Alexandra Breckenridge knew the reveal of Kevin’s happily ever after was a “big responsibility” and was nervous to show up to set to shoot the pivotal scene in Tuesday night’s episode titled The Night Before The Wedding.
“I knew the basic outline because I had a creative conversation about it with Dan [Fogelman] a couple months before I even got the episode,” Breckenridge told Los Angeles Magazine. “I was waiting for it so by the time I got it, I sped through it because I was so excited to see how they executed it and I was really happy with it. I thought people are going to lose their minds when they watch this.”
“It felt like such a big responsibility. I was nervous weeks before going out and being around all of these wonderful actors who I have met in the past, but not being on the show for so long, everyone has this familiarity with each other and I’m coming in and yes, I’m part of the show and the character’s very much been part of this show and part of Kevin’s world throughout, but for me, it was still scary. It was like going to my first day at school and hoping everyone likes you,” she added. “That day, the anticipation of shooting that scene was pretty heavy because I knew it was really important. I wanted to come from an honest, emotional place for Sophie and I think I achieved it. There was a lot of build up to get there as an actress.”
Tuesday’s episode finally reveals everything that went down the night before Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Phillip’s (Chris Geere) wedding. Kevin (Justin Hartley) has had numerous romances since he got divorced from his high school sweetheart Sophie (Breckenridge), and they all came to light during a night of rendezvous. At the end of the episode, viewers watched as Sophie reveals she secretly got divorced, and she’s still madly in love with Kevin, who obviously felt the same way. According to the writers, it is safe to assume Sophie will be Kevin’s wife in the highly anticipated series finale.
“I thought it was a really beautiful moment for the two of them,” Breckenridge said. “They’re coming into a relationship with eyes wide open as to who we’ve been and who we’ve become and her having this understanding of, ‘I need you to love me for who I am in this moment and not how you saw me all those years ago, not who you fell in love with here, who you re-fell in love with here, not this idealized version of me, but who I really am sitting in front of you’ is huge and is important to say. I’m so glad that’s what she said to him, but also this beautiful way of her saying, ‘I also want to honor you in that way and fall in love with the man you are now and not how I’ve always seen you,’ is beautiful. I had happy tears when I read the ending of it and then I was like, ‘Oh, wow, I have to do that scene.’”
“[Hartley and I] didn’t rehearse the scene. I spoke the most so we didn’t even run it. The other scenes, we run the words, but not this one,” she added of the big day on set. “We were going to shoot the scene at 2PM, but didn’t until 10PM, so that was a long afternoon of waiting to get there. We did several different versions of it in different tones and tempos, but the version they ended up going with was one of my first takes, which was my instinct, where I felt it should be tonally. I was really happy they chose that version.”
Hartley has previously spoken to the media warning fans that they might hate him for who his character ultimately chooses to spend the rest of his life with. Breckenridge doesn’t know why he sent out that warning, but believes he might have just been trying to get fans to second-guess their own instincts about these characters that they’ve loved for six years.
“When I first started the show, the way they introduced the character, it seems like they’re setting it up [for Kevin and Sophie to end up together], but they wanted to take Kevin on a journey of self discovery that didn’t take place during his relationship with Sophie. I understood it at the time even though I was really sad to leave the show at that point. They said they wanted them to end up together, we just don’t know when and we don’t have that outlined out yet,” Breckenridge said. “A couple seasons later they asked me to come back, but I was doing Virgin River and I was like, ‘I can’t come back now.’”
“It’s been a couple seasons of hoping we can get Kevin and Sophie to end up together, but really not sure how that was going to happen. I found it incredible satisfying. It’s very obviously that they’ve always loved each other, but they had to go on different journeys to come back to each other,” she added.
As the series begins to wrap up and Breckenridge reflects on the character she created, she hopes to take Sophie’s sweet intuition with her in life moving forward.
“I think Sophie is a person that follows her heart and I think that’s a good place to lead from,” she said.
Watch This Is Us Tuesdays on NBC.
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