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

SXSW can’t get enough “This Is Us.”

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On Monday, stars of the NBC drama strolled the red carpet before attending a screening of the season finale at the Paramount Theatre, and on Tuesday 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 Tuesday night on NBC.

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

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

Justin Hartley, who plays Kevin Pearson on NBC’s “This Is Us,” on the red carpet at the Paramount Theatre March 12. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

1. 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.’”

2. 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.

3. 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.”

4. 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.”

5. 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.

Stars of NBC’s ‘This Is Us’ hit red carpet for SXSW screening of season finale

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The finale, which screened Monday afternoon during the South by Southwest Film Festival, offered plenty of tears and plenty of laughs, too, to a packed audience at the Paramount Theatre. It airs Tuesday night on NBC.

Mandy Moore, who plays Rebecca Pearson on NBC’s “This Is Us,” on the red carpet at the Paramount Theatre during SXSW on March 12. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

Before the screening, the audience heeded a call from actor Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Jack Pearson on the NBC drama, to put their phones down. When one of America’s favorite TV dads speaks, the audience listens.

RELATED: Keep up with all SXSW happenings at Austin360.com. 

Ventimiglia joined costars Mandy Moore, who plays his TV wife, Rebecca Pearson, and Justin Hartley, who plays his adult son, Kevin Pearson, on the red carpet prior to the screening.

Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Jack Pearson on NBC’s “This Is Us,” on the red carpet at the Paramount Theatre during SXSW March 12. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

“The show is emotional, but it’s ‘hopefully emotional,’” Ventimiglia told Austin360. “I think that’s something that kind of makes up for how many tears you cry, you know, because it’s one of those feel-good cries.”

The show has struck a chord with viewers in part because it touches on a variety of important themes including adoption, foster care, obesity and addiction.

Justin Hartley, who plays Kevin Pearson on NBC’s “This Is Us,” on the red carpet at the Paramount Theatre March 12. Kristin Finan/American-Statesman

“For me if we can get one person to make a phone call that maybe they would not have made, if it helps them, then we’ve done our job,” said Hartley, whose character battled alcohol and prescription drug addiction this season. “I was proud of the way that we told that story.”

Ventimiglia, Moore and Hartley will also speak as part of the ‘This Is Us’ SXSW cast panel on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center, Ballroom D.