SPOIL ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched "Our Little Island Girl", the 13th episode of season 3 of "This Is Us".
It was not until the middle of the third season of the NBC family drama "This Is Us" to explore the story of Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson). It turned out that she had also lost her father as a teenager.
In "Our Little Girl From the Island", Beth and her cousin Zoe (Melanie Liburd) visited Carol (Phylicia Rashad), Beth's mother, after getting hurt at the hip. Back in her childhood home, Beth remembers her youthful love for dance, her rigorous training to be considered a soloist at school (as well as a professional job in a company at the end of her studies) and how his father (Carl Lumbly) worked overtime to pay for everything. Her father ended up with lung cancer and died around the time her future husband, Randall (Sterling K. Brown), lost his own father, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia).
"It was a scenario where I really had to go further," says Watson Variety.
Watson talks here about the dance training she's engaged in for the end of a sequence of episodes in which Beth recovers her childhood passion with Rashad, what she learned about Beth watching Rachel Naomi Hilson play the teen version of the character and movie. difference in the way Beth cried the loss of his father from Randall's.
"This Is Us" spent nearly three seasons on the sorrow of Pearson's children after Jack's passing, but it turns out that Beth suffers just as much in her past. To what extent do you feel that her grief has defined the decisions she's taken off screen as we've seen grief set the Pearsons?
I think the pain of this family was very different and Beth had to come together and keep moving forward. … Beth's mother explained how her family had to deal with this and you understand why Beth had to cry very differently from the Big Three, who mourned very openly and sat down for a while. And also, you have seen with Beth fear that it is because of her that he works too hard. So there was a part of her that took care of that. … His mother encouraged him to keep moving forward, so was his attitude. You see when Beth is talking to her father's empty chair, she still has this pain: "I have never been the same because you were not there. "And now, it's a part of her who wants to recover the dreamer that she was when her father was alive." Comparatively, I think their grief processes were just very different … that was so gave Beth a different perspective on how she should progress in her life.
Did you feel that the scene where Beth was speaking on the empty chair was finally going to end?
I think Beth had her closing with her father to the extent that we can have a closure with a death like that. It will always be an open wound, but I do not think it was a recent mourning. It was the reminder, especially because of everything that she had lived through and now trying to be happy, that it was a person of her life who would never have let forget, but because he was not there, she forgot.
How does watching the youngest actresses who interpret Beth embody an influence on your character from the character you've been playing for three years?
Rachel, who plays teenage Beth, there was a kind of calm but a presence … sweet but there was a strength, what she was doing. She was not saying anything – there's a scene where she's sitting on the bed with Phylicia and "You're going to be in college in a year, so look at this book rather than dance," and that's as well as she looked down. book and then save to Phylicia. It was small, but it has taught me so much. I thought, "Oh wow, it's a beautiful thing. Beth may not be very lively at times, but so much is going on inside her and sometimes it's in those calm statements. I thought she had done such a good performance.
Much of the relationship between Carol and Beth was portrayed in Rachel's scenes. What did you do with Phylicia to create the adult version of mother and daughter?
With Phylicia, it was really about letting go. It was almost as if I had to give up to go further – to dig out what was really vulnerable to this character, which she did not really say, but what holds her dear and dear to her heart. And I had to tell the person with whom she found the most difficult to communicate, which was difficult because Beth is proud of the fact that she is a communicator and that she does not like to keep the secrets, but we discover that it is difficult for us. she's talking to her mother. Her mother is a different breed – a different generation – and the challenge was to find that part of her. … To be honest, it took me a minute because I had to adapt to the fact that I was playing with it and that my actor's brain was running and that it was like, " Whoa, let me understand. "Do your best. But I even had to give up on that. Once she's in the scene, she's now my friend … and we have to be those characters to the best of our abilities, so we have to leave the others behind. Once we ran a few times, I got to this place from "Now, it's just Beth and Mom".
Is there anything that she did during the confrontation in the dining room that greatly changed what you wanted to do or go out of the scene?
Personally, I do not lock a performance because I leave room for things to happen, I simply assure that I am very intimate with what I say and why I say it, so that no matter what happens, we can do what we want and leave space to play. So, I was not necessarily thrown by anything. … you do the work and then you let it go, it's a little practice. You know everything is there, but then you give up because you never know the variables of the moment that can be so great. My variable was what Phylicia was going to bring. I know that what she will bring is drugs … but I do not know the specificity.
What did it take to nail the dance sequence at the end of the episode?
I trained for two months. We had a complete choreography, so it was … to remind my body of the ballet. I trained in dance for most of my life, but ballet was the thing I left behind as soon as possible, as they felt like I did not have the right body, and I did not like that, nor ever the power. to be part of this dance structure. I learned that I did not like dancing with this kind of structure, so I bet on other dance styles. So it was back to the discipline of ballet and find real beauty. I trained with Nia Brantly and found she was so beautiful in her training. It's as if I felt like I was a dancer – and it was the first time I felt like that.
How did you understand why Beth would stop dancing, even though she loved him so much and that she had already gone through so many obstacles?
She was a teenager when her mother told her that she could not do that, so you listen. I do not know that you can say anything about it. you just have to do it; it was his time to obey his parents. And then the university is a chance for her to meet up and find Beth at Bethany and find her way and who she is.
But in college, she was free to do what she wanted and she still had not chosen to go back to dancing.
At this point, I think the dance was wrapped up in the fact that she had not succeeded as a senior dancer, her father died working hard for her to have this career. She had a lot of love for that, but I just think that she found something else to love.
What does the future hold for Beth after this experience with her mother?
She will really make her dreams a priority, and I think it will be huge change.
"This Is Us" airs Tuesday at 21h. on NBC.