Justin Hartley as Jake in The Noel Diary

How Justin Hartley Channeled Kevin From This Is Us In The Noel Diary

"There will always be parts of Kevin that I try to pull forward."

KC Bailey/Netflix

Not to be dramatic, but the actors from This Is Us probably won’t be able to escape their Pearson family roles, like, ever. The NBC series was too powerful, the characters too lovable, for fans to really let go. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Justin Hartley, for example, tells Elite Daily he plans to incorporate his Pearson persona into future projects, including his upcoming Netflix holiday movie, The Noel Diary.

“I mean, I kept the height and the weight the same,” he jokes, comparing Kevin with The Noel Diary’s protagonist, Jake. But there’s more to it than that. Jake is a celebrity novelist with tons of fan adoration, but his personal life is a mess. “I did notice [Kevin] as I was prepping for the character,” he says. “He's sort of lost his way, he distracts himself with other things so that he doesn't have to deal with the things that are happening. He's alone. I'm sure he's looking for love. Those kind of things.”

So, yeah. There are clearly many similarities between Jake and Kevin, but Hartley insists there are a ton of key differences, too. “It is a totally different character with a completely different past and a different future,” he says.

KC Bailey/Netflix

Some actors, after coming off a long-running, career-defining role, end up taking hard turns into different genres to separate themselves from their characters. But that’s not Hartley’s goal for his post-This Is Us career chapter. “Right now, I'm all about doing things of quality, things that matter to me, things that I would watch,” he says. “I think we nailed it [with The Noel Diary]. I saw the movie several times.”

But even in projects that seem like a total departure from This Is Us — “I just got done doing this pilot where I have a gun,” he notes — Hartley still foresees inserting a little bit of Kevin in everything he does. “There will always be parts of Kevin that I try to pull forward.”

The Noel Diary premieres Nov. 24 on Netflix.