Now that surely everyone has finished binge-watching Netflix’s “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” the world is well aware of one of the series’ breakout stars, Drew the bully, played by Thomas Barbusca. The mean-spirited character has worked his way into viewers' hearts, and now the young actor is sharing details about the role.
Drew is the redheaded tormentor of bunk mate Kevin (David Bloom), the curly-haired boy who has a crush on a girl he meets in the first episode. Whether it's winning a burping contest, stealing the girl in question or just all around being a tiny little snot, Barbusca’s performance is worthy of the all-star cast surrounding him. The actor perfectly captures the comedy stylings of creators David Wain and Michael Showalter.
Surprisingly enough, despite being perfect for “Wet Hot American Summer,” Barbusca's familiarity with the original 2001 movie before landing the role was pretty much nonexistent.
“I literally watched the movie right before set. Once I found out that I’d booked it, set was the next day and I watched it that night,” the 12-year-old actor said in a phone interview. “I thought it was awesome because the cast is amazing and David Wain is just hilarious. I just thought it was crazy and I was so excited to be a part of it.”
Despite being a young professional, Barbusca struggled to hide his enthusiasm to be working with stars.
“I worked with Paul Rudd and Molly Shannon. It was crazy,” he said, always referring to his co-stars by first and last name. “Paul Rudd is one of the funniest people ever. David Wain is awesome and Molly Shannon is one of the nicest ladies ever.”
As for his ability to blend seamlessly into the cast, that’s a testament to the youngster’s talent. He says he’d never played a bully before, but after he digested the character, he figured out how to put his own spin on it and create an insufferable kid.
“They just gave me the script and said run with it,” the actor said humbly. “They loved it, I guess.”
Barbusca’s talents will be seen again in "Preacher," the upcoming pilot from “This Is the End” writers and directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. According to Deadline, the series is based on a DC Comics character named Jesse Custer. He’s a preacher in a small Texas town who, after merging with a supernatural creature from heaven, develops the ability to make people do whatever he wants. He, his ex-girlfriend and a vampire embark on a literal journey to find God.
Barbuca, a DC Comics fan, says he’s excited for people to see the pilot episode, but admitted he’s not allowed to reveal too many details.
“My character’s name is Chris, [the show] comes out this fall,” he said, avoiding giving too much detail, like a pro. “He’s kind of complex and I can’t tell you much right now. You’ll just have to find out when it comes out.”
You can catch Barbusca in “Preacher” this fall and right now on the eight-episode season of “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” streaming on Netflix.