OnlyOnAOL: The secret truth about 'Dirk Gently' star Sam Barnett

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By: Donna Freydkin

You'd be forgiven for assuming that Samuel Barnett is brash, bombastic and ultra-confident in person.

After all, he plays time-traveling sleuth Dirk Gently in "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency," a series by Max Landis based on the Douglas Adams book series. The show is streaming on Netflix. And on screen, he doesn't suffer from a lack of aplomb. Not so much in real life.

Barnett is charmingly self-deprecating about how he got hired.

"I sent in a self-tape. I thought I'll never get this because I'm a British actor self-taping for an American project," says Barnett. "Maybe I'm really bad at them. I did this one and I got screen-tested. And then I got the job. And it was really shocking."

Barnett studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and appeared in the "The History Boys" at the Royal National Theatre, as well as in New York.

He played Queen Elizabeth in the all-male cast of Shakespeare's "Richard III," opposite the formidably talented Mark Rylance. He's been nominated and won numerous accolades and awards for his stage work, as well as the film adaptation of "The History Boys."

None of the attention has gone to his head. "I can present well. But I'm shy of new people and new situations," says Barnett.

And that's served him well as Dirk. "I think part of the reason that I got cast as Dirk is that he appears confident, but he's very vulnerable," says Barnett, who's a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and Mulder and Scully. "He's frightened underneath. You learn that about him."

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'Dirk Gently' stars Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series
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'Dirk Gently' stars Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series
Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series 
Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series 
Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series 
Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series 
Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series 
Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series 
Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series 
Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series 
Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series 
Sam Barnett and Elijah Wood investigate BUILD Series 
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