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.