Last year on television's biggest night, Sterling K. Brown was accepting an Emmy for supporting actor in a limited series for his work on FX's "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story."
"As I was walking up the steps and hearing that the crowd was applauding and, when I turned around and saw them standing up, I was, like, wow, this is a top five feeling," Brown recalled during a recent visit to The Times' video studio. "It was a hard one to beat."
Since then, Brown has been riding a wave of good fortune. He stars in NBC's breakout Dan Fogelman series, 'This Is Us," as Randall, the adopted son of the Pearson clan. And his list of feature film credits is steadily rising: He'll play a high-profile defendant in the upcoming Thurgood Marshall drama, "Marshall"; he stars opposite Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong'o in Marvel's "Black Panther"; and he'll appear in the reboot of the alien franchise "Predator."
The boom, while nice, has initiated some heartfelt conversations with Brown's 6-year-old son that could rival the tear-jerking moments in "This Is Us."
"My son will say from time to time … , 'Daddy, I wish you weren't famous because I would like to spend more time with you,' " Brown shared. "I said, 'Big boy, this is just a busy time. I promise you Daddy will spend more time.' "
Brown's time is a precious commodity these days. The second season of "This Is Us," which premieres Sept. 26, is in production.
And viewer tension is high as details about Jack Pearson's death remain unanswered. Brown said that the first two scripts came without the final scene attached — for the sake of keeping crucial details under wraps. But Brown thinks the first season has trained him in how to be cryptic. And, of course, being in a Marvel film has only heightened his powers of keeping his lips shut.
"Being in a Marvel film is the pinnacle of secrecy training," Brown said. "You get the script, but not a hard copy. And then, like, it dissolves — like, it's 'Mission: Impossible.' The link self-destructs. … Then you get to set and they give you your sides [scenes] for the day, and when you finish shooting, you turn your sides in. And if you don't turn your sides in — 'cause I forgot mine at the hotel one time — they follow you to your hotel to get your sides. And then you sign out. They ain't … around."
Dan Fogelman, are you taking notes?
Watch the full interview below: