This Is Us never shies away from incorporating some shocking twists into its storylines, but the biggest jaw-dropping moment in Season 3 thus far was when it was revealed that Jack's brother, Nicky, was still alive. But when he came face-to-face with the Big Three, fans couldn't help but notice he was being portrayed by an entirely different actor. So who plays Older Nicky on This Is Us? Underneath his scruffy appearance, the man himself is someone who should look very familiar. That's because he's popped up in many different movies and TV shows throughout the years.
The actor's name is Griffin Dunne and to his list of acting credits is impressive would be somewhat of an understatement. Dunne has appeared in widely popular shows throughout his career, including memorable guest spots on Frasier, Alias, The Good Wife, White Collar, Damages, House of Lies, and many more. Meanwhile, on the movie front, he's been in the likes of Ocean's Eight, Dallas Buyers Club, 40 Days and 40 Nights, as well as the Dolly Parton-led film Straight Talk where he played her boss. All in all, Dunne has proven to have a top notch resume, so it's no wonder This Is Us cast him in such a pivotal role.
Many fans may have been surprised to see someone other than Michael Angarano playing an older version of Nicky, especially since Mandy Moore has been transformed into a very convincing Older Rebecca numerous times on the show. So what was it exactly that made Dunne's involvement necessary? "Michael is an incredible actor, and I thought he gave an amazing performance when he’s playing Nicky in his 40s," executive producer Issac Aptaker told Entertainment Weekly in an interview back in January regarding their decision to recast Older Nicky. "But at a certain point, he has such a baby face, it just breaks, and hair and makeup can only do so much. We didn’t want it to feel like kids playing old characters in a high school play.”
Hence how Dunne came to acquire the role since he seemed like such a perfect fit, not only because he's a great actor, but he'd also actually played Angarano’s father in the 2007 film Snow Angels. So the resemblance was undeniable. “We were looking for someone who (a) had the chops and (b) felt like they could play an older Michael,” Aptaker added. “Once they said the name [Griffin Dunne], we were like, ‘Let’s look at them side by side, because that’s the only way you can know.’ We saw it, and we were like, ‘Oh my god! Yeah! Amazing!’ And we all love him."
It's difficult to say how long Dunne will be sticking around for, but considering Kevin just brought Nicky back home with him, this story arc could go on for quite a while. There's a lot the Pearson family can learn about Jack through him and vice-versa. Nicky may not have gotten a chance to make amends with his brother, but hopefully he can do so through Jack's family.