1 Reason Tara Lynne Barr Took a Break From Acting

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Photo Source: Jeff Forney

Here’s a Nickelodeon vet who’s all grown up. As Laura on Hulu’s latest original series, “Casual,” Tara Lynne Barr is on the tip of many a tongue as one of this fall’s breakout talents.

On playing Laura.
“Laura is a very sarcastic, dry, wise-beyond-her-years teenager. She’s going through her parents’ divorce when the show begins. She and her mom go to live with her uncle, Alec, and they’re trying to sort of rebuild their lives after this really ugly split. Her mom is trying to get back into the dating world, and her uncle has always been a perpetual bachelor. So Laura kind of assumes the responsibility of being the pseudo-adult in the family.”

On combining realism with comedy.
“I love a good comedy, but the slapstick sitcom belly-laugh sort of comedy—the multicam thing—is not really where my interests lie. I’m very interested in single-cam, in intimate portraits. I like it when comedies have a little bit of realism and a little bit of darkness to them. It makes them more palatable and more relatable and grounded.”

On working with Oscar-nominated producer-director Jason Reitman.
“I knew it was going to be special simply by the people who are involved: Jason Reitman and his producing partner Helen Estabrook. The two of them produce amazing films and he directs amazing films, so I was sweaty palms, shaky knees going into the ‘Casual’ audition. It’s miraculous that I got the gig, but it’s just the cherry on top, [working with] such a creative force.”

On finding characters with depth.
“I’m really drawn to characters where there’s so much more going on underneath what they present to the world. I find that really intriguing. There’s such a rich inner life going on with those characters. I’ve been lucky enough to play roles that are not just the preppy cheerleader or sullen emo girl. I’ve been able to play roles that are really vast and varied and very three-dimensional. Fingers crossed that it remains the same.”

On taking a break from acting for a “normal upbringing.”
“I started out doing theater when I was really young and I completely fell in love with it. I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I started auditioning for things when I was in my early teens, and I had a lot of friends who were homeschooled and the business and acting was their sole focus. This sounds terrible and I’m sorry to say it, but they didn’t really seem focused on having a life—a normal upbringing. It’s important to the craft that you experience things and that you live as normal a life as possible. You’re not going to be playing ‘homeschooled actor.’ You’re going to be playing a real human being with experiences. Living life as normally as possible gives you a richer well of experiences to draw from.”

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