This Is Us director Ken Olin tells PEOPLE about "making sure" Mandy Moore "felt safe" on the set while filming the latest season 5 episode

By Karen Mizoguchi
March 17, 2021 08:00 AM
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This is us
Credit: nbc

Mandy Moore was an absolute trooper on the set of This Is Us while expecting her first child, son August, and filming season 5.

Writer Casey Johnson and director Ken Olin spoke to PEOPLE about the latest episode of the show, titled "I've Got This," and shared how Moore's pregnancy and a storyline on the NBC series nearly mirrored one another.

In the tenth episode of the current season, audiences saw Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) caring for their newborn babies with their partners Toby (Chris Sullivan) and Madison (Caitlin Thompson), as well as handling the new challenges of bathing a baby, sleep training and juggling parenting duties.

"It was interesting because we filmed this right before Mandy left to go have her baby. It was neat thinking about her having a newborn and that in a couple of weeks, she would have her own newborn for the first time," Johnson told PEOPLE.

This is us
Credit: nbc

When asked if the overall arc of season 5 was delayed or changed due to the COVID pandemic, Olin noted that the show wanted to make sure Moore, 36, felt safe on set while pregnant.

"I don't know how much it actually delayed the story, the writers all seem determined to tell these stories even though it's very challenging because there are so many restrictions on dealing with babies," he said about the young actors who play the Pearson babies in the present-day timelines.

"And then dealing with Mandy's pregnancy, how we were going to accommodate her and make sure that she was safe," Olin added about another concern they had. "We actually started shooting this episode, I think, in December so that we could accommodate Mandy's pregnancy before she got too big. Then we finished a week, 10 days ago."

Moore, who announced her pregnancy in September 2020, and her husband Taylor Goldsmith welcomed their baby boy August Harrison on Feb. 20. "Gus is here," the couple said in a joint statement on social media. "He was punctual and arrived right on his due date, much to the delight of his parents. We were prepared to fall in love in all sorts of brand new ways, but it goes beyond anything we could have ever imagined."

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This is us
Credit: nbc

Recently, Moore's TV husband Milo Ventimiglia spoke to PEOPLE and raved about his costar, who "really wanted to work right up until the birth date and get through as much as we could."

The actor, 43, added, "What a champion she is. Thank God for [This Is Us creator] Dan Fogelman and the writers to be able to orchestrate the season to allow her time off, it's such a huge life event to go through, I imagine. Everything has been good. Mandy is truly the best."

This Is Us airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on NBC.