Neil Patrick Harris: “I’m not trying to climb a ladder — I’m casting a bit of a net”

He really is everywhere — ever since his reemergence some semi-obscurity several years ago, Neil Patrick Harris has been just about everywhere — movies, television, musicals, and even hosting the Tony Awards.  Not only that, but Harris and his partner David Burtka have become new parents late last year, so he does all this while keeping track of a pair of infant twins!

Harris tells the L.A. Times that although he sometimes feel like “a vaudevillian plate spinner,” he admits he just goes about accepting whatever project he might just feel like doing at the moment.  “I like to make decisions based on things I’m interested in doing, not what seems like the next move in my quote-unquote career.  I’m not trying to climb a ladder — I’m casting a bit of a net.”

That includes Harris’ 2006 revelation of his sexuality, which certainly flies in the face of his skirt-chasing character Barney Stinson on TV’s How I Met Your Mother.  There are so many examples of talented actors working today, no matter how they live their private lives.  I’m lucky that people believe me when I’m in character.”  However, according to Harris he isn’t what the producers of the show had in mind when casting Barney.  The producers were in fact looking for a heavyset individual like John Belushi or Chris Farley (hey, what’s Artie Lange doing these days?) but Harris won them over during his audition with some physical comedy gags.  “He went into this shoulder roll that was really acrobatic,” executive producer Carter Bays says. “It’s hard not to give the part to the guy doing somersaults.”
Perhaps the biggest praise for Harris come from writer/director Josh Whedon, who directed Harris in his guest starring role in Glee and Whedon’s online Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  Whedon notes “The fact that he’s made his sexuality a nonissue is a particular kind of triumph.  He’s managed to create, maintain and embody a persona that transcends sexuality. He might not have set out to be a groundbreaker, but he is one.”  Whedon also says Harris has “a Sinatra quality” that allows him to move from media to media, adding “Through the force of his own personality and wit, he’s become something bigger than the roles he plays.  People look at him and don’t see any one of those parts — they see that guy they love.”


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