Mandy Moore opens up about her life-changing role in 'This Is Us'

By Shinan Govani

One of the breakout faces of the early 2000s, Mandy Moore was a singing-acting shooting star alongside such ingenues as Lindsay Lohan. Remember when she broke our hearts in A Walk to Remember? Then came more films (notably Disney’s Tangled, to which she lent her voice), some TV and multiple albums.

But today her star is shining more brightly than ever thanks to the tear-jerking family drama This Is Us (CTV). Mandy, 32, anchors the time-shifting ratings smash as matriarch Rebecca (with Milo Ventimiglia as TV husband Jack), playing her as both a thirty-something and a woman in her 60s! It’s a lot to keep straight, as she told me when we spoke.

Photo: © Getty Images

What’s next?

"We never know what’s going to happen until we get the scripts – and I’m as curious as anyone else. I had no idea, for example that Kevin [her son, played by Justin Hartley] was married before. The writing is so strong."

ALL THE TIMES THIS IS US HAD US REACHING FOR TISSUES

Working with Milo

"He’s really the greatest. I feel so lucky to have this partnership. We work much the same way – we like to run lines together, take copious notes on the script. He’s a remarkable guy. Every set has what I call the “department head,” and Milo is definitely ours. He shakes every crew’s hands."

Photo: © Getty Images

Parental peanut gallery

"It’s funny how invested [my parents] are! I get texts from them all the time about the show. [Sample text from Mom, as posted on Instagram: “Rebecca has issues, doesn’t she? Hopefully she is made to look better in future episodes ... right now, Jack is the superhero.”]"

Great beginnings

"I went to a really great school in Orlando, which had a music program. Everyone was so invested in a sixth-grade play – we did Oklahoma! and hearing the big song, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin,’” that was it for me. I knew."

Photo: © Instagram

That other Mandy

"The one from La La Land, right? [The celebrated choreographer of the Oscar-nominated film share’s Mandy’s name]. People kept asking me about the movie, and I was like, 'No, no, no.'"

No moves

"I actually have no rhythm. I can sing – but dancing, not so much."

TV’s The Osbournes

"It’s crazy that I was on that [years ago, as a “friend of the family” on the iconic series]. I had almost forgotten! It was the start of that whole reality thing."

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