“This is Us” has gained a reputation as a certified tearjerker, and Tuesday night’s Season 2 finale will be no exception — only this time, expect to cry sobs of joy.
So says Hannah Zeile, the 20-year-old actress whose star is quickly rising thanks to her pitch-perfect performance as teen-aged Kate Pearson on the NBC family drama.
“There’s not much I can say, but I can say that I think it’s going to be uplifting and the tears are probably going to be happy tears more than heartbreak,” Zeile told the Daily News. “The concepts that the writers and (creator) Dan Fogelman come up with are just so genius… I’m so excited for everyone to see the finale.”
Zeile’s dedication to keeping her lips sealed is no joke — the show’s precious plot points are shrouded in such secrecy, the actors barely know what’s in store for their characters.
When the show finally revealed in a heart wrenching post-Super Bowl episode the long-kept secret as to how beloved patriarch Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) died, the scripts were printed on red paper to prevent photocopy leaks and hand-delivered to the actors’ homes.
“It’s pretty hilarious honestly because every time I would be interviewed, the first question always would be, ‘How did Jack die?’ And I would just be so silent because I felt like if I made a joke like, ‘A polar bear attack!’ it was going to be taken somewhere,” Zeile said. “It was definitely difficult (to keep secret), but this is Dan Fogelman’s baby… we only got the information that we needed necessary to perform.”
Though the details of Tuesday night’s finale under strict lock-and-key, fans know that the hour will focus on grown-up Kate’s wedding to her fiancé Toby.
Still, Kate’s walk down the aisle isn’t what has fans’ tongues wagging. No, that would be a surprise appearance by an aging Jack, beard and full head of hair still intact, if a little more salt and peppered.
The late Jack’s appearance at his daughter’s wedding has sparked numerous conspiracy theories from fans — and while Zeile can’t confirm or deny any of them (it’s a hallucination! He never really died!), she does admit it was “super weird” seeing her TV dad on the older side.
“We didn’t know what was going on with it. I just saw him (testing it) and thought, something’s coming, something’s coming,” she said. “We actually took some selfies with (Ventimiglia) and his newly old self.”
As for Season 3, Zeile says the writers are already hard at work brainstorming new ideas to get viewers emptying their tear ducts and keeping Kleenex in business — especially now that the elephant in the room (or, how Jack dies) has finally been addressed.
“I think what’s so cool about this show is that the adults were introduced at their 36th birthday, so there’s a whole time gap between when we come, when we’re supposed to be about 15-17, to 36 years old,” she said. “I think as much as the importance is on Jack’s death, (future storylines) are also going to be about them coping as a family… I think there’s a lot of interesting things that they have cooking up.”
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