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One This Is Us Star Kept Forgetting Mandy Moore Wasn't Actually A 70-Year-Old Woman

Griffin Dunne as Nicky Pearson on This Is Us.
(Image credit: NBC)

We’ve seen the This Is Us characters make some pretty big transformations in the makeup chair, as the NBC drama time-jumps across different decades to tell the Pearson family’s stories. Mandy Moore has played matriarch Rebecca Pearson in multiple decades — from meeting and marrying Jack in the 1970s to lying on her deathbed in the 2030s — with the current timeline placing her around 72 years old. The actress, who is just 37 in real life, has so brilliantly engrossed herself in the role of the Big Three’s aging mother that even some of her co-stars forget she’s not actually in her 70s. 

Griffin Dunne, whose Nicky Pearson was a main player in the recent Season 6 episode “One Giant Leap,” often shares scenes with his on-screen sister-in-law, and he spoke recently about the beautiful friendship he’s formed with Mandy Moore over the years. However, Dunne’s Nicky only interacts with Rebecca in the current and future timelines, so he told People he forgets how young Moore actually is. 

I love when we talk and we ask about each other's families. It occurred to me — and I speak to Mandy in a very particular way — it wasn't until recently [when] we had a press event and there I saw Mandy, like, ‘Oh my God, you're like 30 years old!’ All I see her in is in the age makeup and, quite honestly, she reminds me so much of my mother. They were so similar and they look so similar when Mandy is in the age makeup. So then I see Mandy at a red carpet thing, she's this hot young actress in this beautiful dress. And I go, ‘My God, I keep forgetting that's who you really are.’

There is something so sweetly funny about 66-year-old Griffin Dunne being reminded of his mother by 37-year-old Mandy Moore. It's true that the actor wouldn’t have any scenes with Moore without the old-age makeup, because when Nicky is shown in flashbacks from the 1960s and ‘70s, he’s played by Michael Angarano.

Nicky’s existence was one of This Is Us’ classic plot twists, as fans learned in Season 3 that Jack Pearson cut his brother Nicky out of his life after a tragic incident during the Vietnam War. A flashback episode about Nicky and Jack revealed that a child in Vietnam had died when a grenade went off in the boat he and Nicky were in. Jack refused to believe it was an accident, and when he returned home from the war and met Rebecca, he told her Nicky had died in the war. 

The fact that Griffin Dunne forgets how young Mandy Moore actually is — in fact, she’s younger than the actors who play her adult children — is also a testament to Moore’s acting abilities. She really does exude so much wisdom as Rebecca Pearson, and her journey in Season 6, as she suffers the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, is already just as emotionally devastating as the stars warned us This Is Us’ final chapter would be.

As This Is Us continues its final season, creator Dan Fogelman has already started to answer some of the questions fans had going into Season 6, including who Nicky is married to and who was in the white car at Kevin’s house in the 2034 timeline. The final chapter continues at 9 p.m. Tuesday, January 18, on NBC. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what else is coming soon.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.