The film vet’s casting was announced by series boss Dan Fogelman on Thursday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, where a Kleenex-worthy Season 2 scene was screened (read more about that here). Guest-starring in at least one Season 2 episode, Stallone will serve as Kevin’s costar/father figure in the Ron Howard movie the Pearson son was cast in at Season 1’s end.
Fogelman said that This Is Us‘ Milo Ventimiglia — who played son to Stallone in the sixth Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa — got the ball rolling toward the casting coup. Stallone’s few on-camera TV credits include episodes of Las Vegas and Dream On.
“Isn’t that amazing?” Justin Hartley marveled to TVLine after the show’s panel Q&A. “We have these big ideas on the show, and you hear about it through the grapevine and think, ‘Wow, that’s massive. How are we going to pull that off?’ Like, ‘I’m not sure he does television…,’ but man, I guess the show is that good that people are wanting to be a part of it at every level.”
Kevin and Sly are teamed up in “kind of like a war movie/period piece… a massive-budget, huge movie,” Hartley shared, “and we got the main man to come do it. It doesn’t really get better than that, does it?”
“We work out at the same gym sometimes, so I’ve met him [before],” Hartley said, noting that Stallone once gave him pointers on how to get pumped before a shirtless scene (“or 10”) he was doing for the movie sequel A Bad Moms Christmas.
This Is Us returns Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c.