’s how I know my relationships with Sterling, Justin, Chrissy. It’s so comfortable and familiar at this point.”

 Because the older Rebecca is now shown to be suffering through memory maladies, Moore has done research on the subject and said, “I wanted to approached what Rebecca is going through at this stage in her life with care and consideration. I can’t imagine being in that position. I don’t want to speak too much about it because I want people to watch the season unfold with this journey that she’s on with her family. But I think it’s something we all talk about a great deal. And I think in typical ‘This Is Us’ fashion, we’re able to deal with issues in a very graceful manner.”

 What does she love about playing her younger self grooving in the ’80s? Moore revealed, “It’s so much fun to go through hair, makeup, and wardrobe and watch the character come to life in different times. I’m lucky enough to get to work with everyone across the board, all the actors at different ages, especially the talented cast of younger actors. That’s my favorite part of the job.”

 Exec-producer Dan Fogelman, the show’s brilliant storyteller, noted, “This show has always been about time, memory and nostalgia, and the way you look back and forward at your family. And so, where we’re treading with Mandy’s character, Rebecca, there are elements of that. I’m really proud of what we’ve done this season and what we’ve got coming the rest of the season. I think it’s really extraordinary work.”

 This Is Us has returned to NBC on Tuesday nights at 9 pm. Tune in.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.