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Michael Angarano is in a unique position on “This Is Us.” Although his character, Nicky Pearson, is one of the adult characters on the show — and one of the ones who is alive in the multiple time periods the series covers — he does not portray the role at every age. Instead, Griffin Dunne portrays the present-day Nicky, in a move that Angarano feels was “really, really right.”
“I think it benefits the show and the part to have an older actor playing the older version of Nicky. You’re playing a man who’s seen a lot, who’s lived a really hard life, and I think it’s really appropriate to have an actor with the appropriate amount of life experience to play the part,” he tells Variety.
Hearing - Role - Angarano - Call - Series
After hearing of the role, Angarano got on a call with series co-showrunner Isaac Aptaker, he says, who laid out Nicky’s storyline and how it would play out over the third season episodes, as well as the various time periods. But, Angarano says, he assumed he would only play the youngest version of Nicky, when he was drafted into and then served in the Vietnam War.
“I thought it was one extreme or the other,” he says. “The sidenote was there was potential that I would go through a makeup process to see if I could play an older version, but they were going to look for an older actor — and most likely choose the older actor.”
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The show did that with Dunne, an actor with whom Angarano had actually worked before. (“He played my father in a film called ‘Snow Angels,’ which was  years ago,” Angarano points out.) Angarano never ended up going through the full old-age...
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