Popular Guy: Tyler Barnhardt
Jun 13, 2020
The fourth and final season of ’13 Reasons Why’ just dropped and in typical fashion has left us all in shock and disbelief! But even through all of that, some of our biggest questions are surrounding the golden retriever like Liberty High quarterback and *spoiler* new boyfriend to Alex Standall (?!), Charlie St. George.
Tyler Barnhardt, the actor behind the WASP named, but oh so lovable, character actually first appeared in the Season 3 premiere as a doe-eyed sophomore trailing behind Luke and Monty but for those of us who remember the season, that doesn’t last for long.
The North Carolina native can also be seen in the new Amazon Prime’s Original series “Tales from the Loop” and has made guest appearances on shows such as “The Passage”, “Scorpion”, “Underground” and “Bull”.
Keep reading to find out how he learned about *THAT* ending, the boys of Tau Theta Epsilon, his view on recent events, and if a pop tart could be considered ravioli.
1. Congrats on the last two seasons of ‘13 Reasons Why’! Previous to booking the third season, were you a fan of the show?
Thank you! I’ve been a fan of the show since the very beginning. I remember getting the initial audition for the pilot, it was for Clay. I was reading the first episode and just thinking to myself that this is going to be a HUGE show and people are really gonna love it. I didn’t book Clay (shocker lol) but I did binge watch the first season when it came out in about 3 days and immediately became a fan and put “get cast in 13 Reasons Why” at the top of my goals list.
2. How did the show handle the dark themes it tackled on screen, off screen?
We had great dialogue with the shows creator, Brian Yorkey, and our wonderful producers and writers. Brian was always great about having office hours. There we could talk to him about what was going on with our character or just things in our own lives.
3. How were you able to relate to the issues tackled on the show and what character do you most relate to in the series?
When I think back on my time in high school I find myself most relating to Charlie actually (surprise surprise). Charlie, in a lot of ways, in season 4 is the bright light for his friend group. I remember in high school always trying to be the positive one and looking out for my friends. We both share golden retriever energy and I think the writers picked up on that.
4. In Charlie’s situation, what would you have done differently?
In real life I’m a pretty big rule follower, so realistically, I don’t think I would have ever gotten caught up in the framing of Monty, but my life is pretty boring and wouldn’t make a great tv show so this makes sense…
5. When/How did the cast learn and react to that ending?
It’s crazy. We knew that someone was going to die at the beginning of season 4 because we had to shoot the graduation scene when it fit the schools summer break schedule, but we didn’t know who it was and Brian wasn’t telling anyone. He didn’t want our knowledge of that character passing away to impact the way we played any of the scenes leading up to it. We all found out when we got the last two episodes. Everyone was shocked and saddened by the news of who it was.
6. What initially drew you to Tales from the Loop?
The artwork of Simon Stålenhag. The show is based off of his artwork in his book, “Tales from the Loop”. It’s beautiful and surreal. After I read the script, I was intrigued by the relationship my character shared with his best friend and was really hoping I would get to be apart of this storytelling. Sometimes I read a script and can immediately see myself in the role in my head, this was one of those times and I was lucky enough to step into the role.
7. How is the filming different from a show like Tales from the Loop and 13 Reasons?
The filming between both shows was similar in a lot of ways. The cast and crew of both shows was amazing and collaborative. I would say one way it was different was when I had free time. Because I shot most of my scenes for Tales within a month, I stayed at a hotel in Winnipeg for that time (lots of room service). 13 took place over six months so I moved to San Francisco. It was nice to have a home and a place to unwind that felt like my own space.
8. How are the boys of Tau Theta Epsilon?
I’m so glad you asked, they’re doing great! For those of you who don’t know what Tau Theta Epsilon (TOE) is, it’s the made up fraternity that Justin, Ross, Tim and I created when we lived together during season 4. It means “I want it that way” in Greek. It’s quoting the famous Backstreet Boys song, which was our house anthem. Many nights we would gather around Ross at the piano and sing our hearts out to that song. I haven’t seen them since the global pandemic happened since I’m on the east coast and they’re on the west, but we chat regularly in our TOE group message and we all cant wait to get together again soon.
9. How did you end up driving an Indy racing car?
When you’re friends with Ross sometimes you are apart of crazy things. This was one of them. We went to the Laguna Seca racetrack one weekend while we were filming to watch an IndyCar race. It was an awesome experience and during that time we got to meet the legendary driver Mario Andretti. We weren’t allowed to drive the IndyCar (probably for the best) but we rode in a custom car around the track with Mario. It was an experience of a lifetime. Right before I got in the car I had this overwhelming sense of being scared I was going to throw up on the first turn but luckily I was able to keep my cool and it was amazing!
10. You lived in North Carolina your entire life and even attended UNCG. What was the transition like from that to your current home in New York?
At the beginning of my childhood I was pretty bummed out that I was born in North Carolina not gonna lie. My mother was born up north in New Jersey and I was always jealous that I wasn’t born up north. Looking back, I know why I didn’t like saying I was from North Carolina. It was because of the states previous history being below the Mason-Dixon Line. I learned over the years while I was in high school and college though that you can be the change you want to see and I started to apply that to where I was from. Once I graduated college I stayed at home in North Carolina for two years with my family to save up so I could make the move to a larger city. When that time finally came I decided to move to New York City. Honestly, it was the transition I was looking for. I love being in a city environment. Surrounded by all types of people, being able to walk outside and go to almost any store within walking distance. I cant imagine living anywhere else right now in my life.
11. You’ve been pretty vocal on your platform about recent events. Why do you think it’s important for people to speak up?
If we don’t speak up, how will anything change? I believe it is important for us all to be able to use our voices and stand up for whats right in the world. My only regret is not using my platform sooner.
12. Do you think Pop-Tarts are a form of ravioli?
I think I thought too long about this question but ultimately…no they are not. They lack the sauce.
13. What is the last text that you sent?
“Hahaha she’s a cutie pie!” Sent to my families group chat about a picture my sister sent of our family dog lol.
14. Tell us a secret.
During college I didn’t wash my hair with shampoo for two years. Ready for this, it was the best my hair ever looked.
15. Can you tell us about any other projects you have coming up?
Unfortunately not right now. Covid-19 has pretty much shut down all projects and auditions for the time being. Excited to get back to auditioning and reading scripts when we inevitably open back up. In the meantime, If you haven’t seen all of “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix or “Tales from the Loop” on Amazon prime check them out.
(Did you just fall in love with him too?)
- Photographer Nolwen Cifuentes @nolwencif