Flixclusive Interview: Tara Lynne Barr, God Bless America


While Geoff wasn’t as enthralled with Bobcat Goldthwait’s latest movie, God Bless America, I unabashedly love it. And part of the reason the movie works so well is the talent of newcomer Tara Lynn Barr. This week, I had the chance to sit down with Tara and discuss shooting guns out of a car, subtle performances, not relating to the mainstream. 

Tara is a great actress who is really going to go far, and I can’t to see what the future holds for her. And look for my interviews with writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait, and star Joel Murray coming tomorrow!

Flixist: Tell me what it was like to work with Bobcat.

Tara: It was really great, especially since this is my first film that I’ve had any substantial role in. And to have an on-set atmosphere that’s so…it’s like movie camp! No one is higher in rank than anyone else. Like, Joel [Murray] was moving cords and wires, and I’m just trying to take it all in and learn as much as I can. Everybody is changing their own cars. There’s just no egos, no hierarchy. It’s just people going to make this movie, and I’m kind of spoiled in that sense because I know not every movie is going to be like that.

It’s rare that you come across something like that, seeing as a bunch of indies these days are so “mainstream” and controlled by Hollywood types.

Oh, I totally agree. This is such an “indie” indie. There’s so many…well, I’ve never seen the movie, and I have nothing against the movie itself, but with (500) Days of Summer, everyone was like “Oh that’s such an indie film”, but it’s really not. It’s mainstream.

Was there anything that you learned on this shoot that you don’t think you could’ve learned anywhere else?

Probably how to shoot a gun. I mean, I probably could’ve learned to do that anywhere else. But they throw it on you, and you’re going to be filmed shooting this gun, so you better know how to do it the right way. A lot of the things that I did learn on the film, like how to successfully hang out of a car shooting a gun without falling out. You know, the essential life skills. There was no “So, we’re going to send you to a trainer, and we’ll brief you on how to do this.” It was literarily “Ever shot a gun before?” We went to a shooting range once, and then we were on set shooting guns. Everything I learned wasn’t cultivated, it was “Do this now, and do it well.” So you just have to hit the ground running and see where it takes you.

I saw you’re doing voiceover work on Prototype 2.

Yeah! You know, I’m not really a gamer. But when I tell people, they all go “Wha? Prototype 2?” Their ears perk up…I guess people really like it. 

Is there any chance we’ll be able to hear your voice in other games or movies?

There’s another game called Secret World that Funcom is putting out, and a couple guys from Norway have been working on it for years now. It’s an MMO, and I’ll be voicing a couple of characters actually. It’s fun, and I want to do more voice work! It’s fun, it’s easy, and you’re only there for 40 minutes at a time. But I need to get into gaming now because I get people on Twitter asking me “Hey, do you like gaming? This game?” And I’m left going “Ahh! I don’t know!” 

How much do you resonate with Roxy?

I see myself in that character, and I’m going to try and say this in the least pretentious way possible. The reason why she’s kind of ostracized at school is because she’s smart, and because she’s different, and she has opinions about things that aren’t “Who’s the best character on Jersery Shore?” She knows about politics, and she knows about musicians, not just Justin Bieber or Rihanna, or those people. She likes Alice Cooper. She’s not the most mainstream person out there, and I hope that doesn’t sound hipster or to indie. But I’m kind of like that. My favorite musical artists are Bob Dylan, Jimmy Hendrix, and Joni Mitchell. I don’t watch reality TV, and I don’t watch…it’s hard for me to communicate with the people who only talk about that. And that’s how Roxy is. She has no way to relate to them because she’s so far removed from that crowd. And that’s why she relates to Frank so much; they’re both old souls.

But I’m not a psychopath. There’s one difference I can pinpoint. There’s so much more to that, though. She’s a sensitive person, and her humanity is shown so often, that some people fail to recognize it. She becomes an excited little girl when she finds out that they’re going out on a killing spree. And she also gets really bummed out that they’re going to split up. 

Roxy really does have a bunch of those really subtle, quiet moments in the film.

Yeah, there are a few quiet moments between Frank and Roxy that some people look over. But it’s such a human relationship; they’re not caricatures.

I mean, that’s what I really loved about your performance. It’s just these really subtle moments, like when they’re lying head-to-toe in the hotel bed.

And the fact that their relationship isn’t what you expect it to be. Y’know, the typical way their relationship would play out is that they’d become romantic. Bobcat, Joel, and I have all heard from people saying “I’m so glad you didn’t go that direction with this, because this much more decent.” And it’s more real this way. They’re not trying to sensationalize it, this is just a real relationship between two people. 

What’s next for you?

Well, I’m doing voice work in those two videogames. Prototype 2 is already out, and Secret World comes out in…August? Aside from that, I’m a working actor. I’m always auditioning, always looking for the next job. Hopefully, this will lead to new things and opportunities. And if not, this has been an incredible experience that I’ll always appreciate. I’m not expecting anything, but it would be nice!

Look for God Bless America in select theatres this Friday, and OnDemand right now.