Never Have I Ever co-creator addresses backlash over Devi and Paxton's "creepy" real-life age difference
21 July 2021, 13:01 | Updated: 9 August 2021, 18:06
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Devi) is actually 19 and Darren Barnet (Paxton) is 30.
The Netflix series centres on awkward Indian-American teen Devi who is still processing the sudden death of her father and is desperate to find a boyfriend. Season 2 of Never Have I Ever landed on Netflix last week and fans were excited to finally find out if Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) ends up with Paxton (Darren Barnet) or Ben (Jaren Lewison).
However, since the release of Season 2, fans are only just noticing the age gap between Maitreyi and Darren. Whilst both play 15 and 16-year-old's retrospectively, in reality Maitreyi is 19 and Darren is 30 years old – an 11-year age difference. Filming for Season 1 began in July 2019, which means Maitreyi would have been 17 at the time and Darren would have been 28.
While some viewers have said it's just acting, many have called the casting "creepy", especially because Darren is playing Maitreyi's love interest and the two have shared romantic scenes together. "I want the casting team of Never Have I Ever in jail, Paxton's actor is my age (30) and Devi's actress is....19?" one viewer wrote.
Another added: "It's v creepy that everyone in never have i ever thought it was okay to put 19 year old Maitreyi with a 30 year old dude Darren??? Does no one else see how thats just not a right age gap?"
I want the casting team of Never Have I Ever in jail, Paxton's actor is my age (30) and Devi's actress is....19?— boycott eataly (@musafirani) July 20, 2021
Its v creepy that everyone in never have i ever thought it was okay to put 19 year old Maitreyi with a 30 year old dude Darren??? Does no one else see how thats just not a right age gap?— Jalebi uncle MD (@YoGurlSimi) July 16, 2021
i think i said this last time but they really couldn’t find an age appropriate actor for paxton in never have i ever?— ashlee (@brlytolerable) July 15, 2021
GOODBYE I JUST SAW THE AGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ACTOR AND ACTRESS IN NEVER HAVE I EVER— ana 🙇🏽♂️ (@ana3012_) July 16, 2021
THAT DUDE IS 30 AND SHES 19 WTH
i wanna watch never have i ever s2 but i just can’t get over the age gap between the actors 🥴— caitlin - fearstreet lockdown (@euphoriccazzie) July 18, 2021
Lang Fisher actually addressed the backlash in a 2020 interview with NewsWeek following the release of Season 1, insisting they didn't actually know Darren's age when they cast him. "We wanted [our cast] to feel like real teens. Our one outlier is Darren, who is in his late 20s. You can't ask someone how old they are when they audition," Fisher explained.
"You just have to assume that they're a reasonable age. I don't think we found out what his age was until we were deep in the season and then we were like, 'Oh, OK.' I assumed he was, like, 20."