Why This Is Us' Mandy Moore Was 'Super Nervous' For Rebecca's Emotional Scene With The Big Three

Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson on This Is Us
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 7 of This Is Us Season 6, called “Taboo.”

This Is Us had one more Thanksgiving episode in store for fans before coming to an end, and it involved an incredibly emotional scene with Rebecca sharing some news with her three kids. After about as much drama as could be expected from a Pearson family holiday in the last stretch of episodes ever, Rebecca told Randall, Kevin, and Kate the truth about her plans for the future as her illness gets worse in the show’s timeline. Mandy Moore and creator Dan Fogelman opened up about the scene, and the actress shared why she was “super nervous” about it. 

Although Rebecca sharing her plans for her future wasn’t easy on her children in the present day, it was a conversation that needed to happen, and she had Miguel by her side the whole time. Kevin and Randall clearly had some thoughts about their mom’s reveal that she wants Kate to make decisions for her in the event that Miguel can’t, and the whole scene involved a lot of heavy lifting from Mandy Moore in her performance. The actress and the rest of the This Is Us cast spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets at NBC’s Scripted Press Day about the scene, with Moore saying:

I mean, those kind of scenes, I think we all can speak to. We've all had those moments on the show. Like, it's such a gift to be a part of this show. It's such a gift to go to work every day and tell these stories and get to recite these words. It's never lost on us, and it's especially not lost on me, like, as we sort of start to close out the show. I'm like, OK, I just want to be fully present. I was super nervous because it was a huge, like, four pages of a monologue and it was right before Thanksgiving break. I'm like, I've just got to get through this and get to the holiday. But, you know, I get to look in the eyes of these extraordinary people and Justin and Chrissy and Jon and Sterling. And I, like, get the honor and privilege of saying these words and I have this relationship with everyone. We're truly a family. And so, in that sense, it's like there's such an ease to it of just being able to look at each of them and tell them the truth of what these words really are.

Four pages of script is a lot for any show, particularly one with so many moving pieces and such a large cast like This Is Us. Those four pages also meant several minutes of Mandy Moore speaking with the other actors mostly reacting to her words, so it’s understandable that even such a veteran actress who has spent so many years playing this character could be nervous about it. 

It was also an important scene for the show, as well as emotional for Mandy Moore to perform. This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman spoke about the scene, and how the writers went about crafting it as a "setup" for the rest of the final season. Fogelman said: 

We talked about that scene at length. It is very much the setup for the back half of the season. It was one of those scenes that we knew was going to take 7 minutes of our 42 minutes and 30 seconds of screen time we're allotted every week and felt worthwhile. And, yeah, we worked really hard. I lost my mom, and I didn't I lost her quickly and unexpectedly, but I sometimes try and get inside of what if it had been a long, protracted illness that she was at the beginning of, what might have been the thing in a fictional universe she might have wanted to say to me, and I think that's where we drove from a little bit. Mandy was so special that day…

This scene serving as “setup” for the rest of Season 6 could be a sign that fans are going to see Rebecca start to go downhill rapidly, but that may have been inevitable when the series finale is scheduled for May. Rebecca and Miguel having a detailed plan at least bodes well for the Pearsons handling it as well as possible, and the flash-forwards have dropped some clues about what will happen down the line. And Mandy Moore’s co-stars were full of praise for her as well, with Sterling K. Brown saying about his on-screen mom:

The scene that we were just talking about this year, as a matter of fact and Justin and Jon can attest to this. We were all sitting around the table, watching Mandy do her thing, and my first reaction was to just applaud. I, like, clapped in my seat. Like, not super loud. Not trying to distract my actor. And then I got up and walked around the corner, because we were in the cabin. And I walked into the kitchen and I did what Mandy would do in Season 1. She'd do this thing when she'd get ready and she'd throw her arms down and be like (demonstrating). But I was doing it just out of the joy, just like, ‘This chick is fucking killing it, son.’

Jon Huertas concurred, saying he “will agree with that” and shared that there was “this just really long breath before that that all of us took” during the rehearsal that already had them “all in awe,” and Justin Hartley elaborated to say that he could “go on for hours probably about this entire cast.”

There are still several episodes of This Is Us left before the end, and the plot is still thickening, so Mandy Moore may have many more powerhouse performances as Rebecca Pearson. Find out with new episodes of This Is Us on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC in the 2022 TV schedule, ahead of new episodes of Renée Zellweger’s The Thing About Pam (for which the actress wore a prosthetic body suit) until New Amsterdam returns with some “explosive scenes” on the way in April.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).