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There are a lot of things to love about This Is Us, but let’s be honest: almost everyone fell in love, first and foremost, with the family’s patriarch, Jack Pearson, throughout the first two seasons. That’s why we all cared so much about how he died; why we were devastated when he and Rebecca started having marital problems; and why we all watched that initial trailer for the show, in which actor Milo Ventimiglia’s naked butt was on full display.

So it’s really, really nice to hear that Ventimiglia isn’t just a great actor with a good bum, but he’s also one of the nicest guys on the planet. And okay sure, we kind of knew that already, but it’s even nicer that two of his on-screen kids, Niles Fitch and Logan Shroyer, think so too.

We caught up with the actors, who play 17-year-old Randall and Kevin Pearson, respectively, on Thursday. They revealed that on-set, everyone has started calling Ventimiglia a pretty sweet nickname.

“People call him Papa Pearson on the show,” said Shroyer. “He’s great. He’s also kind of like our dad on set. We get really close doing scenes, especially the emotional scenes. Going through Jack’s death on the show is really something that brought us all together in those final scenes with him. It’s easy to bond over that kind of stuff. He’s just always there and he’s a really great guy so he’s always been a role model for us.”

The kids don’t remember exactly who came up with the nickname — they think it could have been Ventimiglia’s counterpart and onscreen wife Mandy Moore — but either way, Fitch says, the shoe fits.

“It sounds corny, but Mr. Milo is exactly like his character so it goes,” he said.

Both teens agreed there are no finer onscreen parents to learn from, given Ventimiglia and Moore’s collective experience. They also said the duo are extremely gracious with their time and ability to make everyone on set feel comfortable, noting that their fictional parents team up once in a while to treat the crew with food or coffee trucks when they’ve had long shoots. That kind of behaviour is something these young actors are taking to the bank for whatever future projects come their way.

 

“It’s not that they’ve taught us something [tangible], but being around them we’ve learned a lot,” Fitch elaborated. “Not only when it comes to acting but when it comes to how we deal with other people, how they deal with the crew. They’ll get food trucks for the crew and everybody, no matter what time it is, even if we have a night shoot they do that. It’s really just… we’ve learned how to be more professional and genuine. Like, Mr. Milo knows everybody’s name on set. Everybody.”

The guys aren’t the only ones who feel that way about Ventimiglia and Moore. Hannah Zeile, who plays 17-year-old Kate Pearson on the series, has had a similar experience with her faux parents.

“It’s been a huge blessing. Not only are they super talented and just humble professionals but they’re also just genuinely good human beings and really awesome people,” she raved when we spoke with her.

“They’ve been really good role models and a lot of fun. I’ve had a really good time working with them and I feel like I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot as an actor.”

Sounds like they really are a second family, huh? Like we’d expect anything less from our favourite family drama.

This Is Us returns for a third season to CTV this fall.