She was down to her last dollar — and then it happened. Chrissy Metz was cast as Kate Pearson on a new NBC series, “This Is Us.”
What did she do next?
“I went with my family to Vegas,” said Metz, on a cool spring morning in Los Angeles. In a pink-and-black flowered wrap dress, her light brown hair fell softly on her shoulders as she remembered. “We stayed at Planet Hollywood. We just hung out and danced. It was just so awesome.”
Also awesome was her surprise singing debut at the Academy of Country Music Awards held at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas on April 7. Metz sang “I’m Standing With You,” (from the soundtrack of her new film, “Breakthrough”) with Carrie Underwood and others.
Inspiring is the word that describes her starring role in the new movie, which opens April 17. Metz plays Joyce Smith, a St. Louis mother whose teenage son John falls through an icy lake. He has no pulse for nearly 45 minutes, but makes a miraculous and full recovery.
“People ask, ‘Why did you take on this new movie?’ It’s because I am a miracle,” said the 38-year-old Florida native. “On paper, it doesn’t make sense that I’m in the position I’m in — and gratefully so.”
Review Journal: What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Chrissy Metz: My perfect Sunday is sleeping in until at least 11. That’s such a luxury. Probably reading a little, followed by breakfast in bed. I mean, we’re talking perfect Sunday here so we need the breakfast in bed. Maybe I’ll have a little swim or a hot tub. And then I watch some TV. On that perfect Sunday, I will not answer the phone or respond to anyone. I will just lie around the house without getting dressed.
From the Uber driver to a TV exec, say the name Chrissy Metz and you hear, “Oh, I love her!” How does that feel?
People are resonating with what I’m doing, which is such a gift.
Tell us about, “Breakthrough.” Did you spend time with the real mother, Joyce, and son John?
We just did an interview together, and it’s just so nice to be a part of something that will change people’s lives. Gratefully, I had that with “This Is Us.” But this is a true story where these human beings experienced this trauma and came out on the other side. Joyce is a force of nature.
Do you ever think that if one thing had gone differently the boy might not have lived?
What’s miraculous was that every single person was so strategically placed. The first responders had been specifically working on cold drowning a week or two heading up to the incident. If not, they might not have had the knowledge to know what to do or how to do it. Every second factors in. It was like the universe was watching out.
Do you believe in fate?
I believe in God. I truly believe there is something always looking out for us. There was this one time when I was going to get on the interstate by my house to return a VHS tape. My friend was like, “Chrissy, who cares about the late fee. Just come with me.” … In the end, she convinced me to go with her. Not five minutes later there was a 10-car pile-up on that interstate, right where I would have entered, with several casualties.
Were there other instances where you felt protected?
It happens time and time again.
Do you have a favorite Vegas memory?
It was before Uber was popular. I always go the Peppermill. That’s my Vegas joint. … It was so late after we ate, and I said, “We’re not walking back to the casino. Let’s get a ride.” We couldn’t find a taxi. This woman pulls up and says, “Are you looking for a ride?” She looked like a very nice, unassuming lady. She said, “I don’t drive for a living, but I’m trying to make some extra money on the side.”
So, you got in?
Yes. I said to my friends, “I’ll sit in the front because I’m the biggest girl. I’ll be on it if something happens. We got in the car and she told us about her life, including how she was trying to make extra money for her kid in college. Thank goodness we got back to the casino in one piece after just jumping in some random person’s car! It was so optimistic of us. And all I have to say is: “Kids, don’t follow my lead here.”
The last show of the season on “This Is Us” was a future jump and you’re not in it. Where’s Kate Pearson?
We’re going to find out in season four. Dan (Fogelman, executive producer) assured me that I can assure everybody else. I loved the season finale.
Kate has a heart-to-heart with her mother Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and admits she’s afraid that she won’t measure up as a mother.
This is what I love about the show. It’s about contending with our feelings. If we can be honest with others about how we’re feeling then we can just cut through all the junk and find the real relationships we want. Sadly, our egos are always in the driver’s seat.
There are theories that you and Toby don’t make it as a couple.
It’s interesting because there are so many theories around. Everyone has their own theories. But we’ll find out the answers.
Do you ever cry when you read the scripts?
All the time. I cry after I read it. I cry when I’m doing it. I cry when I watch it. I’m a crying machine.
How much earlier did you know what happened to Jack Pearson vs. the rest of the world?
We knew pretty much early on. I kept the secret for so long. It’s really hard not to tell people, especially when you want to share it with your loved ones or your family. But I need to keep my job!