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Yes, as we learned in Tuesday’s This Is Us, Jack’s signature means of calming down his anxious son came courtesy of a Vietnam War buddy. But, as series creator Dan Fogelman tells TVLine, the move actually originated with series star Milo Ventimiglia himself.
“It was something Milo, I believe, just started doing to the kids, and I was like, ‘Oh, that moves me,'” Fogelman says. “And then we started writing that in.”
Week - Hour - NBC - Drama - Jack
This week’s hour of the NBC drama showed us Jack’s time serving in the military, including a firefight that ended with one of his soldiers, named Robinson, losing a foot. Before Robinson was airlifted to a hospital, he noted that Jack was always pretending not to be scared, and that Robinson’s mother had a strategy for helping her kids settle down in moments of panic. “She’d tell us to breathe. It’s a funny thing that we forget sometimes. We’re so scared that we’re going to die, we forget to do the thing that keeps us alive.” Then he put his palms on either side of Jack’s face — the way we’ve seen Jack do with his kids in other episodes, as well as how Randall steadied William as the old man died — and told him to breathe.
“It’s basically an origin story of a behavior that locked onto him,” Fogelman says. “It’s something I think we all do in life… a moment that clicked into your brain that you adopt as a behavior moving forward.”
(Excerpt) Read more at: TVLine
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