Film and television actor Tara Lynne Barr currently stars as Laura, the witty and sarcastic daughter of Valerie (Michaela Watkins) in the Hulu series Casual (2015-2017). Barr has also worked on indie films, such as God Bless America and “Dawn,” that have premiered at festivals including Sundance, SXSW and the Toronto Film Festival.
Stateside Project is an ongoing portrait series between up-and-coming actors, models, artists, musicians, and photographers. Wearing a Stateside T-shirt, each is interviewed and photographed in their environment, be it at home, studio or out in the world.
Tara Lynne Barr is a 22-year-old actor from Orange County, California, where she got her start in theater at age 7. Her current role is on the Golden Globe nominated Hulu series Casual, directed by acclaimed directors such as Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia, Transparent) and Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air). I met Tara at the the 101 Coffee Shop in Hollywood.
How’d you get started as an actor?
I did a lot of theater as a kid and after a few years decided that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Simple! Easy! Nothing remotely complicated about it!
What inspires you?
People inspire me. I mean, I’m constantly inspired by music and films and books, and they wouldn’t exist without the passionate, courageous, creative people behind them.
What projects are you more drawn to?
The role has to be right, and that doesn’t mean she’s without flaws or complications in any way, just that she feels like a real human being. The project itself can be anything, any genre, as long as it treats the female roles with respect. I’ve been so lucky to work on a show where the writers have given us these amazing, multi-faceted characters to play, it’d be hard to go back to playing a cliché.
What are some of your interests beyond acting?
Whether I like it or not, politics has been a big one lately. I’ve been learning how to box. My cat holds a lot of my interest.
How does Laura conform or differ from the typical female teenager?
She’s very different in a lot of ways and in many ways, she just a regular teen. She contains multitudes! Which I love. She’s different in that she’s so weirdly intelligent and frank to a fault sometimes. But at her core, she’s just trying to figure out who she is and that comes with confusion and insecurity like a lot of teenagers.
What was it like to work with Carrie Brownstein?
Awesome, she’s disarmingly cool. I’m a Sleater-Kinney fan and love Portlandia so our first day was just me actively trying not to blurt out something about her work and embarrass myself. Her episodes are so good too, she’s a really talented director.
How would you describe your style?
It changes a lot. Sometimes I put a lot of thought into it and sometimes I throw something together and hope no one I know sees me. I’m a tomboy who likes wearing girly clothes semi-often, but can always be found in a pair of combat boots.
Do you recall your first favorite T-shirt?
I think I still have it. It was my sister’s first. It’s yellow and has Carol from Where the Wild Things Are on it. I can’t remember when she got it or when I took it and started wearing it but it’s the most comfortable shirt I own. And it’s yellow (I like yellow).
What’s next for you?
Being politically active, hanging out with my cat, traveling and working with people I like on things I like.