How each This Is Us star was cast

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In the conception and casting stages, Miguel was the least fleshed-out character — his original name was actually Mike — making the role an amorphous challenge for Fogelman to cast. “I knew that I wanted him to be Jack’s buddy, and that he would wind up with Rebecca, and that would provide for the audience a jolt at the end of the second episode,” recalls the creator. “I don’t think I’d fully thought through how big a part that would eventually become and how much that was going to demand. By the time we were [casting], I was going, ‘Oh, s—, this is another big character, potentially. We need somebody who can do this, but there’s not a lot on the page right now.'”

After Fogelman met Huertas in the audition, the blanks began to fill in. “I remember thinking how charming he was and that he had a wildly different, but also somewhat similar energy as Milo and Jack,” Fogelman says. “And I was like, ‘Oh, this is just interesting.’ I remember that gut instinct because there wasn’t that much to read at the time. Just feeling good about him.” The creator’s next concern was figuring out the best way to present that Rebecca-is-married-to-Miguel-not-Jack! shocker in the present day. “Jon’s origin story on the show was one of getting him to walk through that door and be instantly recognizable,” says the creator. “We had spent so much time getting Mandy’s age makeup correct, but we hadn’t had as much time with Jon because he was cast later. I think we reshot his entrance into the doorway four times, just to go, ‘What are we I don’t want people to think that Milo has been put through weird age makeup when they’re calling him grandpa.’ Then I was working on having Randall call him ‘Miguel.’ It all worked out in the end, but we put the poor guy through his paces right after joining the show.”

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