A Wilkes County native has a recurring role on the smash-hit Netflix series “Outer Banks.”
Nicholas (Nick) Cirillo plays Barry, a 25-year-old drug dealer, Army veteran and pawn shop owner, on the show, which last week was the number-one rated series on Netflix, the most-watched paid streaming service worldwide.
Cirillo was born June 5, 1997, and is a 2014 graduate of Wilkes Central High School. He is the son of Joyce and Dr. Nicholas Cirillo, a gastroenterologist at Wilkes Medical Center who died in 2006. “My dad loved his patients there (at the hospital),” he said in an interview Monday.
Cirillo, who has two sisters who were also raised in Wilkes, Lauren Cirillo Maleš and Victoria Cirillo, added, “My friends and family have been giving me plenty of congratulatory phone calls and texts—it’s been nice.”
He said he is proud to have been raised in Wilkes and tries to return home as much as he can to see friends. “I appreciate the beautiful scenery more and more every time I return.” A classic film buff, he said he also loves watching movies at the Liberty Theater in North Wilkesboro.
Cirillo received actor training from the Actor’s Group in Winston-Salem. “It’s the best training I’ve received thus far, and anything that I’ve learned really came from there,” Cirillo told interviewer Devin Caron in April.
He made his feature film debut as Taylor in the mystery/crime thriller “The Giant,” which premiered in 2019. He also appeared in the true crime Hulu series “The Act” as Luke and a bit role in another top-rated Netflix show, “Stranger Things.”
“Outer Banks,” which premiered on April 15, is about a group of teenagers in the Outer Banks called the “Pogues.” They discover a lost treasure tied to the disappearance of the father of their leader, John B., and face persecution from law enforcement and a rival group called the “Kooks.” The Netflix tagline reads, “On an island of haves and have-nots, teen John B. enlists his three best friends to hunt for a legendary treasure linked to his father’s disappearance.”
Cirillo appears in four of the 10 hour-long episodes of the series, which was created by Josh and Jonas Pate, twin brothers born in Winston-Salem and living in Raeford, and Shannon Burke, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and resident of Knoxville, Tenn.
He told Caron he knew the show would be successful after reading the script. “From the beginning, I knew the potential it had to be a great show and it really lived up to all of that, and then some.”
Filming took place during the summer of 2019 in Charleston, S.C. The series was originally set to shoot on the Outer Banks, but the production was moved to Charleston after the controversial House Bill 2 (known as the “bathroom bill”) made North Carolina a political lightning rod. The fictional story is set on Figure Eight Island, a real barrier island on the Outer Banks near Wilmington.
“I never had a bad day on set,” Cirillo told Kendall Talks TV. “The whole thing is like a dream come true.”
On Monday, he said his acting aspiration is “just to keep going. It’s all I’m focused on at the moment.” Despite the sudden surge of fame and recognition, he said, “my life is still very much the same as I’d like it to be.”
Cirillo said the coronavirus pandemic has put the brakes on auditions and meetings for future roles, “so I haven’t really had an opportunity to be busy from the show’s success.” He will have a supporting role as Jennings in two episodes of the upcoming 2020 Netflix/Jenji Kohan comedy, “Slutty Teenage Bounty Hunters.” He is signed to Zero Gravity Management and Alexander White Agency.
He thinks there will be a second season of the show. “I’m looking forward to a season two if the folks over at Netflix are nice enough to allow it. I know the fans want it. If there is a season two there will be a continuation of Barry’s role in the plot, which would be very exciting for me,” he said Monday.
The series made one geographical gaffe that made national news. One episode made reference to a ferry from the Outer Banks to Chapel Hill. The producers attributed the error to an editing oversight involving a cut scene.
“Outer Banks” is rated TV-MA, which means it’s best suited for viewing by mature audiences.