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Matt Barr stars with acting idol Kevin Costner in “Hatfields & McCoys” miniseries

BY MELISSA HAYER Published: May 28, 2012

When Matt Barr was about 11 years old, he met Kevin Costner during a film premiere and told the star he would play his son in a movie someday.

Now, about 17 years later, the Allen, Texas, native is playing son “Johnse” to Costner's character, “Devil Anse Hatfield,” in the three-part, six-hour miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys,” airing at 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday on History. “Hatfields & McCoys” centers on the true legendary American family feud that lasted for decades during the post Civil War era in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Bill Paxton, Tom Berenger, Mare Winningham, Powers Boothe and Lindsay Pulsipher are also among the cast.

Barr, 28, whose television credits include “Hellcats,” “Harper's Island,” and “Friday Night Lights,” grew up south of the Red River but has friends and relatives in the Sooner state.

He shared the story about Costner during a recent phone interview with The Oklahoman.

“Yeah, he had premiered a movie down in Texas years ago, and I was about 11 years old, and I got to go down there and made my way, somehow got up to him and shook his hand and just said real quickly, ‘I'm gonna grow up someday and play your son in a real movie.' And he smiled and said, “OK, I'll see you in Hollywood.' And, I literally never forgot that.”

Barr discussed how filming “Hatfields & McCoys” in Romania was a different experience than being in his home state.

“It wasn't quite like Oklahoma or Texas. ... At least there wasn't any good chicken-fried steak there,” Barr said. “We filmed a lot of the movie up in the mountains. We kind of all lived in almost a ski resort, so it was like we had camp up there. I enjoyed it 'cause we all got to bond as a cast.

“And, it was easy to kind of slip into that world. Up in the mountains, those people are kind of stuck in the 1800s. It's very primitive up there, so as we built our sets and we'd be on location, it felt very authentic as an actor.”

The first scene Barr shot with Pulsipher, who portrays Johnse's love interest Roseanna McCoy, was a skinny-dipping scene, and it wound up being a blessing and a curse for them to begin with that segment.

“That was actually the first day of filming. On one hand, I thought, ‘We have to get naked our first day? This is humiliating,' but once it got to winter, I kinda gave the producers a big hug and said, ‘Thank you for shooting that water scene the first day.'”

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