Birth name: Darren Charles Barnet
Darren Charles Barnet was born on April 27, 1991 in Los Angeles, California to his parents, his mother is a former actress and journalist, and his father was a well-known music agent. He is the second of three children, having an older sister, Jennifer, and a younger half-sister, Emily. Barnet is of Swedish, Japanese, German, and Cherokee ancestry. At the age of five, he wanted to become an actor, but didn’t feel it was in reach because he was more of an introvert. His family relocated to Orlando, Florida where he would eventually graduate Dr. Phillips High School in 2009, where he played lacrosse. He went on to Berry College where he was one of the inaugural recipients of the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship, a program which would help students work through college to be able to graduate with little to no debt. While at Berry, Barnet started taking a serious interest in acting while learning video production. He would earn a role in Berry College Theatre Company’s production of The Last Night of Ballyhoo as Joe Farkas. He continued to act on stage, as well as in short films. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Communications, he decided to make the move back to Los Angeles to pursue acting full-time.
Barnet starred in the short film Storage as Victor, beginning his film acting career, continuing on with short films until his television debut. His first professional acting job came as Kirby on The Untitled Nicole Byer Project but before the pilot ever aired, the entire cast was recasted; thus, giving Barnet a small, yet memorable television debut as Young Jack Pearson on the mega-hit This Is Us in its first season in 2017. Throughout the year, he had guest appearances on episodes of Criminal Minds and S.W.A.T. and starred in the short series Simi Valley as Chase, which was based on actual events. He would even star in a short film titled Mr. Machine as Remi the same year. In 2018, Barnet landed his first film, Instakiller, a Lifetime movie following a woman’s teenage daughter becoming internet-famous and how frightening that can become. The television series Turnt, a drama following an ensemble of teenagers navigating high school, gave him his first recurring role as Hot Seth, appearing in 17 of its 42 total episodes. Barnet also wrote and starred in the short film Glass as Danny, the short earned him the award for Best Original Story at the New York Film Awards in 2018. The next year, he had a small guest role on the Netflix family comedy Family Reunion before things began to take off.
On Barnet’s 29th birthday, his newest project was released on Netflix — teen comedic drama Never Have I Ever, where he portrayed the main love interest of the series, Paxton Hall-Yoshida. The series was created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher and right off the bat was praised for breaking Asian stereotypes in Hollywood. The first season is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 95% approval rating. Later that year, he would have a two-episode stint on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., playing Wilfred ‘Freddy’ Malick, fulfilling a dream of working in the Marvel universe. He would later appear in the straight-to-video movie American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rules as Grant opposite Madison Pettis. In 2021, Barnet starred alongside Claire Holt and Katherine McNamara for the horror comedy Untitled Horror Movie, a comedy about the making of a horror movie, as Max. He would lend his voice for the character Fukamachi Makoto in the English dub of The Summit of the Gods. Victoria’s Secret PINK announced they would begin moving to some gender-free lounge and activewear, where Barnet would become the brand’s very first male celebrity ambassador as the entire company began a rebrand. He would next get his feet wet in romantic comedies in Netflix’s Love Hard starring Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O. Yang. The film became the #1 streamed movie on the service two days after its release.
In 2022, Barnet lent his voice for the character of Spot Usagi for the animated television series Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles before the release of the third season of Never Have I Ever that summer, where he would reprise his role as Paxton Hall-Yoshida and the series to its close the summer of 2023. He continued on to voicing the character Mike for the Netflix animated series Skull Island as well as Taigen for Blue Eye Samurai. Barnet would make his feature film debut as Matty Davis in Gran Turismo, based on the incredible true story of Jann Mardenborough and a group of simulator drivers who become professional race car drivers. He also voiced Jak for the video game Immortals of Aveum, where his likeness was also used for the character. Closing out a busy year, Barnet appeared as Jonathan in the romantic comedy Anyone But You opposite Glen Powell, Sydney Sweeney, and Dermot Mulroney. The film is having a steady life at the box office, even a month into its release.
Barnet’s upcoming projects include the action thriller Road House where he portrays Sam. The film follows an ex-UFC middleweight fighter ends up working at a rowdy bar in the Florida Keys where things are not as they seem. It’s slated for a release on March 21, 2024 on Prime Video and also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Lukas Gage, and Conor McGregor. He also stars in and produces the thriller Apophenia, following a struggling artist and his mental state begins to deteriorate when he begins to question his wife’s faithfulness. The film is currently in post-production.
Barnet enjoys traveling, watching movies, and writing music; he writes music under the pen name Charlie Sound. In addition to English, he speaks Japanese, conversational Spanish, and has studied French. Barnet also earned his real estate license.
His grandfather was famous jazz saxophonist Charlie Barnet, and the son of the late Charles D. Barnet Jr.