This Is Us Star Was About To Give Up Acting Just Before She Landed Her Role

Photo: Ron Batzdorff/NBC.
The relationship between Beth and Randall on This Is Us feels so natural and real, it's one of those castings that seems completely inevitable — like no one but Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson could have taken those roles. But though Brown was fresh off of working on American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson, Watson was about to give up on acting before she landed this part.
"A month before I booked This Is Us, I was like, 'Maybe I should move to Montreal and work in a coffee shop,' " Watson told MTV News. "I had friends who were praying for me. I was leaning on a support system to believe for me when I was finding it difficult to still believe the dream for myself."
Watson had been working steadily in TV before playing the incredibly understanding (but not saintly) wife of high-strung Randall Pearson. Her biggest role up until then had been as Louis C.K.'s ex-wife on Louie.
Fortunately for all of us (and Us), she regained her confidence. "All of the sudden I just believed again, like, I didn't come this far for it not to happen. I'm going to enjoy this again,' " she told MTV.
She also had one advantage under her belt for her first reading with Brown: Both actors had MFAs from NYU, so right away they had "a similar vocabulary in terms of how we work together," she said.
Though Watson didn't share any big news about the show's upcoming plot points, she did say that this season will show more of Beth's back story as she and Randall decide whether to adopt a third child. When crafting her character this season, she said the writers have welcomed her season.
"They'll come in and check with me about certain things about my culture because Beth is Jamaican and I'm Jamaican-American," she said. "They ask questions. They're a curious group."
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