NEW YORK (KMOX) – St. Louis-native Sterling K. Brown is riding high these days. He recently won an Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of Randall Pearson in the NBC breakout hit TV series “This Is Us.”
During the awards show, Brown wasn’t able to give his entire acceptance speech, with the music playing him off. Backstage, however, a reporter asked Brown if he wanted to finish it, and he did, thanking the writers, producers and directors, his manager and his wife: “They cut me off before I got to thank my wife. Ryan Michelle Bathe. You are everything. You make my life worth living and you gave me two of the most beautiful things God has ever put on this planet, my sons.”
I asked him if anyone ribbed him about not thanking his wife first. Brown told me, “No. Actually no one has. My wife didn’t even get on me. She understands.”
With the “This Is Us” season premiere tonight (Sept. 26), I asked, how many tissue boxes am I going to need? “It continues to be an emotional show, so be ready,” Brown said. “We realize we have taken our fans on an emotional journey, and we are grateful they are with us.”
What is in store for his character? “Adoption will be a central issue. Randall wants to adopt, but Beth (his wife, played by Susan Kelechi Watson) isn’t on board.”
It’s one thing to have a hit series on your hands, but another to realize when you knew it was such a hit with fans.
“That’s an interesting question,” Brown admitted. “I would say when a cousin called me to say that she could see herself in each character. She said she could see herself in Kate and her struggles, in the dynamic between Randall and his brother Kevin, even in the relationship between parents Rebecca and Jack.” He continued, “The family dynamics are what make the show so real to people and what they are connecting with. And my family never calls me about any of my roles, so when this cousin called me, I knew we had something special.”
Among the many scenes that captured viewers hearts was one in which Beth Pearson is smoking marijuana with Brown’s biological father, William, played by Ron Cephas Jones, who is dying of cancer.
“When Susan laughs … she just has one of the best laughs I’ve ever heard,” Brown said.
He’ll take his Emmy-winning portrayal of real-life character prosecutor Christopher Darden in FX’s award-winning TV series, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” and do it again.
Among his four upcoming movies, Sterling K. Brown is in “Marshall,” about the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. The movie takes us through one of the first cases of Marshall’s early career in 1941 in Greenwich, Connecticut. It’s scheduled to be released October 13.
“My character, Joseph Spell, a black chauffeur, is accused of rape and attempted murder, and Marshall defends him in court,” Brown said. “He is a flawed character. He was dishonorably discharged from the Army. He left his wife and was living with another woman. He is innocent in the case, but after sometime, admits that he did have an inappropriate sexual relationship with Eleanor Strubing, a socialite and his employer’s wife. Of course at the time, miscegenation, sex with someone of a different race, was against the law. This story has some relevance today in the Black Lives Matter movement, the Stockley verdict and the reaction there in St. Louis and how the justice system treats African-Americans, as well as inequality.”
Brown has three other movies coming up: Marvel’s “Black Panther,” releasing in February 2018; Fox’s “The Predator,” releasing in August 2018; and “Hotel Artemis,” alongside Jodie Foster. In 2016, Brown co-starred alongside Tina Fey in Paramount’s “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.”
Success breeds interesting opportunities. One example for Brown is being featured in an article in “Architectural Digest” about his conversion of a garage in his Los Angeles home into a sophisticated man cave and office sanctuary.
“This Is Us” premieres tonight at 9/8c on NBC.