Did you know that Darren Barnet played a young Jack Pearson on “This Is Us” before appearing on “Never Have I Ever” on Netflix?
The actor, who became an overnight sensation this Spring as Paxton Hall-Yoshida on the Mindy Kaling-created show, appeared on the popular NBC drama during its first season in 2017, playing a younger version of Milo Ventimiglia’s Jack in an episode called “The Right Thing to Do.”
For Barnet, while the role was a small one, the opportunity to be cast on “This Is Us” represented a major turning point for his burgeoning acting career.
“The first time we did it, I was so psyched and being on the Paramount lot, there’s nothing like it. It’s so nostalgic, you feel like Marilyn Monroe’s going to be walking around the corner at any point,” Barnet went on. “I’m taking it all in. I’m going on set, and I’m shadowboxing behind the wall.”
“The first time we did this, it was at a dinner table,” he added. “And then they wanted you to do reshoots.”
When Barnet, now 29, returned to set for reshoots, he crossed paths with two of the show’s marquee stars: Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore. Of course, the charismatic Barnet had to capitalize on the moment and say something to them.
“When we reshot it, they sat me down this time next to Milo and Mandy, as they were getting out of work. They were coming to get their makeup off,” he revealed. “Milo just sits next to me, and I’m like — we’re looking in the mirror because they’re trying to match us — and I’m like, ‘Huh, kind of like looking in a mirror.'”
“I was like, ‘Hope that wasn’t too dry,'” he laughed. “He appreciated it.”
“I took a risk with Mandy, too! I’ve had a crush on Mandy Moore since I was very young,” Barnet went on. “And I was just like, ‘Hey, Mandy.’ And she was like, ‘Hey.’ I was like, ‘So I’m your young husband.’ She was like, ‘Hi, young husband.’ I was like, ‘Dream’s complete. I can go home now.'”
His surreal experience filming a small part on such a major show like “This Is Us” gave him a taste of what he wanted for his career and ultimately pushed him to continue working hard on making it big in the business.
“It gave me, I feel, the fuel, the propane I needed to keep going,” he told ITK. “Because you get on set and there’s no feeling like it. All you’re longing for is that feeling again, and seeing key players do what they do and love it so much, it was just so inspiring, and I just wanted to do anything I could to get back to it. So it definitely gave me that fire that I needed behind me.”
Listen to our full interview with Darren Barnet below. “Never Have I Ever” is available to stream on Netflix now.
If you enjoyed this article, check out In The Know’s recent interview with “Modern Family” star Nolan Gould here.
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