'This Is Us' Star Eris Baker on That Big Cliffhanger & On-Screen Dad Sterling K. Brown's Advice
Fans of This Is Us were left with some big cliffhangers at the end of Season 2, and thankfully, we'll get some answers when Season 3 kicks off on September 25.
Eris Baker, who portrays Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Beth's (Susan Kelechi Watson) older daughter Tess in the hit family drama, will plays an integral part the mystery behind one of those cliffhangers: the "her" Randall and Tess talked about in last season's finale flash-forward.
TV Insider caught up with the young star ahead of the premiere and she shared everything from the advice she got from her on-screen parents to some Season 3 hints. Read on for some Pearson family knowledge!
When you were cast in This Is Us could you have imagined that it would be so big?
Eris Baker: I had no [idea] that it was gonna be this big, so I’m definitely very thankful .
What was your reaction when you learned about your character’s flash-forward scenes?
I love that people are going to see an older Tess and how 10-year-old Tess evolves from when she was little to when she was grown. And how all the situations on the show affected her when she got older.
Have you interacted with Iantha Richardson, the actress who plays older Tess?
Yes, I did meet older Tess, and lots of people know this, but she looks almost exactly like me. She’s such an amazing actor.
Does seeing the future character change the way you approach your performance?
When I started this show, I didn’t know there was going to be a future Tess, so I was just playing Tess off of what I already knew about her during that time. Then, when I saw older Tess become a social worker, that changed my perspective of how I would act.
Will fans have some answers about that mysterious "her" cliffhanger?
I can say that [with this storyline], viewers will learn about older Tess more and what affected her when she was little to become a social worker. Also, how other situations have affected her to become the person that she is.
What can we expect from Tess this season? Are there any storylines we haven’t explored with her that you hope to see in the future?
I definitely want to have more scenes with Déjà (Lyric Ross). I think that lots of viewers — and me personally — would like to see more of them together, their connection, and how they grow as sisters.
Lyric Ross is now a series regular so Déjà is clearly here to say. What does this mean for Tess’ relationship with her parents?
When Déjà first came on the show, Tess thought she was being replaced. Then later on, when she had that conversation with Randall, it showed her how Déjà’s going to be another amazing addition to the family. Tess’ character was then more welcoming [after that].
What’s it like working alongside such accomplished actors like Sterling K. Brown and Susan Kelechi Watson? Do they ever give you any acting tips or industry advice?
Yes, I’m definitely very grateful for Sterling and Susan. The advice that they’ve shown me is that it doesn’t matter your age for you to live your dreams. I started taking acting lessons when I was about seven years old, and I finally started to reach my dreams when I was about 10. It doesn’t matter your age and it doesn’t matter your race, it just matters that you’re focused enough to complete your dream.
Do you get to hang out with the other kids on-set?
I love how Faithe Herman (Annie) and Lyric Ross are closer to my age because we just have that kid connection — I don’t know how to explain it — and we hang out a lot after when we’re not working, too. We’re honestly just like a family in real life, like real sisters.
Are there any other shows you're loving right now?
I am really enjoying the new Netflix movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I think it’s such a fun teenage movie, and I love the show Pretty Little Liars. I’ve actually just started watching that pretty late, but I’m on Season 3 and that’s a really good show — it always leaves you wanting to see more.
Any projects you hope to work on in the future?
Acting wise, I definitely want to start learning more about directing and executive producing. I want to star in one of my own movies one day. There are so many different [aspects] to TV and movies – you can be [off-screen] or on-screen. I definitely just want to make sure that I’m not just doing acting for my whole life. I definitely want to do more.
This Is Us, Season 3 Premiere, Tuesday, September 25, 9/8c, NBC