Parker Bates from This is Us on His Pandemic and Pearson Life
Parker Bates plays young Kevin Pearson in the hit show This Is Us. We caught up with the teen actor to chat about the show, his advice to other teens about coping with pandemic life, and the very Pearson-esque advice he got from his on-screen dad, Milo Ventimiglia.
By Julyanna Trickey
You have played the character of young Kevin on NBC’s This Is Us for about six years now. What has been your favourite part of working on this show?
It’s always fun when I get to work with Milo, just me and him. It’s always super fun because I get to learn a lot from him. Before Covid, I learned a lot about the directing side of things and more of the camera operating stuff so that has been pretty cool. But mostly my favourite has been just being on set and hanging out with my friends. Since I’ve known them for six years now, they’re like my family. Whenever I’m on set I just have so much fun with them.
Do you keep in contact with your castmates a lot outside of work?
Yes. Me and my siblings on the show have a little group chat called “The Mini Big Three” that we keep in touch with. I see Milo sometimes too just to hang out and chat.
What have you noticed is different about your job since the pandemic started?
Every other day you have to get tested or sometimes it’s every day. So, it’s been kind of weird going to the city just to get tested. On set, there are these boxes that we get to take our masks off in to eat something. They look a bit like a hockey penalty box so that’s kind of fun. But we have still been working a lot so at least that has been normal.
How are you coping with the Covid-19 pandemic?
It’s been a rough year! I’ve just been trying to stay busy and get outside as much as I can. I’ll go exercise and I’ll go play golf a lot. It’s been one of my main hobbies that I can do with my dad. I usually play soccer, but I haven’t been able to do that because of the pandemic. We’ve also been cooking and baking a lot! I have made A LOT of cookies. So yeah, just trying to stay busy!
What is your favourite meal to make at home?
I love making enchiladas! I feel like they are really fun to make. I also make these chicken taquitos and they are really, really good. My whole family loves them.
Do you have any advice for people your age who are struggling to stay active and positive during the pandemic?
Well, this is all temporary so it’s all going to go away one day, and we can go back to seeing our friends and being normal again. Stay motivated and find something that you can look forward to!
You starred in a movie, Magic Max. What lessons did you take from being an actor on This Is Us to the set of a feature film?
It was really different. It was my first time working on a movie. It was super quick getting in there and meeting everyone and you have to go into it with an open mind. You need to make friends and connect with other people. Milo taught me that you should try to know everyone’s name on set. So, I tried my best to get everyone’s name down.
What was your favourite part about working on Magic Max?
It was just a really cool experience. I got to do all kinds of magic tricks! I got to do my own stunt, which was also so fun. There is one part of the movie where I fall out of a pretty big tree backward onto the ground. I was on a crane and everything. It was the first stunt I have ever done, and it was super fun. I definitely want to do more stunts in the future. I can see myself doing James Bond movies or Mission Impossible movies. I know Tom Cruise does all his own stunts and I think it’s so cool.
Do you have any other projects coming up that you are excited about?
I’m producing this one film called Partners. It’s with the same producers of Magic Max so it will be fun getting to work with them again. I’m working on it with my brother too, so it’s been nice working together with him from home and focusing on our scripts. I also have one more project in the works, but I can’t say a lot about it yet.
Do you have any advice for teens your age who want to get into acting? How do you think your experience would have changed if you started now in a pandemic?
I feel like it would be a lot different for sure. But I think that if it’s something you really want to do, you love to do it, and you have a passion for it, then I think you should go for it regardless. For literally anything in life, I think that if you are happy doing it you should keep on doing what you like.
If there was one actor you could work with in the future, who would it be?
That’s hard! I have to think about that one for a second. I might have to say, Leonardo DiCaprio. I’ve watched a lot of his movies and I think he’s a great actor.