We had the amazing opportunity to interview Barrett Carnahan! Check it out below.
Thank you for granting the interview, Barrett! We’re excited to learn about your latest projects. “The Thundermans” was an awesome show. You played Link Evilman. Tell us about your experience on the set.
Being cast in The Thundermans was such a blessing. From the very first episode, something about it immediately felt like home. The cast and crew, after only one season, had become so incredibly close. I walked into the table-read, and it was like walking into a big family gathering. It sounds intimidating to put it that way, but they welcomed me with open arms. To this day, I’ve never felt more welcome on a set.
Doing eleven episodes of The Thundermans was such a huge learning experience for me. It was my first time doing comedy. And on top of that, it was my first time doing multi-cam. For someone without much comedic training, it was a huge leap. It’s a kid’s show, so the timing has to be perfect, the beats have to hit just right, and the energy has to be high. My natural tendency is to remain reserved and subtle on camera, so being big brought me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible. And of course, learning the technicalities of working on a multi-cam sitcom has helped me in so many roles since.
Two years before I moved to Los Angeles, my dad and I made a trip here. I remember pulling over on the side of the road next to Paramount Pictures. We looked at the gate leading into the studio, talking about the history that’s been made in those stages. I told my dad “One day, Dad, I’m gonna drive through those gates. Not for a tour, but to work.” Two years later, I booked the role of Link on The Thundermans. I soon found out that the show shot on stage 25 of Paramount Pictures. So, being cast in the show was literally a dream come true.
What inspired you to become an actor?
Acting is in my blood. My dad got bit by the bug at a young age and, like me, grew up in the theater. When he was old enough, he moved to California to pursue it as a career – I guess I followed in his footsteps. I think before I even knew what acting was, I was already doing it. I had a very vivid imagination as a kid. My backyard was a new backdrop every day. Whether I was walking through the woods like I was in the Amazon, or pretending the my playset was a pirate ship… I was always being someone else.
If I had to narrow it down to one moment that inspired me, it’d have to be this. I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark religiously from the time I first saw it at three years old. I’m pretty sure my mom had to buy another VHS copy because it got so worn out. I would watch it over and over again. When I could finally bring myself to shift my focus to another movie, the next in line was Star Wars. Now at this age, I didn’t really have a grasp on what movies were. To me, they were these events that were really happening inside my TV. And somehow, magically, they could happen over and over again. So when Han Solo swaggered onto the screen, I told my mom “Han Solo looks a lot like Indiana Jones.” Then when she explained to me that they were the same person, my mind was absolutely blown. Whatever that guy did, I wanted in. That was my first understanding of what an actor was.
You like to diversify your portfolio. Is there a project you’re working on that you’re excited about?
I’m currently recurring on the upcoming Freeform series Grown-ish. It’s the spin-off of the ABC series Black-ish. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal too much about the character. But what I can say, is that the role has definitely given me a chance to venture out of my comfort zone. And that’s something that I welcome. I’m still relatively new to the industry, so I haven’t had many chances to do that. I think it’s very easy for an actor of any type to fall into a comfort zone. They figure out what they do well and they keep at it. There’s nothing wrong with it, there are so many incredible character actors out there. But I know that I want to take any chance I can get to do something different.
What do you enjoy most about acting?
My imagination ran wild as a kid. I was always writing stories and putting on performances, even if I was by myself, playing in the backyard. But something I always struggled with, and still do today, was my communication skills. I’ve always had a lot of passion, and emotion and ideas, but I’ve never been good at conveying them to people. When I discovered acting, I quickly realized that it gave me a voice that I never had before. I could use everything that I felt inside my heart and mind to fuel these words that I was given. Ever since, the roles that I’ve enjoyed most are those that are strongly opinionated, eager and outspoken. It’s the person that I’ve always had difficulty in being. That’s the greatest gift you can receive being an actor; becoming a different version of yourself, or even someone else entirely.
Is there a role you would like to play one day?
I’m lucky enough to still be able to play younger than my actual age, giving me more opportunities. I was recently up for a role of a 16 year old – the gift of a youthful face. Being over 18 and able to continue to play these characters helps out production a lot, so that in turn gives me a leg up. However, there is somewhat of a downside to it. People have always told me that I’m an old soul, that I come off much older than I actually am. The roles that I dream of playing are all 20 years my senior. I’ve always had this fascination with characters (married, usually with children) that have had to deal with an overwhelming amount of weight on their shoulders. Men that go from having a perfectly normal life, to having everything crumble around them. Men that will do whatever is necessary for their family, good or bad. The role that I always think of is Michael Corleone. Every decision he made over The Godfather Part I and II, was not for selfish reasons. He did what he had to do to provide and protect his family. The performance that Al Pacino gave, the transformation of this incredible character, made his career.
I know it will be a long while before I get the opportunity for a role like that, but all I can do is use the time and opportunities I’m given right now to grow, learn and prepare for it.
Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t asked?
In the last year, I’ve been delighted to discover a passion for writing. It’s become as important of an endeavor for me as acting. It’s taken up such a large amount of my time, and I couldn’t be happier about that. It was about a year and a half ago when my roommate and I realized that we both had the itch to write a film. We had no idea we should write about, but from our strong motivation (and a few brainstorming sessions), we came up with an idea. After several weeks of outlining, we had the skeleton for a film – one that we were dying to see… now we just had to write it. One year later we finished our first draft, and now we’re currently working on the second! It’s been an amazing journey.