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.
Never Have I Ever is a new Netflix series created by Mindy Kaling that just premiered on the streaming service and you’re going to fall in love with Darren Barnet, one of the shows stars!
The actor plays Paxton Hall-Yoshida, who is a student retaking the year.
You might recognize Darren from his role as Young Jack on the hit series This Is Us or his work on Criminal Minds, Netflix’s Family Reunion, or Facebook Watch’s Turnt.
JustJared caught up with Darren to learn more about him and you can check out 10 Fun Facts right here: