Warning: this story contains details of the plot of "Vietnam", the episode on Tuesday We are.
So far, you've mostly known Jack Pearson as a father par excellence and the kind of romantic spouse who encourages wives to push their husbands and make fun of them, "Why can not it be more like he? "(In addition to the fight against alcoholism, of course). The episode on Tuesday of We are He opened a new chapter in the life of the late patriarch that had only been hinted at, and another that felt a little bit, forbidden: the Vietnam War, of which Jack seldom spoke.
"Vietnam" reaffirmed what we had suspected, that Jack did much More in war than simply serving as a mechanic. He also revealed much more about his painful childhood, which included living with an alcoholic father who abused his mother and protected his little brother, Nicky, who, as we know, will die later in the war. Jack's overwhelming concern for his younger brother, inculcated by, ironically, his father, would help to form the Super Jack legend in a way we had not previously known: when Nicky's number got nervous during the lottery, Jack took him to the Canadian border to help him flee to safety; When Nicky (Michael Angarano) changed his mind, introduced himself to the service and revealed in his letters to his house that he was fighting hard, Jack conspired with his doctor to pass the medical exam in order to enlist in a war in which nobody wanted to fight. . There was no other choice in Jack's mind: he just needed to be close to his younger brother.
The spectators saw Jack, like a sergeant, lead a battalion that suffered an ambush in which he lost the men, something that shocked him deeply, but like the other horrors of the war he experienced, he would be affected. After he was reassigned to another outpost, Jack found the opportunity to visit Nicky, who had been demoted to the lowest rank. "Hey, little brother," Jack said, arriving at the scene and watching Nicky throw gasoline into a barrel of excrement. Hearing that familiar voice, Nicky threw a match into the cannon and turned to his brother. A look at Jack's expression, and for that matter, Nicky's, indicated that he had entered unknown and premonitory territory.
Here, to examine that complex of emotions, the protagonist Milo Ventimiglia talks about how he prepared for the danger zone, what he loved about Nicky's introduction and what kind of horrors await the Pearson brothers.
WEEKLY ENTERTAINMENT: You knew that a Vietnam story had been coming since season 1. Was there a mixture of anticipation and nervousness as it approached, since the fans would be watching closely, analyzing their impact and accuracy?
MIL VENTIMIGLIA: My feeling is always exciting to play the other side of Jack that we do not know. Jack in wartime is a great moment in his life that informs who he becomes, so for me to play on the timeline of Jack's creation was exciting. But also, you're right, I knew it was going to be a heavy job, because it was a different version of the program that people had gotten used to. This is not Jack and Rebecca, this is not Jack and his children, this is Jack on his own, as is Jack with his brother who we really do not know much about. So I think the only nerves came from allowing us, the narrators, to play in the world that is the unknown of what the public normally sees every Tuesday night. But I feel that this episode was definitely a configuration that left people wanting more.
How did you prepare for the combat scenes we saw, and those that would come? I know you mentioned that you were exhausted, because I know you did not give up.
I definitely did not give up and I was definitely tired. We had a technical training camp with a company called Sigloch. The guys from Matt Sigloch took us through the basic operating procedure of a soldier and a Vietnam-era soldier. Beyond that, I understood emotionally what was happening at that time in the world, but in particular in the United States: young men in the process of being recruited and really how this draft will drastically change someone's life and put them in a course that Many men could not recover, that was something that was as prepared as learning to operate an M16 rifle, a protocol in the army and battle scenes. For me, a lot of this always comes down to, and thank God, for the words that
He[[We are creator dan]Fogelman writes and the address that [director/executive producer] Kenny Olin gives it to me. There is always an emotional touchstone of which I have to be aware in the technical aspect of playing the war. Because of who Jack is and what he's going through, I can not just submerge him into a "super-militaristic guy with a golden heart"; He is the guy with the conscience. But in this case, the guy with the heart of gold is connected to a rifle.
We've talked before your father is a Vietnam veteran, and you have Tim O'Brien[Vietnamveteranoyautorde[Vietnamveteranandauthorof[Vietnamveteranoyautorde[VietnamveteranandauthorofThe things they brought]As a consultant and co-writer of this episode. How much have you told them about their experiences and how did they help you to face this challenge?
The story we explored with Jack, particularly the region where Jack is, was probably closer to what Tim O & # 39; Brien had experienced in the war than, say, what my father experienced in the war. But I think I combined everything I knew by talking to my father and Tim, as well as what we needed to play Jack in the war. It's not Tim's experience, it's not my father's experience, it's Jack's experience. It was one of those things that he only had to report on how he is with his family. So, getting ready to play on this side of Jack, I felt that I really needed to take away the experiences that I had as Jack and get to the basics, and remember what it was like to be 25 years old and maybe be in charge of a group. of boys, 25 years old and not knowing very well what I'm supposed to do with my life, but take a direction and have a little fear for things. But at the same time, putting me in an awkward position and pushing through it. The circumstance of Jack is war and life and death.
There is a picture of Nicky to open the episode and another more revealing at the end. This seems to be a man who has been changed and broken by this war. Does Jack have any idea how far away he is? Jack seems to shudder slightly when he sees it.
Jack knows his little brother. Jack knows how serious things are, by the letters his mother receives. He can understand that his brother is not doing well in the theater of war, but I do not think it is until that moment that Jack seems to realize what he is facing. We continue that moment in later episodes. Jack signed up for the war to go find his brother, so there is a very real possibility and a death threat, but even more, he has to get his brother out. Now he has a bigger job than just surviving a war. He has to survive the war, with luck for him and his brother. We know how that works; He loses his brother in the war. But I do not think Jack knew how bad it was until he saw it. The spirit of Jack, however, is not easy to fold, it does not break, so I think it was important not to be crushed by seeing someone you love so broken. Jack has to be hope, it has to be light, it has to be the lighthouse at the other end of the turbulent storm to say: "No, no, no, let's get you out of this."
There is also a mixture of emotions in Nicky's face. How should we read it? Is it anger? Pain? Relief? Is there a bit of "Oh, look, Superman has come to save Lois Lane again"?
I think that's all. No matter how much Nicky loves his brother Jack, there has to be resentment for not being able to take care of himself. Even at the moment they are small children and Jack is asleep and Nicky goes down to confront his father in an argument with his mother, and finally, it is Jack who intervenes. I do not know how it is, I never had one. older brother. I had older sisters and two loving parents, so I have to believe that no matter how much Nicky loves his brother, how much he's probably grateful that Jack was always there to defend him and his mother, there must be something of resentment. . There must be some anger. When we see Nicky at the end of the episode, and we see him as broken as he is, there are a lot of emotions associated with that. We continue with that in later episodes and we see all that. We understand Nicky's pain moving forward.
You had worked with Michael in Wildcard, Right? What made you think it would be good to play Jack's brother?
We only shared the screen once, but what I loved about being close to him was that he was an incredible actor at such a young age, and he was so full of life in reference to everything theatrical. He grew up in the theater, he grew up in movies, he grew up around dance and song, I just thought: "Here is this rare breed of actor who really lives as an artist". I was so impressed with him for eight years. Some time ago, when we were working together, he was only 22 years old, and now, seeing how he has matured and grown, and how his art has become deeper and more meaningful. Like mandy [Moore]I have that front row seat with Michael. I can only sit there with him and see the truth in his eyes as he delivers this character and delivers this, I do not even want to call it a performance, only this truth is so real. It breaks my heart every day because they are brothers. They are literally the same DNA, the same blood, cut from the same cloth. Their experiences are so closely linked that I deeply feel what Michael is doing with the camera.
Nicky shares a brotherhood with Jack, but it is also more an external processor. He carries his emotions up his sleeve, he is vulnerable, more or less the opposite of Jack. What did you expect from the character and what surprised you?
I love that. I think that's an amazing direction for the character, for Nicky, to be different from Jack, because the brothers are different. One of my sisters, we are very much the children of our father, and my other sister is the daughter of our mother. People are different, and I think Jack has a bit more Stoic attitude towards things. I love that Nicky is much more vocal with his emotions and his processing. But that is also Jack being the oldest and Nicky the youngest; They are falling into their roles very easily. My older sister was a little calmer, while I was a little more emotionally vocal when I was a girl. So it makes sense.
NEXT PAGE: Ventimiglia on what to expect next, and where does Nicky's letter keep