Never Have I Ever, the new Netflix original series created by The Office star Mindy Kaling and based loosely on her own high school years, follows teenager Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) as she navigates the normal highs and lows of teenage life in the aftermath of a huge loss. It might sound like grim viewing, but the emotional storytelling is balanced with warmth and humor — not to mention a killer soundtrack.
And what would any self-respecting teenage comedy-drama be without a heartthrob? Enter Paxton Hall-Yoshida.
A particularly memorable scene from the show, which became prominently featured in the trailer for the show, involves a daydream sequence in which heartthrob Paxton visits main character Devi in her bedroom, and removes his T-shirt in a single rapid, fluid motion, revealing a ripped physique.
It’s a knowingly over-the-top moment of pure teenage fantasy, and it has gone semi-viral since the show dropped on Netflix, with guys sharing videos of their own ill-fated attempts to recreate Paxton’s smooth shirt-shedding movement.
“That was like a moment for me,” says Darren Barnet, who plays Paxton. “When I saw how many people are doing it, I had no idea that move was going to such, like, a thing.”
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the 29-year-old actor explains the hours of preparation that went into that single scene, and how it nearly ended disastrously.
“They originally told me they wanted me to take it off from behind, with one hand, and I kept choking myself,” he says. “So I was like, it’s not going to work this way, man, it’s going around my neck, so I went how about this way, doing it with the other arm, and they were like yeah, just do it as fast as you can. So I went home, and I was like [whooshing sound]. It became like muscle memory.”
Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight. 📸 @bradley206
I’ve added 1 high quality photo to the gallery, make sure to check it out!
When Darren Barnet first auditioned for his role on Netflix’s YA series “Never Have I Ever,” the name of his character was just “Paxton Hall.”
But when creators Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher found out that he had Japanese heritage, they asked the actor if he’d be interested in incorporating that into his character. And so, Paxton Hall-Yoshida was born — the good-looking jock with a heart of gold who becomes the object of protagonist Devi Vishwakumar’s (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) affection in the first season of the coming-of-age comedy.
When wardrobe designer Salvador Pérez Jr. heard Barnet speaking Japanese to assistant director Yuko Ogata, Fisher approached him to see if he’d be down to incorporating his heritage into the character. “I was like ‘Let’s do it!’” Barnet told TheWrap in a video-chat interview. “And the next thing I knew, I had a hyphenated Yoshida at the end.”
The actor, who’s had roles on shows like “SWAT” and “Criminal Minds,” said this is the first time he’s explored his heritage on screen.
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!
Darren Barnet knows he’s the designated hottie as Paxton Hall-Yoshida on “Never Have I Ever” — and he’s fine with that.
On the Netflix hit — which follows a first-generation Indian-American teenage girl and was inspired by co-creator Mindy Kaling’s own childhood — Barnet plays a popular swimmer the lead pines over and eventually befriends, albeit with a lot of complications along the way.
“I took the role knowing that they wanted Paxton to be more than that, so I don’t mind that that’s what catches the eye about him,” he told Page Six. “Shamelessly, he’s kind of a thirst trap, but I love that they humanize him and they let me humanize him and you see that there is a lot more to him than that. I just love that they gave me room to play and dig deeper than his abs.”
Barnet said his Instagram following has shot up from around 34,000 to over 600,000 in the short time the show has been out. Not surprisingly, there have been quite a few DMs and some of them are … kinda creepy.
“Every time I refresh them there’s probably like a 100 or 200 more,” he told us. “The ones that are sweet and just admiring the show I try to reply to and tell them thank you from the bottom of my heart. The ones that are asking me to take my shirt off, I usually don’t open. But yeah it’s been a lot.”
And the creepiest?
“I think one of them sending me pictures of my sisters and being like, ‘I wish I was your sister,’” remembered Barnet.
The Los Angeles native is quite a bit older than his 17-year-old character — he’s actually 29 — something he’s initially reticent to discuss, explaining that he wants “a very long career.”
“I’ve looked younger my whole life and it used to really upset me as a kid because I thought it made me less manly but now it’s really started to be a blessing.”
As for a possible Season 2, no news has been announced from Netflix yet but Barnet is hopeful that it will happen.