By Britt Ashley (March 27, 2014)
Yesterday I had the pleasure of sitting down with actor extraordinaire, long-time friend, and role-model for bros everywhere, Neil Patrick Harris, to ask him a few questions about the series finale of How I Met Your Mother and what he has in store for us next.
Britt: Hey buddy, it’s good to finally catch up with you.
Neil: I know! Everything’s been so crazy lately with the show wrapping up and preparing for Hedwig.
Britt: That’s right, you’re playing a transgender rocker…and the show opens in…what…two days?!
Neil: The preview is Saturday, but the official opening isn’t until April 22.
Britt: Well you look plenty rested, but I’m getting ahead of myself. First I’d like to talk about Barney Stinson. You’ve been playing America’s favorite lady-killer for 9 seasons of Mother. How did you tap into your inner bro and develop a character that could be so, so easy to hate, and yet he’s one of the most loved personalities on the show?
Neil: I get that question a lot, and I’ve always given the same answer: Larry, from Three’s Company, but…I’ve got to come clean.
Neil: It’s a lie. The whole damn thing.
Britt: I’m so shocked! You’re such an open book. [Laughing]
Neil: We could just discuss that time in the Hilton in Toronto you and—
Britt: Ok, back to you and your lies. You were saying…
Neil: Good deflection. So you want the truth, huh? Well it was the summer of 91, and Doogie Houser had gotten pretty big so I was always getting invited to these Hollywood parties, but until then I had been underage and my folks, you know how they were—are [Laughs]—they didn’t want me getting mixed up in anything. But I turned 18 that summer, and I got an invitation to a party at Bob Saget’s house.
Britt: Oh, no…
Neil: I know! Now everyone knows how dirty Saget really is, but back then he was Danny Tanner, America’s favorite dad. Well, like every other little closeted boy in the early 90s, I had a HUGE crush on Uncle Jesse, so I was like, “How can I not go?” So I put on my favorite stonewashed jeans and oversized leisure coat—I basically looked like a young David Byrne.
Britt: So very normcore of you.
Neil: Ha! Yeah, I was the normcore version of Zack Morris. So…I pull up to this giant house in the Palisades and I’m just shaking, right. I’m so nervous. My first big A-list party. And I walk in…and there in the middle of this giant great room, under a crystal chandelier, surrounded by a hoard of topless girls, just absolutely stunning women, tons of them, is Bob Saget wearing nothing but a pair of women’s thongs on his head and the biggest…smile…I’ve ever seen.
Britt: So it’s a typical Saget party?
Neil: Yes! Exactly! Only it was all new and scary and wonderful. So I’m standing there and I’m sure my jaw was on the floor, and Saget turns toward me, and I’ll never forget this, he says, “Harris, don’t just stand there. Suit up!” And he points to this blonde bombshell and she immediately yanks off her underwear and hurls it at my face.
Britt: Oh my god. What did you do?
Neil: The only thing I could do. I wrapped those little panties around my face and joined the party.
Britt: So are you saying Bob Saget was your inspiration for Barney Stinson?
Neil: I’m finally coming clean. Yes, Bob Saget is the ultimate bro, and my inspiration for Barney.
Britt: Epic. So the whole “suit up” line was from Saget?
Neil: Yeah, I just kind of slipped it in one day during rehearsals and Craig Thomas ran over to me and he said, “Yes, exactly. That’s perfect!”
Britt: Did you tell him where you got the line?
Neil: Hell no. An actor never reveals his secrets.
Britt: You’re beautiful. Alright, well give us something about the final episode before we wrap this thing up.
Neil: You’re sounding more and more like Saget. [Both laugh]. Jokes aside, the finale was really difficult for us to get through. We had to keep cutting because one of us would get emotional and then the whole damn thing would fall apart. It’s just been so great, you know, working with such an amazing cast, and now it feels like we’re a family. And no one wants to have to leave their family, but you know baby bird’s gotta fly.
Britt: You’re ridiculous. So I heard you guys filmed part of the episode all the way back in 2006. Is that right?
Neil: Yeah, Craig and Carter knew how the show was going to end from day one, and they wanted to make sure that no matter how long our run lasted, they would have footage of us at the beginning for the finale. You know, in case one of us got fat or lost an eye or something.
Britt: Well you haven’t aged a day.
Neil: Oh, I know. David keeps me active.
Britt: Well, can you through us a bone here? Any clues about the how Ted finally meets the Mother?
Neil: Only because I love you, Britt. The whole thing goes back to Season 2, when [to read the spoiler, click here!].