Bill Hader Plays an Assassin in HBO’s Dark New Comedy, BARRY

— March 23, 2018

In the new HBO comedy series BARRY, Bill Hader stars as Barry, a low-rent hitman from the Midwest who while on a job in LA, follows his “mark” into an acting class and is instantly drawn to the group of students. Barry discovers a passion for community theatre, but his criminal past won’t let him walk away. Can he a find a way to balance the two worlds? Sitting down with journalists in Los Angeles last month, Hader offered some insight into this very unique new series. Here’s a peek at what he had to say: Changing the show due to the political climate:
  • “...when we shot the pilot Obama was president…so we had jokes that we had to take out and others that were just like, ‘Trump’s President, this doesn’t feel right anymore.’ I can’t remember exactly what they were, but I remember going through the cut and being like, ‘let’s cut that, let’s cut that.’ It was dicey stuff, but we felt that this guy’s President and we shouldn’t have it on the show…"
Sharing the concept with co-creator Alec Berg:
  • “…I remember specifically Alec going, ‘oh, hitman taking an acting class is good. Ooh, I like that.’ And because there was a conflict there, of living in the shadows and being in the spotlight and the guy wants these two things that just are polar opposite from each other. If he achieves his goal of being an actor, he will probably be murdered because he’s out and about and people need him dead and stuff. And then we went, ‘alright, let’s write it.’”
An odd experience when researching for the show:
  • “…we actually saw, in an acting class, a guy tear a woman down and make her cry…At the end, she was so thankful that he did that for her and we just thought it was all so strange.”
On writing Barry as an ex-marine:
  • “…I talked to some former Marines - some of them were like, ‘yes, it’s f**ked up,’ but then a lot of them were like, ‘yes, it’s what I’m trained to do.’ I talked to one guy, and he’s still mad that they left. He’s like, ‘I want to go back there and mow that whole place down.’ That’s a thing I can’t relate to, but I don’t judge him for that; that’s his job, and a lot of his friends were killed.  So he has his thing. So we wanted to be careful not making it an indictment of people like this.
His thoughts when becoming an actor:
  • “I was very anxious. Very, very anxious and kind of, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’  And then you start to go, ‘well, maybe I have to be anxious to do my job.’ … it’s kind of the feeling of if I’m calm, this whole thing’s going to explode, and it’s all going to go to shit.”
BARRY premieres Sunday, March 25 at 10:30 p.m. ET on HBO Canada.
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