Little do you know we were going 0mph during the car/kiss scene. I guess that means when Devi and Paxton kissed, it went from 0 – 100 real quick😏….Whatever, I bet Drake thinks it’s funny.
“Never Have I Ever” stars Jaren Lewison and Darren Barnet weighed in on the Netflix show’s love triangle.
Lewison, who stars as Ben Gross, and Barnet, who plays Paxton-Hall Yoshida spoke to Insider during separate interviews and broke down who they think is a better match for protagonist Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan).
“NHIE,” which was co-created by Lang Fisher and Mindy Kaling, begins at the start of Devi’s sophomore year at Sherman Oaks High School in California as she tries to rebrand as a cool person at school.
Part of her plan to become popular involves losing her virginity to Paxton, an attractive member of the school’s swim team who has three fan accounts on Tumblr. They don’t actually have sex, but she leads her best friends to believe that they did and the lie spirals out of control.
She’s also constantly trying to one-up Ben, her academic rival and nemesis, in history class and extracurricular activities.
Gradually, a love triangle involving Devi, Ben, and Paxton forms.
In Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever,” Darren Barnet stars as Paxton Hall-Yoshida, the popular swimmer who Devi Vishwakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) propositions in an effort to boost her reputation in high school. The teen heartthrob character was originally named “Paxton Hall” until creators Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher learned of Barnet’s own Japanese heritage and decided to incorporate his mixed background into the role, hence “Yoshida.”
The 29-year-old tells Variety why he was initially nervous about incorporating his multiethnic background, how his high school experience had little in common with Paxton’s, and why he is also Team Devi.
I’m in L.A., day fifty-something of being totally alone. So, it’s been quite the inner journey, having me, myself and I. I try to stick to a routine as much as possible but certain days, sleeping in until 1 in the afternoon. Doing publicity is one of the only things keeping me with a schedule. It’s nice to just have some things to do every day and get me up. I’m trying to work out and be ready at any point to take my shirt off ‘cause people keep asking me that [laughs]. I wouldn’t say I’m in as great of shape as I was on-camera but, thankfully, if I have to get ready for something, it’s a pretty quick process for me to get it back.
I did not expect it. I did not expect my character to be such a focal point. So, that’s been some pressure, but I’m blown away because a lot of people are saying, “You went past being a heartthrob, and you did things with the character that I think only you could do.” And that was making him human, making him likable. I’m honored that they feel I accomplished that.
It has been the number one thing I’ve seen on breakdowns for auditions since I started this career. It got to the point where I got so close and so close and so close and just kept being denied denied denied, I was like, “I guess I’m just not hitting the mark on this one.”
So, getting this one was cool. Mindy [Kaling] and all of them, I’m sure they saw people better looking than me, in better shape than me, all that, but they took us all aside, saying, “We chose you for this role because of you and what you bring as a person.” That was an honor to know because they wanted Paxton to be more than just abs.
Love it, yeah.
Darren Barnet’s first day on the set of Never Have I Ever as Paxton Hall-Yoshida started off with a splash. Well, sort of. They were filming the scene that introduces him in the new Netflix series as the hottest guy at Sherman Oaks High School, where he climbs out of the gym pool wearing Nike jammers and shakes his wet hair, water dripping off his abs and Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” blasting in the background.
“[Director] Tristram [Shapeero] was like, all right, ‘Let’s get your hair a little bit wet, rub your hands through your hair, really flex your chest when you get out of the pool, really milk the moment.’ It was kind of hysterical,” Darren tells Teen Vogue. “The set was a very creative space. I have zero complaints, the cast got along so well, every director that we worked with was absolutely incredible. Mindy [Kaling] was so great, open to input from the cast, always telling us if it doesn’t feel right, let me know, we’ll try something else.”
It’s quite the debut, solidifying Paxton as the target of protagonist Devi Vishwakumar‘s thirst. Then it goes from simple thirst to the real shebang when Devi approaches Paxton at the end of the first episode, asking if he’d ever consider having sex with her. The jock obliges, however, Devi’s plan doesn’t go as planned. We end up getting to know Paxton a bit more – beyond peeling off his shirt, Never Have I Ever also peels away his aloof exterior. The actor connected to Paxton in that regard, unable to count the number of times people who thought he was unapproachable before getting to know him during high school.
Entertainment Tonight chatted with ‘Never Have I Ever’ star Darren Barnet about his new found fame and his hopes for Season 2. ‘Never Have I Ever’ is now streaming on Netflix. Make sure to check the interview above!
Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher’s Never Have I Ever is the show that many have been waiting for. Following Devi [Maitreyi Ramakrishnan], a young Indian-American teen who is dealing with the loss of her father and the complications that comes with dealing with grief, Never Have I Ever feels like a breath of fresh air. From the get-go, her crush on Paxton Hall-Yoshida, played by breakout star Darren Barnet, follows the typical “nerd falls for jock” trope seen in YA many times before. But as the show continues and viewers learn more about Devi and Paxton, it turns into something that is a lot more complex. It seems like time is never on their side, especially after Devi starts to look at her former nemesis and new love interest, Ben [Jaren Lewison], differently.
Thanks to their always one-sided relationship, the question of “will they or won’t they?” remains on viewers minds long after the season one finale. Suddenly they realize these characters are more than the archetypes that they typically fall under, breaking apart some of the most basic rules in the YA genre, while also bringing fans a brand new hit like no other.
Seventeen exclusively talked with Never Have I Ever star Darren Barnet about bringing Paxton to life, why the show is unlike anything he’s ever seen before, whether he’s team Ben or Paxton, and why everything will be different for him in season two.
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