BWW Interviews: Barrett Foa
Barrett Foa has starred in two of the decade's most popular Broadway shows, Avenue Q and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and was in the original Broadway cast of Mamma Mia!. Foa moved to Los Angeles nearly two years ago, kicking his television career into high gear with guest starring roles on "Entourage," "The Closer," and "Numb3rs." He can currently be seen on the CBS drama "NCIS: Los Angeles," where he plays tech genius Eric Beale.
Broadway World Reporter Nick Orlando spoke with Foa about the new season of his hit television series and his life on Broadway.
How is Los Angeles treating you?
It's great. We had such a cool summer in LA, and then fall comes and it is so hot.
What was the deciding factor on moving to LA?
I was doing a lot of musicals in New York, then a lot of plays. I was being super picky back home in NY. I was trying to find something exciting to me, and something that would advance my career and give me the next steps needed for my resume. I figured I would go to LA for a few months and come back to New York, but then I started booking solid guest star roles.
How did "NCIS: Los Angeles" come about?
I went in and auditioned for a different role. It was between me and another guy, and I did not get it. About two weeks later, I got a call and was told that they created a role for me. My audition was good and they created this role. I couldn't believe it. That usually does not happen in television. I was a recurring guest star for 12 episodes and then they made me a series regular. We were the number one new show on television. Our numbers are so great. It's all about numbers in Hollywood.
What can you tell us about your character, Eric Beale?
Eric is a tech guru. He basically can access any camera and unlock any code that exists on Planet Earth. So, attention bad guys: if you're out there, Eric Beale will find you. It is really fun to have this access. He has eyes all over the city - actually, the world. He is a surfer, and that is great. He has never been seen in pants.
Are you a tech guru?
I am an Apple guy. I got the iPhone 4 the day it came out. I have a MacBook. I am not going to crack a code or hack into an ATM camera. I want an iPad. A few of the actors have it on set.
How is it working with the rest of the cast?
Linda Hunt is so good and so sweet. She is a Tony Award nominee and won an Oscar. Pearls just come out of her mouth. I just watched her recently in "Kindergarten Cop." LL Cool J is a huge presence. He is a music mogul. He brings that experience and that life into the room. Chris O'Donnell is our cool cucumber. Everyone is really humble and excited to be there. It's an exciting group. I am so lucky to be here.
What can fans expect from the second season?
The exciting thing is in episode four, which airs on October 5th. This is a big Eric episode. There is an addition of a new character named Nell, who is played by Renée Felice Smith. She is a theatre girl, and went to NYU. We have a ton in common. Nell is the new information analyst. There also might be a love interest going on between us. We have a blast. We also have a new series regular, Eric Christian Olsen. We get to learn more about Linda Hunt's character. I would love to learn more about LL Cool J's character. By the way, "NCIS: Los Angeles" airs on CBS, Tuesday nights, 9p ET/PT.
What have been your most memorable moments on set?
Pauley Perrette came and guest starred on our show. She is one of the leads on "NCIS." "NCIS" is in its eighth season, and is the number one show on television. I bet Broadway World fans didn't know that! It is huge. Her character, Abby, has a lot of fans. She is a goth girl.
What do you miss most about New York City?
I was born and raised in Manhattan. I love to come back. I miss Broadway: the Broadway community and the Broadway shows. I went back to NYC in June and saw 13 shows in three weeks. One of my favorites was American Idiot. I'm such a huge fan. I also miss my family and my nephew. I moved a few months after he was born. I miss the seasons, especially fall. Central Park is a biggie. I have friends that have moved to Brooklyn, so I like to hang out there. I like Prospect Park. There is a show on HBO called "How to Make It in America." It takes place in New York: the Lower East Side, downtown NYC in clubs and bars. It is very "New Yorky." I can't wait for season two.
Which has been your favorite Broadway show to be involved with?