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SIMPLY JESSICA: Actor Matt Barr talks about his southern upbringing

Fort Worth, Texas, has magic in the sky that actor Matt Barr misses.

Barr is best known for his role as Dan Patch on CW’s “Hellcats.”

“As beautiful as Southern California is, it doesn’t have the mythical skies that are in the South,” Barr said. “You have to see it.”

Barr loves how warm and inviting the south is. He sees himself as a Texan southern transplant living in Los Angeles.

“I love southern people,” Barr said. “You are loud, proud and laugh a lot. When I think of Texas, I think of working hard and playing harder. You are one huge family if you are from Texas. You are part of something bigger than yourself. I love being a part of that family.”

His southern childhood upbringing helps him in Hollywood.

He grew up with this motto from his father: “Do not be afraid to win.”

“It is not just believing you can do something,” Barr said. “It is about not being afraid to be great and that you deserve it. I learned that I deserve to do what I do and there is a place for me out here.”

Barr put his father’s words to the test when he met and told Kevin Costner that it was his childhood dream to play his son in a movie.

His dream came true when Barr was cast in “Hatfields & McCoys.”

Barr was cast to play Costner’s son in the television miniseries.

Like any childhood dream, it comes with challenges.

“There was so much weight in that role,” Barr said. “It was an opportunity to do something special. The potential to be great was there. I really worked hard on trying to find those moments.”

Barr worked on the 15-year passage of time that the character endured and the choices the character had to make during that time.

“It was tough work,” Barr added. “I learned so much as an actor.”

From time to time, Barr thinks back to that role.

“I would love to do it all over again based on what I have learned,” Barr said. “I suppose that is how it goes as an artist.”

The two things that Barr dislikes about the South are humidity and the narrow-minded conservatives that live there.

“If you are not used to the southern heat, it’s like David and Goliath,” Barr said. “It will bring you to your knees. I find myself complaining like an old woman about the humidity.”

Barr’s tone changes to light and breezy when he talks about his dream southern project. He is producing a movie called “Twelve Mighty Orphans” about an orphanage in Fort Worth during the Great Depression and the coach that inspires them to be great.

“The coach is 40 year old in the piece,” Barr said. “I’m going to do this piece in 10 years when I am 40. It has great characters and an awesome hero that is lacking in movies today. He’s one of my heroes. I would be honored to play this coach.”

Matt Barr
Matt Barr

What does this Texan actor do for fun?

He loves to eat. He sees himself as an iron chef food critic.

His favorite food is mashed potatoes and sushi.

Barr describes himself as adventuresome, silly, happy, neurotic and passionate. He is passionate about adventure.

“A part of me wants to go off the grid,” Barr said. “I wouldn’t make it that long, but if I did, I would make my own sushi.”

His favorite color is blue.

His favorite subject in high school was drama.

“The girls in drama were hot and experimental,” Barr said.

Barr laughs as he tells what character to date he is the most like.

“I played Dan Patch on ‘Hellcats,’” Barr said. “He was a good southern boy. Dan was the ‘salt of the earth’ type of guy. I was raised to be like that. I consider myself to be a good southern boy who likes adventure.”

His role as Nick on “Sleepy Hollow” allowed him to explore adventure.

“I seek out adventure daily in my life,” Barr said. “I love playing Nick, who is an adventurer for hire. He gets paid to dig up treasures.

“I wanted to be an adventurer when I was a kid, I become an actor which is the next best thing.”

It is Nick Hawley’s confidence that Barr loved bringing to life.

“He had a good balance of masculinity and vulnerability,” he said.

Barr is not as reckless as the adventure character he plays.

“If I was 10 percent of Nick, I would be happy,” Barr said. “I’m 75 percent Nick, the other 25 percent of Nick is more reckless. I love Nick for it. He is a little more dangerous than I am in my life.”

Barr is excited about his two future movie projects.

His upcoming movie project called “The Layover” follows two girlfriends played by Kate Upton and Alexandra Daddario who decide to take a girl trip. Along they way they run into a guy (played by Barr) who is supposed to be the perfect man.

“It was a thrill to be directed by William Macy,” Barr said. “He’s a legendary actor. It was so much fun to work with him.”

Barr is excited for people to watch “The Layover.”

“The girls road trip turns into a competition about who can win over the affection of this guy,” Barr said. “I’m stuck in the triangle of these two girls fighting blood, sweat and tears for my heart. The comedy is grounded in truth.”

Barr sees “The Layover” as an amazing road trip film.

“Free Fallin’” by Tom Petty is the song that Barr listens to on road trips.

“Every road trip has to start with that song,” Barr said.

Joseph Mazzello directs his upcoming movie called “Undrafted.”

The story is based on Mazzello’s brother’s experience as a collegiate baseball star who was skipped over in the Major League Baseball draft. It centers on an intramural baseball game with his misfit teammates that becomes incredibly important to him as he tries to come to grips with his dashed dream.

“It was inspired by one of my favorite movies called ‘The Sandlot,’” Barr said. “It’s a splice of life story about how you did not achieve the dreams you had and how you re-evaluate your life in your mid to late 20s after you have missed certain windows but you still have a lot of life left.”

Barr loves to watch adventure television shows about nature.

His dream movie role is to play Alexander the Great.

His favorite books are non-fiction books.

“l love reading books about World War II and the Great Depression,” Barr said. “I’m fascinated by that time period. I also love Westerns. I wanted to be a cowboy like every little boy in Texas.”

As my interview comes to a close, Barr tells me what medical condition he would raise awareness on for a child.

“There is a lack of education about depression for kids,” Barr said. “Depression is close to my heart because of my family and friends.”

Barr calls depression an invisible disease.

“Depression is wildly misunderstood, Barr added. “It’s not only the chemical struggle that is difficult, but the persecution around it and the judgmental attitude toward it makes it more difficult.”

Be yourself! I’m Simply Jessica JcAden. You can reach me at jess.gosnell@gmail.com.