We chose “Hellcats” resident townie Matt Barr as one of Zap2it’s Ones to Watch this season, and he hasn’t disappointed us so far. Not only is he relatable, but he’s completely charming and super cute. That accent doesn’t hurt, either.
We’ll also stand by our assertion that he looks like the love child of Blake Lively and Chad Michael Murray. We say that with love.
Though Barr’s character, Dan, has recently struck up a romance with Savannah (Ashley Tisdale), his feelings for Marti (Aly Michalka) still run deep. “They’ve grown up together, kind of like Forest and Jenny, and you know, he loves her. He’s in love with her, whether he’s told her or not,” Barr told Zap2it when we visited the Vancouver set.
Barr admits that Marti and Dan have a history together that may have ventured beyond BFF territory. “I just got some big news about Marti and Dan’s background that I’m not allowed to talk about, but it’s something that really does define their relationship a bit,” he teases.
Michalka adds that Marti’s past with Dan will complicate things with Savannah. “Marti wants to protect Savannah,” she says. “She doesn’t want her to know about the past that she’s had with Dan and the fact that there are feelings there. It kind of comes out of left field for her when she’s like ‘Oh, wait a minute, Dan’s my best friend, we’ve kind of gone there before, and now what should I do about this situation where he’s dating my best friend?’ It starts to get a little bit messy.”
Initially, Dan lived up to his “player” label, reminding Savannah that their relationship was non-exclusive and strictly casual. Now that they’re more serious, we can’t help but wonder if Dan is still playing Savannah while he harbors feelings for Marti.
“I think as Dan sees Marti sort of engaged in these other things and moving further away from him,” Barr tells us. “Maybe it’s a bit of a defense mechanism that he sort of jumps into something else. I think that’s half of it. That might’ve been the catalyst of why he jumped in the water with Savannah, but I think he’s genuinely intrigued by this girl. He’s having these feelings for Savannah and he’s having a moral
dilemma. I like this girl, but since I was 7 years old I’ve literally
been in love with Marti Perkins.”
We love the interaction between laid-back Dan and high-strung Savannah, who borders on obsessive-compulsive. Opposites definitely attract here. “He lives in the moment, and kind of is engaged by whatever’s right in front of him,” Barr says. “She’s so different than him. She kind of is this good, Christian girl, and Dan’s probably never dated anyone like this girl in his life.”
He may seem pretty happy-go-lucky, but as he told Savannah’s family at last week’s awkward dinner party, Dan has experienced some major tragedy in his life. His mother’s death, just two years ago, had a deep impact on his goals.
“When something so traumatic and sort of definitive happens, it sets you on a different trajectory in your life. No matter where Dan was headed, I think it sort of broadened his perspective a bit and make him think about what he wants,” says Barr.
Dan is now taking a few baby steps toward his dream, which is to be a filmmaker. Thanks to Savannah’s encouragement, he now has the opportunity to direct the Hellcats’ bid video. Still, he’s always held back by his dedication to protecting the people he loves.
“He’s from a small town outside Memphis, where no one’s encouraged to become an artist, so I think he still dances on the line of following his passion and doing what has to be done, taking care of his family,” Barr explains. “He did assume that burden of caretaker a bit. We see that with him and Marti. He’s kind of a grounded guy, and he does have some of those caretaker tendencies.”
Even with the bid video in the works, Dan sometimes feels like he’s been left on the sidelines as Marti becomes more integrated in the Hellcats’ world. When we first chatted with Barr, we asked if he’d ever jump into the world of dance routines and cheerleading stunts.
“I hope not, because they work way too hard, and they train on the weekends, and I get to eat donuts and drink coffee,” he laughed.
When we checked in with him a few weeks later, he was still happy to miss out on rehearsal hours — but he was considering a change of heart. “None of them sleep. They shoot during the day and rehearse at night and on the weekends. They hate me,” he jokes. “But to be honest with you, we’ve become such a family up here in Vancouver that I feel like we all went to war together. I need to be in the trenches with them. Maybe I’ll just do it for fun.”
Dan is about to get thrown into the Hellcats mix as he directs their video. Wondering what else there is to look forward to for Mr. Patch? Barr says that in upcoming episodes, Dan will spend some quality time with Marti’s mom Wanda, deal with Alice’s bad attitude, and experience an incredibly awkward slumber party at Cheer Town.
For now, though, Dan remains on the outside looking in, which is just fine with Barr.
“I like that it’s a bit of Dan vs. the world, at least in my mind. Being the outsider adds a little challenge and it’s something fun to play with as an actor.”
So who do you think makes the better couple – Dan and Marti, or Dan and Savannah? Vote below, and for much more from Barr, don’t miss our on-set video. Tune into “Hellcats” Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST on The CW.
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