A quick word: Neil Patrick Harris

By Jacqueline Smith

A quick word with Neil Patrick Harris of long-running sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

Neil Patrick Harris stars in How I Met Your Mother on Four. Photo / Supplied
Neil Patrick Harris stars in How I Met Your Mother on Four. Photo / Supplied

It's been six years for you now, can you imagine doing anything else?
Oh my gosh, I'm so honoured to be playing this part. And it's one of those great suits you get to wear for most of the year. And thankfully he wears great suits, so it works out well.

Do you ever offer any opinions on the wardrobe?
My thoughts about his wardrobe are that I just want to make sure they are relatively timeless - like that old Rat Pack look - so if someone was to watch the show 10 years from now, they would still look sharp and classy.

Fans reckon the reason the show has gone so long is largely because of your character. Is that a lot of pressure?
I don't agree, I do think that people watch half-hour sitcoms with a laugh track because they want to laugh and Barney is a character that is written with the most overt comedy, but I think that if it was a half-hour of that it would be too much. It's a tricky recipe for success and this show has managed to combine that broad comedy with heart-felt sincerity and some lovely acting by the others that offset Barney's insanity. I strongly think you need them both.

We have recently seen the episode where you get to do your dancing in the street sequence. Would you like to do more of that?
I would, it's exciting to do that. Performing on stage requires you to be very careful with your voice and not speak at night and hydrate yourself. When you are filming songs, you are able to record [them] in the studio a month before, they tweak it so you sound perfect, and then you lip-sync and have a very good time. So that was what happened and it was one of the most fun weeks of my life.

Barney's also at the point where he has recently broken up with Robyn. Is he ever going to settle down?
I don't know, I wonder that as well. Keep in mind that I don't get the scripts earlier than Friday when we shoot on the Monday, so I'm not very far ahead, but I worry that if he wants to settle down too much then you lose that fun part of the gang. But I also worry that if he doesn't acknowledge settling down, then he will sound like a broken record. But if he did settle down do you think it would be with Robyn?

Well no, bad eating habits and things aren't really conducive to a fantastic relationship. Do you think he is quite empowering then to modern lads who don't want to settle down?
He seems to be. A lot of people stop me and say how much they would like to be like Barney. Which is both flattering and frightening. So I guess that's a good thing. But there are a lot of guys who are attracted to conquests, and I think Barney's one of those.

Did you get the same sort of fan-reception for Doogie Howser?
No, I was much younger then so it was a different thing. Barney's older, so it's a lot more reverential.

And there was no Facebook so I suppose it was difficult for people to get in touch.
Exactly.

Which of the two characters would win in a fight?
I dunno, probably Barney. He's much stronger.

Are you like him at all?
In many ways I'm wildly different but in many ways I'm similar. I think I'm probably equally as sardonic and up for a joke, but I'm much more settled now than he is.

Would you say things like "suit up" in your daily life?
Not "suit up", but I say "awesome" a lot in my real life.

How much inspiration for things like the Bro Code comes from your life? If any.
Zero per cent.

LOWDOWN
Who:
Neil Patrick Harris
What: Plays Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother screening Mondays at 7.30pm on Four.

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