Jon Huertas Says It Would Be An 'Injustice' Not To Show Miguel's Backstory On 'This Is Us'

Written by on January 14, 2020

It was Might 2016 when Jon Huertas discovered his present “Fortress” had been canceled. Shortly afterward, the actor had at the very least three auditions lined up, two of which had been for narcotics “boss-type individuals.”

“I wasn’t fascinated with them. It was disturbing to me that these had been the 2 primary auditions I used to be up for,” Huertas informed HuffPost. He was uninterested in auditioning for stereotypical Latino characters. The third audition was to play a veteran with post-traumatic stress dysfunction for Netflix’s “One Day at a Time,” that includes a Hispanic household. However that didn’t work out both as Huertas and creator Norman Lear didn’t see eye-to-eye on the position. 

“Me being a veteran myself and having expertise in that space, I had a special tackle the character and I wished to remain true to that,” mentioned Huertas, who spent eight years within the Air Pressure. 

However quickly Huertas acquired one other name. 

“The casting director known as my individuals and mentioned, ‘Hey, do you suppose Jon might recover from to Paramount actual fast? We’re casting one other present.’” 

That present was NBC’s “This Is Us.”

Jon Huertas stars as Miguel Rivas on "This Is Us." 

Jon Huertas stars as Miguel Rivas on “This Is Us.” 

“I actually ran over there, not having learn any of the fabric but,” Huertas recalled. “I had a gathering with [series creator] Dan Fogelman and the administrators, and I went in there and I used to be the one particular person of colour. Everybody else had been white guys of their 40s with salt-and-pepper hair. I believed I used to be within the flawed room at first.” 

Seems, he wasn’t.

Huertas learn for the a part of Mike and landed the position that very same day. Mike, in fact, ended up changing into Miguel Rivas, the Latino character Huertas has performed since 2016, who begins off as Jack Pearson’s (Milo Ventimiglia) colleague and good buddy earlier than getting along with Rebecca Pearson (Mandy Moore) after Jack dies. Within the first half of Season 4, Rebecca begins exhibiting indicators of what seems to be some type of cognitive decline. Huertas says that when “This Is Us” returns on Tuesday, the sequence will dive loads deeper into that storyline. 

“I really feel like I’ve learn much more materials centered round dementia, Alzheimer’s. It’s positively extra seen now to us,” Huertas mentioned. “And me getting older and having in-laws and a mother who’s getting older, the ideas of truly coping with dementia, I believe everybody across the nation ― and the world ― I believe has that concern.” 

Dementia and Alzheimer’s aren’t the one points Huertas is glad to convey to gentle on the small display screen. As Miguel, he additionally performs stepdad to the Pearson siblings: Kate (Chrissy Metz), Randall (Sterling Okay. Brown) and Kevin (Justin Hartley). 

“It’s a kind of issues the place the stepparent in each household can really feel like an outsider. … The children in a household generally don’t notice what the love of one other grownup is doing for his or her mother or their dad, who’s now not with the unique guardian,” Huertas mentioned. “To respect and settle for your guardian’s selection for a companion is tremendous vital.” 

Truly stepping into the mindset of what it’s wish to be an outsider is essential to taking part in Miguel.

From left to right: Amanda Leighton as a young Sophie, Logan Shroyer as a young Kevin, Jon Huertas as Miguel and Mandy Moore

From left to proper: Amanda Leighton as a younger Sophie, Logan Shroyer as a younger Kevin, Jon Huertas as Miguel and Mandy Moore as Rebecca on Season Four of “This Is Us.” 

“There’s an enormous a part of me in Miguel and an enormous a part of doing that, I really feel the identical vitality that Miguel feels. So, that’s what’s hardest. You by no means wish to really feel like an outsider,” he mentioned. “You wish to be included. You may have individuals like Mandy Moore, who’s the warmest and most giving actor I’ve labored with. She’s an unimaginable one that if I’m feeling lonely or disregarded as a personality or as an individual, she’s there with open arms to embrace you. I really feel the identical method about Justin Hartley. He’s such a gracious man and in addition as an actor, he’s very giving, very empathetic — and sudden from somebody who appears like him!”

For the reason that starting, “This Is Us” has explored most of the characters’ backstories. However to this point, the sequence has but to indicate a lot from Miguel’s previous.

“I hope that the present positively delves into Miguel’s backstory, perhaps how he grew to become profitable, how he grew to become the husband of Rebecca. However we haven’t had any enormous discussions about it but. We all know how they acquired collectively. We haven’t talked about how we’re going to see that.”  

My private expertise is the grownup male Latino has all the time been probably the most underdeveloped character on tv. Jon Huertas

Huertas says he’s proud to be a part of a present that highlights a special kind of Latino character. 

“To me, being an grownup male Latino on this trade, a variety of grownup male components are both within the drug commerce — whether or not they be traffickers, sellers, low-level thugs. It’s both that or jobs like gardeners, valets — and naturally, each cop present often has a Latino,” he mentioned. “So to play Miguel, an individual who’s fairly profitable in his selection of enterprise and being in a relationship with the matriarch of the household, it might be an enormous injustice in the event that they didn’t delve into that. I believe it’s the correct time with all the things we see relating to the disparity between women and men, individuals of colour. For me, my private expertise is the grownup male Latino has all the time been probably the most underdeveloped character on tv.”

"This Is Us" returns Tuesday.

“This Is Us” returns Tuesday.

As a Latino, Huertas says he feels an enormous accountability to painting a personality that could possibly be thought-about a job mannequin to younger Latino boys.

“You may have younger males making selections on who they will be,” he mentioned. “And it might be nice for them to have the ability to see somebody and say, I wouldn’t thoughts having a journey like that character, or that particular person.” 

Since “This Is Us” launched in 2016, Huertas has spent an excellent a part of his time on the set of the present. He additionally works behind the scenes, producing and directing different tasks.

However when he does have day without work, Huertas enjoys touring and educating others about ocean conservation by way of numerous organizations, together with Wildlands. An avid diver, he’s additionally an envoy for Sort Traveler, a socially aware resort reserving platform. He just lately took a visit to the Maldives, the place he took half in conservation initiatives along with exploring the world.  

“For me, personally, as a result of I’m the kind of one that desires to do one thing for the setting, to do one thing to all the time wish to give again, I might really feel responsible not investing time in conservation,” he mentioned. 

Huertas is an avid diver and has worked to educate others about environmental conservation. 

Huertas is an avid diver and has labored to teach others about environmental conservation. 

“Having the love of animals simply drives me,” he added. “There’s a lot magnificence in wildlife and there’s a lot magnificence within the wildlands that also exist. No matter we will do to teach youth is the most effective course we will go in ― to show our youngsters that this is essential to the survival of our planet and the survival of ourselves.” 

Huertas says he’s trying ahead to his subsequent conservation-focused journey, presumably to Jordan. And naturally, extra seasons of “This Is Us.” The sequence has already been renewed for Seasons 5 and 6. 

“It makes me really feel like I’ve gained the lottery or that I’m one of many luckiest individuals on this planet — to have a job that I might do free of charge if I needed to. And ‘This Is Us’ is on the pinnacle of that. It’s one thing you dream about as a younger actor to land a gig like this.”

“This Is Us” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. 

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