Why Susan Kelechi Watson Needed a Monthlong Break After This Is Us Wrapped Filming

By Paige Strout May 24, 2022 5:46 PMTags

This Is Us changed many people's lives, including Susan Kelechi Watson's.

The actress—who plays Beth Pearson on the hit NBC drama—stopped by E! News' Daily Pop to talk about her This Is Us journey ahead of the emotional series finale on May 24, including why she needed to take a pause after filming wrapped.

"I was on the phone, I said, ‘Um, can I get a month? Can I get a month to do nothing?'" she told hosts Justin Sylvester and Loni Love. Usually one to jump right into her next project, Watson revealed that this was the first time she felt she needed to take some time off.

"There was something about this that I feel like for all of us, it just feels like a moment that is the culmination of something that we can feel comfortable to say, ‘All right, let's sit for a second, take a breath, and go onto the next thing," she shared. "Mind you, a lot of us are of us are jumping into something right after this, a lot of us are doing that. But it's important for me to take a second and appreciate what just happened."

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Like many viewers, Watson had to emotionally prepare herself for the show's final episodes, telling Daily Pop that she has been "going through it since late January."

"I saw it coming from a way off, so I just started preparing myself since episode 10 of this season," she said. "So, now I feel like I'm finally okay, and we'll see how I feel tonight. We'll see. Who knows?"

One thing Watson wasn’t ready for? Saying goodbye to her castmates. Perhaps her most difficult goodbye was with her "partner in crime," Sterling K. Brown, who plays her on-screen hubby, Randall Pearson.

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

"We definitely made more of a goodbye the moment that Sterling and I had our final scene together," she shared. "I can't tell you what it has meant to do this show with him, opposite him. He's been just incredible. Nothing that I did or tried to do on this show would have been anything if I wasn't doing it opposite him. So that was definitely something I made a moment of."

Watson said she had to work hard to rein in the tears during her last scene with Mandy Moore, which featured Beth saying goodbye to Moore's Rebecca Pearson on her death bed.

"My director walked in and he's like, ‘Alright. This is gonna be the first goodbye of the episode. I'mma need you to try to pull it together, ‘cause if we lose you in the first five minutes, it's wrap city for the rest of the episode,'" she shared. "So, I definitely had to pull it back, but it was all there, it was all there right at the surface."

After six dramatic, powerful and memorable seasons, Watson shared the message she hopes fans will take away from the series.

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"I think what I want people to remember, if it resonates at all, is that it was an opportunity to see what it's like to walk in somebody else's shoes and maybe not judge somebody until you know their story," she said "and maybe not judge them at all."

She continued, "They have a whole past behind that and a whole story that comes with them, and you meet them in that moment. And hopefully, it will give everybody a little bit more grace, a little bit more patience with one another, take each other in a different way. That's what I take from it."

Check out the full interview above.

The series finale of This Is Us airs Tuesday, May 24, at 9 p.m. on NBC.

(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)