39-year-old Justin Hartley has graced our TV screens in a number of iconic roles over the years. From Adam Newman on CBS’ The Young And The Restless to Scott Trosman in Mistresses, Patrick Osbourne in ABC’s Revenge and Oliver Queen / Green Arrow in The CW’s Smallville. Well now, the talented blonde actor has turned his hand to probably his most iconic role yet.
The Illinois-born artist has captured everyone’s heart as Kevin in NBC’s new prime time show, This Is Us. The provocative ensemble drama, which also stars Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown, was nominated for three Golden Globe awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Critics Choice Television Award.
Despite being one of the lead actors in this standout drama, even Hartley had no idea how triumphant this series would become. “You know, here’s what I knew […] I knew once I read it that it was really, really good and special. I knew when I saw the pilot that it was like nothing I’d seen before, it really jumped off the page and became something spectacular.”
“But you never know what that means, you never know if it’s going to end up a sleeper, I don’t know what makes people watch things or not. But I just thought if we can get people to watch this they’re going to be blown away. You never know how big the shows going to be but I did know how good it was.”
Kevin Pearson, the handsome and successful television actor bored with his bachelor lifestyle, was a huge reason that Hartley took on this role. “When I first read the script I thought this is one of the best stories I’ve ever seen, the best episode of television I’ve ever read in my life. Then on top of that the character was just so great, he’s funny he’s self aware, he’s in on the jokes, he’s also loveable and he’s just sort of in a stumbling place in his life.”
Hartley also admitted to relishing the fact that his character is in actor. “I don’t know I just fell in love with him, I thought this guy is so cool, it would be a dream to play this role. I’ve never played an actor before, as far as I can remember so that’s a new challenge that’s kind of fun. In my opinion it allows me to do certain things, be a little broader where I normally wouldn’t have, just because you can say ‘well he’s so dramatic he’s an actor.’ It allows for a little more fun to be honest with you.
Hartley is no stranger to TV dramas and thanks to his numerous roles on television the Knoxville-born actor has learnt a thing or two about the industry. “TV shows are so collaborative, you have all these diverse opinions and it’s frustrating sometimes, you’re positive that it should be done this way and someone else is positive it should be done another way.”
“What I’ve learned in my very old age is you only know what you think you know. So you could sit there and think this is definitely the way it’s supposed to be but you only know that because that’s what you think you know. You don’t really know!”
And of course, Hartley couldn’t go through the interview without gushing over his incredible cast mates and team at NBC. “There are so many brilliant and smart people around me that are all vying for the same thing, to make this show as brilliant as it can possibly be so I just sort of try and listen to as many people as possible. There are definitely frustrating parts of every job, it’s still work, it’s fun and all that kind of stuff, but it’s like any other job sometimes. I absolutely love what I do though and I’m very passionate about it, I have no complaints!”
Photography Aleksandar Tomovic
Styling Karen Raphael
Words by Michelle Ganney