This Ron Cephas Jones interview will make you love William even more

THIS IS US -- "Memphis" Episode 116 -- Pictured: Ron Cephas Jones as William -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC)
THIS IS US -- "Memphis" Episode 116 -- Pictured: Ron Cephas Jones as William -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC) /

William was one of many breakout delights from season 1 of This Is Us. Here’s hoping he’s present in more flashbacks in season 2.

Ron Cephas Jones spoke to Zach Laws at Gold Derby by video chat about playing William on This Is Us. The actor touches on creating a layered character, working with Sterling K. Brown and filming William’s death while dealing with his best friend’s battle with cancer. The whole chat is very much worth watching in full.

William’s death at the end of season 1 was heart wrenching. The evolution of his relationship with Randall, Beth and the girls up until that point was beautiful to see and William’s efforts to make amends as Randall copes with meeting and losing another father was truly moving. In his interview, Jones spoke about how the show made the character so much more than a cliche.

On paper, Jones describes how William can read as a bad stereotype: “African American man, drug addict, on the skids, having not provided well in his life.” And as the actor describes, William has so many layers that ultimately allowed him to go deeper. Jones described the character as such:

"He’s a flawed man, but a very intelligent, artistic, loving man who made some mistakes in his past life.”"


"I realized that so much of the man is inside of me, and my history, and the people and men that I know over the years, from my father to my uncles, to mentors… William is a culmination of all those men I grew up with."

There’s so much about William’s past that remains to be seen too. The Memphis episode was one of the best, but there’s so much more to learn about his own childhood and the time during which Randall is growing up. Jones also confirmed that William will be back in season 2 and the show plans to tell more of his story.