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5 things we learned at Tuesday’s SXSW ‘This Is Us’ cast panel

Kristin Finan

SXSW can’t get enough “This Is Us.”

Yesterday, stars of the NBC drama strolled the red carpet before attending a screening of the season finale at the Paramount Theatre, and today they graced the stage in Ballroom D at the Austin Convention Center for the ‘This Is Us’ Cast Panel. The final episode of this season airs tonight on NBC.

PHOTOS: ‘This Is Us’ stars on the red carpet at SXSW

Here are five things we learned about the show during today’s SXSW panel that featured Mandy Moore (who plays Rebecca Pearson), Milo Ventimiglia (Jack Pearson), Justin Hartley (Kevin Pearson) and show creator Dan Fogelman.

The show was first created as a movie.

“Originally I was writing it as a film,” Fogelman said. “But I didn’t feel it was a viable film. … Six months later I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters. I picked it back up and said, ‘I wonder if it would make a great TV show.’”

The “This Is Us” stars brought their younger co-stars along as plus-ones to the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards and even had trophies made for them after they won best outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series.

“We found this 3-D printer and we said, ‘We need six of these like identical, exactly made to the specs (of the real awards). We wanted them to know we love you guys,” Ventimiglia said.

“You’re just as much a part of this as anybody else,” Moore added.

People have actually adopted trios of animals and named them Kate, Randall and Kevin.

“That’s a lot of litter scooping,” Hartley joked. “It doesn’t seem worth. But that’s good.”

Staying authentic is key.

“I’ve had a handful of friends who have had to battle a drinking problem. (I appreciate) the way Dan and the writers have let that side of Jack be addressed,” Ventimiglia said. “One of the greatest things about the experience we all have on the show, aside from the fun of making it, is the conversation that gets started.”

Being on the show has changed the way they view their own lives.

“I have a 13-year-old daughter,” Hartley said. “I try to take in every single moment, because yesterday she was 2 and today she’s 13. She’s my everything. What it’s done for me is it’s reminded me to slow down. … You have to take time and enjoy your children, the people in your life, your friends.”

“If you lead with love, if you’re hopeful, if you’re inspiring, if you’re communicative, then you should have a good life,” Ventimiglia added.