Interview: Tara Lynne Barr

From the interview archives.

Tara Lynne Barr may only be 23, but she’s been acting since she was inspired to perform after watching her sister on stage at the Clubhouse Theatre as a young girl. Now, you can catch Tara as the spunky, rebellious Laura Meyers in Hulu’s Casual. VULKAN probed Tara about her time so far on the series, what it’s like to have Michaela Watkins portraying her mother and what we can hope to see as the series progresses. There may be some spoilers below if you’re not all caught up! 

How would you say Laura has changed since we first met her in Season 1?

I’d say she’s matured in some ways and regressed in others. She seems much more self-aware in terms of her relationship hang-ups, but for the first time she’s admitting to herself how hurt she is by her mom’s absence and is frankly surprised by how much she still needs Valerie’s presence in her life. 

Why is Laura so compelled by Casey? What does she see in her that she seems to crave, and is Casey aware of the power she holds?

Well for one, Casey is beautiful and smart and passionate and tells it like it is but she also acts as a sort of surrogate mother to Laura at a time when her mom is pretty absorbed in her own issues. Casey becomes her mentor and guardian and love interest all tied into one. I don’t think she means to lead Laura on but then again, I don’t think she realized how rudderless Laura was to begin with. 

One thing that has remained relatively constant is Laura’s desire to find a place outside of her family dynamic, something that is of course common for a teenager, but do you think there is something in particular she is looking for, and why does she think she can’t get it from her family? Despite their dysfunction, they do seem to all gravitate towards each other when they need support.

She definitely is seeking something more than what she’s getting from her mom and dad and uncle. I think it has a lot to do with her having no legitimate examples of healthy relationships in her life. She doesn’t have high hopes that she’ll be able to grow beyond her family’s dysfunction and is looking for other ways to find happiness and fulfillment. They do often times find their way back to one another when they need it most but whether or not it’s healthy is debatable. 

If Laura had a proper sit-down conversation with Valerie and Alex about the issues they’ve gone through and how it she thinks it has been affecting her development, what do you think she would say to them? Do you think she is self-aware enough to understand how her family dynamic is guiding her choices?

That’s a great question. I think she actually has had some pretty direct conversations with Valerie and Alex about why they are the way they are. With Valerie being a therapist I don’t think she could help but raise a daughter who’s inquisitive and asks tough questions. But I think Laura is also tired of having to be the adult in the family. She’d love to be asked “is everything okay? What can I do to help?” 

Will we see more of Valerie’s half brother Rich going forward? Do you think she would have had the courage to meet him without Jack by her side?

I have no clue! Stay tuned! I personally think she would’ve had the courage to meet Rich on her own but I don’t think she’d have felt as compelled to meet him if her relationship with Alex wasn’t so strained. 

Where do you hope to see the story go as Casual progresses into Season 4, what kind of situation would you like to see Laura face? 

If we get a 4th season I’d love to see Laura making friends! Like real friends. Not complicated by sex. It may be a pretty lofty aspiration considering the tone of our show but a girl can dream! I’d also love to see her and Valerie iron out the kinks they’ve got in their relationship. 

The Meyers family is so relatable even in the craziest of situations; what do you think is their most redeeming quality as a whole?

I think their most redeeming quality is their capacity for warmth. I mean of course they’re smart and funny but when they care about someone or something they reveal so much tenderness. But it’s well hidden. When I read a script that has a quiet, intimate moment like that I just melt. 

The on-screen chemistry has been amazing to see. What has been the best part about working with this cast?

Thank you! This cast is just the best, honestly, no egos or pretension, they’re just genuinely good people. I truly can’t say enough nice things. We’d be here forever. 

In what ways might you say your on screen mom Valerie (Michaela Watkins) is similar to your own mother?

They have very different parenting styles but if Valerie and my mom have one thing in common it’s that they really f*cking love their kids. They have different ways of showing it obviously (my own mom is incredibly present and supportive of my sister and me), but despite Valerie being absent from Laura’s life later this season I never doubted her love for her daughter.

Who is your all time favourite actress, if you had to choose just one?

Oh god that’s too hard! I love so many for different reasons but if I absolutely had to pick one, it’d be Julianne Moore. The directors she’s worked with, the roles she’s played, how totally different they are, I could go on. 

Who would you drop everything for the opportunity to work with? (Actors, Directors, Producers, Writers…)

Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Frances McDormand, Alfonso Cuaron, the Coen Brothers, Reed Morano, RuPaul, Patricia Arquette. 

What’s next for you?

I have a lot of podcasts to catch up on and will have to feed and pet my cat pretty regularly so I’m a little overwhelmed. 

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