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April 19, 2014

Matt Barr On His 'Hellcats' Character, Dan: 'He's a Good Ol' Salt-of-the-Earth Type of Guy'

by Jean Bentley, posted Nov 17th 2010 5:35PM
Matt Barr on 'Hellcats'As Dan, the everyman BFF of cheerleader Marti on The CW's 'Hellcats,' Matt Barr is finally playing a character his mother approves of.

After a stint on 'One Tree Hill' playing an attempted rapist who holds two high school girls hostage on prom night, Barr's family is happy to watch him play a normal character again. "My family likes 'Hellcats,'" Barr said when he phoned TV Squad last week during a break from filming his hit show. "They're like 'Oh, we can actually watch you.'"

Far from the heavy issues plaguing 'OTH''s "psycho" Derek, Dan's major problems on 'Hellcats' are mostly of the girl-related variety. Stuck in a juicy love triangle between his free-spirited childhood best friend, Marti, and her religious roommate, Savannah, Dan has some major decision-making to do.

Read on to find out who Barr's rooting for in the Marti-Savannah-Dan love triangle, his admiration for Bear Grylls, and why the name Matt Barr is now synonymous with "murderer rapist pedophile."

I hear Dan has some crazy juicy stuff coming up with Marti and Savannah. What can you tell me about it?
Yeah, the word juicy fits it well. Juices are flowing. I don't even know if I'm allowed to say that. Dan and Marti buried their feelings for one another and their natural instincts take over, so they allow it to get the best of them and that complicates things with Savannah. Dan falls into this spiral of guilt trying to figure out how to balance these two women and what he really wants.

I think he feels like his destiny is with Marti -- she's his soulmate -- but there's something so alive about Savannah, something new and different. Dan's a young guy, he's still growing and evolving, so maybe there's something there that he has yet to discover. I personally really like the Dan and Savannah relationship. I think it's fun.

'Hellcats'Is that who you think Dan should be with?
I'm torn because I feel like there's this natural destiny with Marti -- they're just supposed to grow old together -- but I see Dan being so engaged by Savannah. The life that they could have together, they could really complement one another.

Do you think Savannah has helped him grow?
Yeah. I think Dan had somewhat of a protective armor up. I don't think he let himself invest in anything of depth. He's so taken by this woman that he's allowed himself to shed the armor and be a bit vulnerable, and it's just not like him. He's such a classic bachelor, likes to keep things on the surface.

She did get him to settle down.
Yeah, I don't know. Maybe those are all things that are going to help him navigate his way back to Marti, inevitably.

What happens
when Savannah learns what's going on?
It backs Dan into a corner and he's faced with an ultimatum -- he has to choose. He's up against it, man. He eventually makes a choice and does something a little bit radical for him that we'll see coming up soon. I actually still don't know how it's going to resolved because the pot's still being stirred. It's good. The whole Dan-Marti-Savannah triangle is just getting more complicated.

How is Lewis taking this?
It creates a rift between Lewis and Marti. Dan and Lewis have kind of built this nice little friendship too, they've become bros and of course that gets challenged by this whole thing. It seems like once again Dan just becomes an outcast. Just as he was starting to get integrated into the Hellcat world, he's no longer a part of the fraternity anymore.

Are you jealous of your co-stars who get to do all the cool cheerleading stuff?
No! They have to work their asses off! They're on strict diets and workouts, they have to train on the weekends. I can drink coffee and eat a donut and go to the park. They can keep it. You know what, to be honest with you, at times there's such a camaraderie that comes along with that. I kind of feel like every week they go to war with all the training and putting together the routines, so yes -- I do want to be a part of the platoon.

'Hellcats'Do you identify with Dan?
I do in many ways -- that's why I wanted to do the show. He reminds me of the people I grew up with back in Texas. He's a good ol' salt-of-the-earth type of guy. There's something kind of real, honest and authentic about those guys. They're sort of no bullshit, and that's just the way I was raised. I like people like that. He's a really earnest guy and doesn't like to play games. I think I live life that way. And we both say "y'all."

Yeah, you get to use your natural accent.
For a lot of roles I've had to lose the accent, but this is one where I can just be myself. It's easy.

Dan is a good guy, but you played psycho Derek on 'One Tree Hill.' What's it like to play a sane, normal character on The CW?

It's less fun! It's fun playing the bad guy! I miss my tattoo, I'm going to be honest. It's like you get to live out your childhood fantasies, being an actor. That's why I loved 'One Tree,' because I don't think I'd ever try to kill anybody or be thrown out of a window. I've always liked playing those kind of characters and I hope I get a chance to do more.

But we don't want to see Dan go in that direction.
Because fans seem to know me so well from 'One Tree Hill,' they often ask me "When is Dan going start killing people on 'Hellcats'?" I'm like, "Really? I think he's actually a good guy." And they're like "Nooo. We know."

They think you're going to snap!
Yeah, it comes along with being Matt Barr. You're a murderer rapist pedophile. My grandma is so happy.

That's going to be my headline, by the way.
[Laughs.] That's why my family likes 'Hellcats.' They're like "Oh, we can actually watch you." My mom was like "I do not like this show" but 'Hellcats,' she's fine with it.

Since we're a TV website, what are you watching on TV right now?
I love 'Eastbound and Down.' I watch 'Dexter.' My favorite show is 'Man vs Wild' on the Discovery Channel, because the guy can go into a jungle and come out an hour later -- he'll go in with just a knife and come out with, like, a full jacket made out of a water buffalo. His shoes are made out of the skulls of crocodiles. This is the coolest guy on Earth. I definitely have a man crush on that 'Man vs Wild' dude. I think if I weren't an actor I would want to be a professional survival guy.

I imagine there aren't many openings in that field.
Yeah, I know. It's like, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Indiana Jones.

Good luck with that! So if you could be on any show besides 'Hellcats,' what would you choose?

I want to be on shows that are set in a specific period, like 'Mad Men' or 'Boardwalk Empire.' I always love getting out of reality. 'The Tudors.' I love different periods, it feels like a different world. One of those.

[Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean]

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