Matt Barr Talks SLEEPY HOLLOW, Why He Wanted to Be Part of the Show, Learning His Character’s Backstory, and More

     October 27, 2014


In Season 2 of the Fox series Sleepy Hollow, the heroic duo of Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) is still fending off the forces of evil to save not only their town, but the world.  With Henry Parish (John Noble) manipulating the wheels of a mysterious plan and everybody a bit more worse for wear, Sleepy Hollow has never been so close to destruction.

During this recent interview to discuss his role on the show, actor Matt Barr (who plays Nick Hawley, a man with mysterious and questionable motives) talked about what made him want to be a part of the show, how Hawley’s relationship with Ichabod and Abbie will develop, his past with Jenny, what motivates him, having only recently learned his character’s backstory, why his first episode was his favorite to shoot, why unpredictable characters are fun, and what he enjoys about exploring a character on TV.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

sleepy-hollow-barr-mison-beharieWhat is it about Sleepy Hollow that made you want to be a part of it?

MATT BARR:  I think it was the fact that the little boy in me always wanted to be a treasure hunter.  I wanted to be Hawley.  I wanted to be Indiana Jones.  I can live vicariously through this character, so I get to enjoy my day job.

How will the relationship between Nick Hawley, Ichabod and Abbie develop, going forward in the coming episodes? 

BARR:  Hawley realizes that, in his efforts to take care of himself, he needs Ichabod and Abbie for his own self-preservation.  Ironically, it’s even selfish of him that he realizes, in order to survive the apocalypse, he might have to join the Scooby Doo gang.  I think he knows that he needs them as much as they might need him.  In that experience, he might bond with these guys, a little bit.

Will we learn more about Hawley’s past relationship with Jenny? 

BARR:  Yes.  Hawley’s six degrees of separation is, he does have a history with Jenny and I think they obviously come from the same salt.  They understand each other, and I think that creates a vulnerability for Hawley because he recognizes that in her, and it also scares him so I think that’s why he keeps his distance with Jenny.  Again, there’s that curiosity and there’s that intoxication; the chemistry that you can’t deny.  He’s not going anywhere as of now.

What motivates Hawley, aside from just his financial motives? 

BARR:  I think Hawley is driven by the drug of it, and the thrill of the ride.  It’s about the great mystery of what’s beyond the next horizon.  Even if the apocalypse is upon him in Sleepy Hollow, he’s game.  He wants to be on the front lines of that experience.  He definitely doesn’t want to be on a bench.  I would say that, wherever the action’s happening, he wants to be there.

Without giving anything away, just in terms of getting to know the character, how much do you know about his backstory? 

BARR:  That’s a great question.  I actually didn’t know his backstory until a couple nights ago.  I created my own, I call it, Hawley history.  It’s funny how it mirrored what the writers and the producers actually are creating for the character.  It was very similar.  There’s a lot of synergy in that relationship, I guess, because we were very much in sync.  We’re on the same page with where he’s been and where he’s going.

sleepy-hollow-barr-beharieWhat will it take for Hawley to actually get to work with Ichabod and Abbie without survival being the main factor? 

BARR:  Well, like any loaner, eventually you get to a point where you invest in something more meaningful.  I think Hawley’s probably always searched for that family.  I don’t want to give too much away, but he didn’t have that growing up, and he’s potentially found that with Ichabod and Abbie and Jenny, and the whole gang.  When you find that, you want to stick around and invest in something.

There’s a bit of history between Jenny and Hawley, but there’s also a little bit of chemistry going on between Abbie and Hawley.  How is that progressing? 

BARR:  Abbie’s a very truthful person, and she challenges Hawley, which is the most intoxicating thing for him because he wants to be stimulated.  He’s always on the search for the next great treasure.  I think that there’s a mystery to Abbie that Hawley is really engaged by.  Abbie’s tough to crack.  He keeps coming back.  Whether he’s bold enough or stupid enough, he keeps coming back.  There is some chemistry there.

How does Ichabod feel about what’s going on between Hawley and Abbie? 

BARR:  Well, Ichabod might be the smartest man in the room.  He’s not an idiot.  He can see Hawley moving in on his partner.  I think he balances a line of knowing that Hawley has the utility that serves the team and, at the same time, Hawley’s shifty and he knows that.  As we’ve seen over Season 1, and now in Season 2, Ichabod cares about Abbie and he’s looking out for her.  He’s cautious, regarding Hawley.

Is there a particular creature, demon or legend that you’d like to see Hawley fight?

BARR:  That’s a good question.  I’ve always been curious about the monster that lives under your bed.  Even now, at 30 years old, you lean over the bed to see if there’s something under there, potentially.

What has been your favorite scene or episode to film, so far?

BARR:  That’s a great question.  I think it was actually the first episode I filmed.  Me and Tom [Mison], who plays Ichabod, had a scene in a church where we’re looking at the stained glass window.  It was the first time that I experienced that dynamic between Hawley and Ichabod, and how fun that was going to be.  As actors, I think we both got the wink of the whole joke, which was that these guys are two different people, but they’re meant to be together.  I’d say that was fun.

sleepy-hollow-matt-barrMuch has been made of this whether you’re a friend or a foe.  Which do you prefer to play? 

BARR:  Oh, it’s much more fun being the foe, is it not?  I think what’s fun about Hawley is that he’s bipolar, in the sense that he can jump onboard, at any moment, and he can also jump ship because he takes care of himself.  I think that makes for a really fun and dynamic character.  He’s unpredictable, which is always entertaining.

Can we expect a bromance to develop between Hawley and Ichabod, or are they going to be adversaries, over the course of the season? 

BARR:  Well, I hope that they’re always adversaries because that’s a fun dynamic.  I think they will recognize that they serve each other.  There’s a higher goal, and there’s something more important than themselves.  I don’t want to give too much away, but we get to see a turn with Hawley.  For a conventional loner, he starts to find a bond with this group, and especially with Crane.

How do you prepare for the more action-based sequences?

BARR:  My dad was a college football coach, so we’re a big athletic family.  I was either going to be an athlete or an actor.  As an actor, I hoped I would be able to bond the two, so that stuff was fun.  But I have to give props to my stunt double, who is the real deal and gets to do all the fun stuff and make me look good.

What do you enjoy about exploring a character on TV?

BARR:  I think there’s something fun about television where, as an actor, when you read the script each week, it’s like how the audience experiences watching the show each week.  I don’t know what’s going to happen with Hawley, or with Ichabod and the apocalypse.  It’s fun to get that script every Monday morning and go, “Cool!”  I’m a professional actor, but I’m also a professional story lover.  I get off on that thrill.

Sleepy Hollow airs on Monday nights on Fox.

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