Sunny Florida is a long way from the cold streets of the Windy City. But after braving the blustery winters of NYC, Charlie Barnett is used to the cold and actually enjoys the changing of the seasons. He really gets a chance to embrace the outdoors as one of the brave firefighters on the NBC hit , “Chicago Fire.” As Candidate Pete Mills, Charlie has had quite a ride in the freshman year of the show. He has had to fight for his spot on the squad and also had his own romantic story line as well. He also has gotten the opportunity to work with great guys like David Eigenberg, Yuriv Saradov , and of course Taylor Kinney. The other day , I got the opportunity to chat with Charlie while he was on a break from filming.
Since this is his second year in Chicago , I asked Charlie what did he like about it. He couldnt even mention them all, so he chose just a few. He said that he liked to see the changing of the seasons and also how great everyone has been in town. Always wanting to hear what fellow foodies think, I inquired about his favorite eating places. He smiled and announced that it was Stephanie Izzard’s original , “The Girl and the Goat.” He said that he enjoyed the food and the staff there. Even though he is not a native, Charlie also exclaimed, “I have been a Sox fan ever since I was a kid.” His football loyalties are more grounded toward NY and the Giants, but he had this to say about Chicagoans and their love of sports. “It is a passion and the fans have big hearts.”
I was quite excited to hear that Charlie has quite a theater background. He was classically trained at that school of schools, Julliard. With his classical background, I asked him what his dream role would be and he didn’t hesitate at all when he answered “Konstatin in Chekhov’s “The Seagull.” “I love complex roles and love to sink my teeth into the character. That’s what is so great about our show. Each storyline is character driven.” he said. Charlie has made his way around to various smaller theatres and clubs in support of his fellow classmates.”People don’t recognize the beauty of small and simple theatre. ” he also said. He was amazed of the number of intimate and storefront theatres that we have in town. He told me that we had more than they have in NY. Sadly, he has not gotten a chance to visit one of our world class theaters. He plans to do so soon.
The role of the young fireman has proven to be quite a challenge for young Barnett. It wasn’t because of the character, but the stamina and agility that is required to accurately portray the fire fighters. Charlie admitted that he does get claustrophobic and when the show first started, he and his fellow cast mates had to don the gear and tanks to get used to them. “I would crawl into these smoke filled cubbyholes to look for victims. Then I would panic. I guess I should be proud of myself looking back on it . I have conquered my fear.” I also asked Charlie about the hot storyline that began last season with paramedic Gabriela Dawson. He just laughed and said that for right now , Dawson and Mills are just going to remain friends. At least for now.
When asked what was his biggest honor was this past year, he sweetly said. ” Anytime a real fire fighter or EMT comes up to me and says that they love the fact that we show the characters as real people with real lives.” Everyone seems to embrace these characters. What does the future hold for Charlie? Hopefully ten years on Chicago Fire and in the near future, producing. One thing for sure whatever he tackles, Charlie Barnett is sure to come out a winner.
Chicago Fire airs on NBC on Tuesday nights