'This Is Us' Almost Had A Totally Different Teenage Kevin

Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Working on the set of This Is Us (series writing: Kay Oyegun, 27 episodes), means you have to have a few things — charming looks, great script memorization, and a penchant for crying and brooding — because the last two things? The show has them in spades. And because This Is Us takes viewers on a journey through the Pearson Big Three’s lives, there are three times the actors and three times the drama! But who plays teenage Kevin on This Is Us? Logan Shroyer almost missed the audition for this role of a lifetime.

Season 1 of This Is Us was mostly about the adults — learning their habits and issues and about their relationships — but Season 2 is a little different. There’s more of a focus on the time surrounding Jack’s death, and that time is the late 1990s, when the Big Three were teenagers. The teenage Big Three has done some great work in Season 2, and Logan Shroyer is without exception. Playing Kevin, Shroyer has had to flex some serious acting chops to display the frustration and heartbreak of shattering his leg and losing his dream of playing professional football. And don’t get me started on what’s bound to happen when Jack finally dies. It’s not going to be pretty, but Shroyer, who leaves me in tears every week, can certainly handle it.

According to his IMDB, Shroyer’s first role was in a television movie called Westside. He’s also appeared on television series like The Thundermans, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life On Normal Street, and Speechless, all before landing the big-time role on This Is Us. That role, though, was almost a miss. 18-year-old Shroyer told People that he almost flaked on the audition. “I auditioned when I had a bunch of stuff going on. It was Halloween night, if not the day after, that I got the call about the audition and I almost didn’t go. It was super last minute,” he said. “I had a dentist appointment that I ended up canceling because I was like, ‘I have to do this.’”

Hmm… a root canal or the biggest break in his career thus far? It’s a good thing Shroyer opted out of Novocain and into hanging with Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia, since he got the part of Kevin with only one audition. “The next afternoon I got a call in the afternoon. It was like, ‘You booked it. You need to go to Beverly Hills right now. You need to make sure your hair looks ‘90s and you need to make sure you can get contacts fitted to match Justin Hartley’s eyes,’ ” Shroyer continued. “I got the script that morning I met Dan [Fogelman, the creator] and I met Mandy [Moore]. It was one audition. Boom! Let’s do it. I couldn’t be more thankful for that,” Shroyer said.

And even though Ventimiglia isn’t actually Jack and Shroyer isn’t actually his biological son, he’s still torn up about the show's central plotline. “Jack’s death. It’s a real thing that people are going to see and it’ll be great, it’ll be crazy, it’ll be heartbreaking,” Shroyer said. “Reading these scripts, oh my gosh, has been overwhelming. I think people are going to be really, really impressed and happy. Or really unhappy because Jack’s dying. It’s not exactly something to celebrate.”

Besides being on an acclaimed television drama, Shroyer is a regular teenager. According to JustJared, his hobbies include surfing, playing guitar, and being very, very good at ping-pong and math. Acting, though, is his true passion. As Shroyer told People, “Acting was one of those things I didn’t think I wanted to do, I just sort of fell into it. I think that’s really cool because it’s telling that I just really love it,” he said. “I never really had that image of I really want to be famous. I was just in an acting class and really started to love it and then started taking it really seriously. I love it.”

And fans love seeing him as Kevin every Tuesday night on This Is Us.