On Sunday’s special post-Super Bowl episode of This is Us, the much-awaited answer to the mysterious death of Jack was finally revealed.
Jack Pearson didn’t die in the house fire but passed away at the hospital. When he safely got his family out of their burning house, he went back to save their dog and some valuable items. The amount of time he spent breathing in the smoke from the fire caused him a fatal heart attack hours later, as he sat in the hospital after being treated for burns.
Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Jack in the show, explained why it was important for him to be there for that critical moment, saying it was the most challenging scene to film on the show.
“I know how I am in regards to moments of experience, especially in moments of experience between Jack and Rebecca, and I wanted to… not throw a curveball for Mandy, but I wanted to be there,” Ventimiglia told ET on Monday. “It’s one thing to have to act alone, it’s another thing to take the history that she and I have worked on for two years and be a still, lifeless body there in front of her.”
“I was ultimately hearing her break and fall into a million pieces. That might have been the hardest thing to film, because I had to lay still, but because I was listening to my friend crumbling,” he added.
During the This is Us after-show, Manגy Moore, who portrays Jack’s wife Rebecca, said that she wasn’t aware Ventimiglia would be there for the heartbreaking scene in the hospital room, and Rebecca’s reaction to seeing his dead body was real.
The camera only showed Moore and his blurry body but Ventimiglia said that he was focused on making the scene work for Rebecca despite the difficulty in acting as a dead body.
“You know that you can’t move, you can’t make a peep, you just have to be there for your scene partner and pretty much all I was focused on was I need to be here for Mandy. That’s pretty much what our routine is in general. We’re always there for one another. We kind of made a pact like that since the very beginning, like let’s make this couple real.”
According to the 40-year-old actor, there was no extra footage from Jack’s death since creator Dan Folgelman didמ’t want the audience to see Jack’s struggles in his final moment.
“We were never going to see the moment from Jack’s point of view or the room of Jack actually dying. You weren’t going to see that,” he explained. “I think that was a very kind thing, not only to the audience, but also to Rebecca. I want to believe that Jack knew something was not quite right and he might have asked his wife to step out of the room so that she didn’t have to suffer through that. But it was edited and ran as it was originally conceived.”
Another difficult scene to shoot for the love team was their final scene together in the hospital room, when Jack asked Rebecca to get him a snack and then teased her for blocking the television, his last words to his wife.
“Mandy and I, over the course of filming the show, have grown to appreciate the time that we get together. But knowing that was the last time for Jack and Rebecca was especially painful. We had to keep an eye on ourselves that we weren’t playing too much into it because the truth is, Jack and Rebecca made itout of the fire and, to all their knowledge, the hard part was done,” he told the reporters on the call. “We didn’t want to put too much into the body language or the way they responded to one another. It was just Jack and Rebecca sitting there, as they have in the past, reflecting on what that hospital means to them or getting beyond the event that they pretty much walked away from. We were doing our best to be Jack and Rebecca in that moment dealing with any given thing.”
For the viewers who are missing Jack already, Ventimiglia assured the fans that the series will still show Jack alive in happier times with his family.
“We’ve gotten to know [Jack] and embrace him in a way that even though we’ve seen his end, I don’t think that impacts the storytelling of his life,” he shared. “I think there’s still a lot of story to mine and I’m looking forward to all of it… For me, it’s always Jack and Rebecca.”