Season 2 of Bridge and Tunnel might be over (fingers crossed for season 3!), but the show’s breakout star Barrett Wilbert Weed is here to stay!
You might have seen her as Janis Sarkisian in Tina Fey’s Broadway musical Mean Girls or Veronica Sawyer in Heathers: The Musical but on Bridge and Tunnel, Barrett plays Lizzie Pagnetti, the older sister of Brian Muller’s Pags and the lead singer of the all-girl punk band Wildfire.
In season 2 of the show, we see Lizzie go after her dreams of landing a record deal and skyrocketing Wildfire into stardom, all while dealing with her brother being their manager.
I had the pleasure to chat with Barrett about the 1980s set series, what was it like to work with Bridge and Tunnel’s creator Ed Burns, Barrett’s new web series Swipe Monster, her current favorite TV shows, and more!
So, without further ado, here’s the interview with the one and only Barrett Wilbert Weed!
Tvshowpilot: How did you get involved with Bridge and Tunnel? What attracted you to the project?
Barrett Wilbert Weed: I auditioned for the show in 2020 – peak pandemic. I was interested in being able to sing a little bit, but not having it be the primary point of the job if that makes sense.
The late 70s/early 80s is a cool period to explore; it’s not as free wheeling as the years prior and it’s not as dark as a few years later, but there’s an angsty vulnerability to the time that falls in line with a lot of what the characters are going through.
That vibe also matched what most people were feeling in the fall of 2020. A lot of doubt, a lot of passion, a lot of reaching out, and, artistically speaking, just reaching for anything we could make during a time when it was kind of impossible to make anything.
We filmed all of season 1 in the fall of 2020 and I still have no idea how no one got sick. We were all just being extremely cautious I guess, and production went to great lengths to ensure we were protected.
I remember so many scenes got moved outside just because they could be, but now that’s a huge part of the show- just hanging in back yards trying to plan dreams.
Tvshowpilot: I loved you as Lizzie so much, Lizzie is such a vibe and you embodied her so effortlessly. What are the main similarities and differences between you and your character?
Barrett Wilbert Weed: Now that I’m getting into television a bit more, I’m hearing a lot that I have a very dry sense of humor. No real idea what that means… like what is a wet sense of humor? You know? LOL.
Now that I’m watching myself on screen… basically I think it means I’m a little bit antagonistic and sarcastic. I think in Lizzie’s case a lot of that is kind of a preemptive defense. She’s really confident and comfortable performing, but when it comes to being herself and being vulnerable, it can be really challenging for her.
I can completely understand what it’s like to wonder if you even have anything to offer outside of your abilities as a performer. I don’t think that now! I promise! But there was an extended period when I was getting to know myself and developing my self-esteem where I just didn’t want anyone to look at me too closely unless I was onstage. I think Lizzie is dealing with the same period of doubt and growth.
Tvshowpilot: Bridge and Tunnel is set in 1980s Long Island. How was it working on a show set in the 80s and on the island no less?
Barrett Wilbert Weed: Oh man. It’s the best. The aesthetic of this show is fairly real. We typically will have maybe one room or one object or one outfit in a scene that’s indicative of where we are going in the decade. And then the rest is very suburban 70s which is to die for.
Long Island is probably the main character on the show, to be honest; big, loud, so much heart, the best of intentions.
That part of New York is a VIBE, especially the sweet little neighborhood we film in. Our base is at a hotel in Rockville Center and it’s basically an adult summer camp.
If we finish at a reasonable hour, we usually go into town and grab a drink and the people we run into are amazing. Some of them are full-blown fuggedaboutit characters and most of them are just really nice, salt of the earth, normal people. It’s great to be able to finish work as an actor and then go get a beer next to someone who’s been working a completely normal job for most of their natural life.
We’ve been using the same few houses on the same block to film interiors for the past two seasons, and the neighbors started coming out on their porches last summer to wave and watch us. I love that memory. It was just too sweet.
There are deeply great people out there and they love and respect Eddie in a big way. He’s a good guy and the optimistic stories he tells give the folks out there a lot of dignity and validation. He makes normal people into heroes and I think there’s a lot of nobility in that.
Tvshowpilot: On Bridge and Tunnel, Lizzie is the lead singer of Wildfire, an all-girl punk band. How was it to live out your punk rock dreams through the character?
Barrett Wilbert Weed: I mean it’s awesome. If we get to continue with the show, I’m hopeful that we will see the band perform in some huge venues and get to watch them give a big performance. I’m living for the day when Lizzie gets to perform in a wide shot and fully live onstage in something a bit more theatrical than we’ve been able to film yet.
It’s an interesting time in music history… there is so much redefining happening in the 80s, especially when it comes to rock. I feel like prior to this period, Rock was Rock and there wasn’t a lot of diversity in terms of sound. It was all loud guitars and thriving in counter-culture rebellion.
In the 80s we get into all these different sub-genres of Rock, but all the genres were also very accessible. So, there was just a lot to listen to even driving around in your car at the time. Especially in New York City, there was just so much to hear that you couldn’t even swing your purse onto your shoulder without hitting like five new sounds.
If it isn’t obvious, I love music in a deep crazy way. It’s so great to get to play a character with a musical component and, in turn, get to zero in on this specific moment in music history and the evolution of Rock.
Tvshowpilot: Ed Burns is the creator of Bridge and Tunnel as well as wrote, directed and stars in the series. How was it working with such a legend in the industry?
Barrett Wilbert Weed: Eddie is a legend for a reason – he’s a great guy. He has managed to validate and uplift normal people who have solid values and I genuinely love everything he’s made.
He’s a sweetheart and I think the leads of his stories reflect his own experience. The male leads he writes, and plays, are good guys. They aren’t good guys who do bad shit and then have to find redemption, they’re these genuinely sweet men who get their asses kicked by love, who want to do the right thing, who want to be happy.
He doesn’t write male heroes who do bad things who the audience is then supposed to accept because boys-will-be-boys or whatever. He writes great guys navigating kind of crappy worlds.
I would really like to see more men like that in entertainment – characters and real people. It takes a lot of courage to be a good person and it takes some effort to do the right thing on a daily basis. You have to actually be brave and keep going even though you’re terrified.
That’s not the same thing as being “nice”, nice isn’t anything. Anyone can be nice. But being good takes a lot of courage and motivation, it’s not easy, and it doesn’t always get you what you want as quickly as you might want it.
Eddie is a good guy, a class act, and he writes according to that hopeful and kind worldview.
He is also seemingly ego-free. I’ve never met anyone quite like him and it’s truly wild to encounter a man in a power position who is actually this great. I wish more men would follow his example.
Tvshowpilot: You’ve done a few musicals on and off-Broadway and a few TV shows now. Which do you prefer – theater or TV?
Barrett Wilbert Weed: Oh, god. They’re so completely different. I think at the moment I’m happier working on camera. It’s not as hard on my body or my mind, you get to have weekends, and most of the time you get to have dinner at dinner time.
It’s easier to take care of the people you love, it’s easier to maintain your relationships, and you don’t share personal space with your cast mates every day, so you actually want to see them outside of work, haha!
Theater is amazing, don’t get me wrong. Performing live is a wild experience and there is really nothing like it, but the sacrifices you have to make, the toll it takes on your body, the holidays, the weddings, the family things you miss, only one day off a week indefinitely – it just gets hard. And sometimes you lose sight of how badly you wanted to do it in the first place.
I’m sure I’ll go back at some point because I do really love it, but there is something amazing about performing for a camera a handful of times and being able to capture real reactions, real emotions, real vulnerability immediately instead of having to reproduce those same reactions hundreds of times. Acting for a camera is less acting than it is capturing a more quiet alternate reality and I like that a lot.
Tvshowpilot: On a lighter note, since here at tvshowpilot.com we’re all about TV shows, what is your current TV obsession?
Barrett Wilbert Weed: I have no idea how to possibly choose! It’s definitely not a new show, but I am obsessed with the Robert Stack era of unsolved mysteries, also love the new one on Netflix!
Somebody Somewhere is one of the best things I’ve ever seen. I think it might be perfect.
I love Yellowjackets, I love Severance, I love love love What We Do In The Shadows, I’m obsessed with Search Party, The Old Man, HBO’s Staircase was amazing…. Idk I could deeply rattle on forever.
Someone told me recently that we are “in the golden age of television” and I agree completely. I’m watching more television than films now and it’s not an accident. There are so many amazing things to watch.
Tvshowpilot: Finally, what’s next for you? Any new projects you can share with us?
Barrett Wilbert Weed: I made a web series/a bunch of shorts with my friend, Oren Brimer, in the first part of the pandemic. It’s called Swipe Monster and it’s about a woman (Me) furiously app dating in Brooklyn.
The catch is that she has absolutely no idea how to date, who she is, or what it actually means to be intimate and open with another person… so, basically, she’s just an insecure lunatic torturing unsuspecting humans trying to date her.
We’ve been doing shockingly well with it in festivals so far; we won in Toronto, we are nominated for a New York Emmy, and we are screening at HollyShorts in LA this week.
I am always pleasantly surprised when anything I’m involved in starts doing really well. LOL. We are dying to make it into a long-form series, so hopefully, some unsuspecting powerful person with amaaaaaazing taste will like it.
You can see all the episodes at swipemonstershow.com.
And there you have it, a quick interview with Bridge and Tunnel star Barrett Wilbert Weed where we discuss everything from her love for music to what a vibe it was to film a show set in 80s New York.
Also, check out Barrett’s new web series Swipe Monster. And follow Barrett on Instagram for all her latest projects.