Season three of This Is Us wrapped up with Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) and Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown) finally making the decision to move to Philadelphia as Randall pursues a career as councilman and Beth pursues her dream of opening a dance studio.
We don’t know what the move means for one of our favorite TV couples, but Brown told ESSENCE that he and his co-stars “may be shooting sometime in Philadelphia this year,” which would be a welcome break from their set in sunny Los Angeles.
“I’ve been a couple of times,” Brown told ESSENCE, before shouting out the men of Philadelphia for their crisp facial hair. “All brothers in Philly have thick, thick ass beards. They keep it clean.”
Brown’s first trip to the city was for M. Night Shyamalan’s Split, which he was later cut from, but “had a wonderful time” filming. For This Is Us, he hopes showrunners will show Randall interacting with the Black community in the city as a councilman.
“I’m excited about the Black Pearson storyline being in that city and Randall being a councilman, being able to service the Black community in a direct way. I think so much of who Randall is [as a person] is how he relates to his own Blackness, and being able to serve the Black community in a very direct way I think is going to be a very powerful experience for him. It’s also going to be interesting for his daughters.”
Along with the recent three-season renewal of NBC’s hit series, Brown has a number of projects in the works such as Frozen 2, Waves, and Rise.
Still, the actor made time to team up with Bristol-Myers Squibb for its new series Survivorship Today: What It’s Like to Live with Cancer, revealing how cancer has affected his family.
“My uncle, my mom’s younger brother, Sonny—-his name is Ira, but I call him Uncle Sonny—he was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 and he died almost six months to the day of his diagnosis,” he said. “My family was devastated by his loss.”
He added, “People are living longer today with cancer than they were when my uncle passed away, so it’s a real blessing that we’re getting the chance to talk about survivorship as an actual thing. Research has made living with cancer possible in ways that it wasn’t in the past, but just because you are a cancer survivor, doesn’t mean that you are out of the weeds, and it doesn’t mean that the story is complete.”
Working on the series has allowed Brown to meet and share the stories of people living with cancer like Jamie Ledezma, who was diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant with her first child; Justin Birckbichler, who was diagnosed with stage II testicular cancer; and Bin McLaurin, a researcher at Cedars-Sinai whose own health scare inspired him to educate others.
Brown says these stories and his own experience have made him more aware of his own health.
“It’s always been sort of in my consciousness that I have a responsibility to my family, to myself, to my community to live the best life possible,” he told ESSENCE. “Black men have the shortest life expectancy. I’m two years younger than what my father was when he passed away and I’ve always said to myself that will not be my fate.”
“I want to try and live life because I know people are watching,” the 43-year-old continued. “I try to eat mostly fruits and vegetables. Lean protein, whole grains, etcetera. I want to be a 100, and I don’t want to be bent over or whatever. I want to still be out there doing the Watusi.”