At an FYC event for the show on Tuesday, the cast and crew gathered to watch a screening of the finale and then participate in a Q&A panel about the HBO comedy. Comedian John Mulaney, who moderated the panel, had the following non-spoilers reaction to the finale: “Boy, oh, boy! SHIT!”
That set the tone of the no-holds-barred but hilarious conversation, made even more unruly by the friendship between “Saturday Night Live” alums Mulaney (who had written for “SNL” and recently hosted) and “Barry” star and co-creator Bill Hader. Much of the evening revolved around the two of them setting up comedic bits, performing various impressions or goofy voices, and miming actions that just cannot be conveyed beyond “you had to be there.”
While it’s safe to say that finale follows the humorous and dark path that had been laid out in the season so far, what comes next season may push the envelope even more. During the audience portion of the Q&A, IndieWire asked what’s being planned for Season 2.
“What can we say about Season 2? It somehow is a bit darker,” Hader said, “We’re writing Season 2 right now.”
Co-creator Alec Berg added, “Every episode, it’s what cards have we dealt ourselves the week before. What would logically happen?”
While Hader wouldn’t tip his hand as far as specific storylines for Season 2, he has no shortage of ideas. “My head’s going to explode,” he said. “I was just in traffic for an hour and a half. I saw Alec and just pulled him aside, and was like, ‘Here’s what it can be.’”
When Mulaney jokingly asked if a Christmas or Halloween episode was in the works, Hader responded in kind.
“It’ll be a big thing where everybody wears the same costume to a thing,” he said. “It’s really fun. I don’t want to blow it, but everybody dresses up. It’s an ‘80s theme. You know what? Just forget it. It’s like ’21 Jump Street’ – forget it.”
Also attending the Q&A were fellow cast members Henry Winkler, Paula Newsome, Stephen Root, Sarah Goldberg, Glenn Fleshler, and Anthony Carrigan. Check out more highlights from the panel:
1. The Rejected Show That Made Way for “Barry”
Hader and Berg knew they wanted to collaborate and were meeting at a diner regularly to work on ideas. They had one concept they hashed over for about six weeks before finally rejecting it. Once they trashed that idea were they able to make creative room for what “Barry” would become.
Not one to let any idea die, Mulaney asked about the show that never saw the light of day.
“It was about a guy I went to high school with. It was a very over-age, wacky Oklahoma thing that even talking about it makes me nauseous,” said Hader. “It’s basically the guy I played in ‘Hot Rod,’ it was a whole thing based on… Eric Singleton, my friend who was back home who was on acid, metal went into his eye. Yeah, he’s an idiot. I was like ‘Oh, I should do a whole show about that,’ and then decided it had no stakes. ‘I don’t want to tune into this.’”
2. Henry Winkler’s Non-Competition
Henry Winkler, who plays acting coach Gene Cousineau, was excited to audition for the part, but he wanted to make sure he actually had a chance to get the part and not waste his time.
“I got a call that Bill Hader … had me on a short list,” said Winkler. “And I said, ‘Is Dustin Hoffman on the list? Because if he is, I’m not going to read because he’s going to get it… I was relieved he was not on the list.”
As for Winkler’s first impressions of the script, he added, “It was like reading cashmere as opposed to a cotton blend.”
3. Stephen Root’s Bruise Clues
In a key scene in Episode 5, Fuches (Root) must convince Barry to take out Taylor (Dale Pavinski). It takes place in Fuches’ room with him wearing only a towel, which reveals that he’s bruised all over his upper torso.
Root revealed that many of those bruises were actually his own. “I had just come from a cupping,” he said, referring to the alternative medicine practice that draws tissue into a cup by creating a vacuum. “It bruises your shoulders really bad. They just added a couple more [for the scene]. [I’m] very, very method.”
Hader also noted that initially, Fuches was initially supposed to yell and coerce Barry to agree to killing Taylor, but after a few takes, Root tried a different tactic.
“You sat down and you did it friendly,” Hader said to Root. “It was so persuasive. That is what a good actor does.”
4. “Barry” Listens to Women
As IndieWire reported earlier in the season, a storyline in which Sarah Goldberg’s character Sally deals with a #MeToo moment came about because the women in the writers’ room were standing up for Sally’s character.
During a meeting with Sarah’s potential agent, he says, “I get to this point with a lot of my prospective clients where I have a decision to make: Do I wanna sign them or do I wanna fuck them?” After an awkward pause, he plays it off as a joke, and she even ends up apologizing to him to ease the embarrassment.
At the FYC panel, Hader once again reiterated that the episode and another key interaction with Sally on the show came about because “we had women on the staff.”
“We asked what would happen [in real life],” said Hader. “They said she would apologize. So we said, ‘Okay, she’s going to apologize.’ It’s brutal.”
Also in that episode, Barry gives Sally a laptop as a gift, but she calls it out as a “weird Tony Soprano move.” When Hader initially conceived of the gesture, he said, “She was going to like it in our version.”
But the response from the women on staff was once again enlightening and unanimous that it was “super-fucking creepy,” Berg said.
5. The Origins of NoHo Hank
When Anthony Carrigan auctioned for the role of Chechen mobster NoHo Hank, he guessed that other actors would probably approach the role from the typical tough guy angle.
“When I first read this character, I thought, ‘Wow, what to do with this?” said Carrigan. “Most everyone else took the mobster route, very intimidating. I thought, ‘No, fuck that… I’ll have fun with it and make him really sweet.’ [NoHo Hank] really brightens things up. He’s very chipper, very polite, he’s a bit of a people pleaser. He just wants to make sure everyone’s happy in the world of organized crime.”
Hader described NoHo Hank as “the guy from the Genius Bar at Apple. Goran has got to have a guy…. he’s helpful and accommodating.”
The ”Barry” finale airs Sunday at 10:45 p.m. ET after “Silicon Valley” on HBO.