Hulu’s Golden Globe-nominated original series “Casual” returns for its third season on May 23. The 13-episode season continues to follow the relationships of a bachelor brother, his divorced sister and her teenage daughter, all living together in the same house.
WWD caught up with Tara Lynn Barr, who stars in the well-received series as the daughter, Laura, to discuss her character’s story arc in the new season, how politics influenced the plot and why she thinks it’s important to support female-led projects in Hollywood.
Catching up with her character: “At the end of season two, Laura gets brutally broken up with — rightfully so, because she ends her relationship with this guy because she finds out he’s not dying of cancer. It’s a little brutal. The only reason she’s in a relationship with him is because she knows it has a lifespan, it’s going to end at some point. And for a person who’s afraid of commitment, that’s a sigh of relief for her. And then she finds out he’s getting better — one would be like wow, this is amazing news — but unfortunately for her and all of her weird emotional intimacy hangups, she freaks out and splits — but not after getting a terrible tattoo.
“The beginning of the third season, Laura is super lonely and sad, and she’s trying to scrounge together money to afford to get rid of her tattoo. In the process she starts collecting signatures for this environmental petition, and ends up meeting this woman, who’s like this sexy, mysterious person that comes into her life and kind of flips it upside down. And sort of acts as a surrogate mother slash mentor slash potential love interest — but only in Laura’s mind.”
Both she and her character have grown since season 1: “I like to think I’ve done a little growing up. I think I’m a little bit more of a confident person. Which is weird, because Laura on the surface comes off as such a confident person, but I think we’re similar in that we both exude confidence and deep down maybe there’s a little more insecurity there. I think that’s one way that I relate to her a lot.”
The influence of the U.S. presidential election seeps into this season: “The day after the election, I texted the creator of our show and was like, ‘OK, I need you to make Laura militantly anti-Trump.'”
Her character gets politically involved: “Our show is much more about relationships than it is about politics, but politics definitely sneaks its way in. Laura goes and speaks at a city council meeting — and having this conflict where she’s trying to figure out who she is, she really values authenticity. She’s really politically active this season, and comes less from a place of just interest in it and more from a place of wanting to see justice done in the world. There are no direct mentions of Donald Trump or anything like that; it’s kind of like an inherent vibe throughout her story line.”
The election also contributed to this season’s humor: “I feel like this season is even more funny, funnier than the first two seasons. Which could be directly influenced by the election and just thinking, OK, do we make a political show, or do we go the opposite direction and just try to bring more joy into people’s lives when they’re feeling like their world is turned upside down?”
In January, Barr participated in the Women’s March in D.C.: “We got in the night before, and were walking around Foggy Bottom, and it was like a ghost town. There was a creepy fog that had set on Foggy Bottom. The next morning, it was cloudy but it was bright and beautiful. The signs were ridiculous. I follow this Instagram account called @nastysigns. It’s just sign after sign of super smart people writing funny little quips about our president. It has totally made Instagram a more beautiful place for me.”
She has an affinity for female-led projects: “I’ve found myself lately really drawn to projects that are directed, written and produced by women. I think that’s just a result of the political climate. I’m just taking meetings with writers, directors — and I want to work with women. Not because men are terrible or not talented, but because I think rather than just letting progress happen as it happens, it’s sort of our responsibility now in this political climate to really makes this change aggressively, and wherever we see fit. And the statistics in Hollywood as far as woman directors and even women cinematographers are concerned, it’s just really depressing. So it’s, like, might as well make it happen now rather than later.
Female directors she would love to work with: “I love Sofia Coppola. Not just the substance of her work, but stylistically it’s amazing. I really would love to work with Reed Morano — she was a cinematographer first, which is amazing. There are so many [female directors] that are undiscovered because they’re just not given a chance to show what they’re made of.”
Directors have the power to affect change: “We don’t know if we get a season four yet — season three hasn’t even aired yet. In the meantime, I’m just looking for things that aren’t just good, but the people behind them — I want them to have a point of view and opinion. If they’re active politically, that’s even better, because you need all the help you can get. Especially in Hollywood, because I feel like people listen to directors.”
Her own approach to acting: “I’m an actor with very much a cinematographer or editor’s brain.”
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