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Barry Season 3 is showing how great Bill Hader is as a versatile actor

  • Hader's acting chops are no secret since he's already won two lead actor Emmys for his HBO series. But Hader's acting this season, especially in his interactions with Sarah Goldberg's Sally and Henry Winkler's Gene Cousineau, have been especially terrific. "When Hader is in scenes with these two characters, especially when he becomes explosively angry or when murder related trauma causes him to dissassociate, it starts to feel nuts that Hader isn’t a more renowned actor," says Gita Jackson. "He has to temper his violence with love, and to differing degrees, both characters know how important it is to keep Barry happy. Sally was once in an abusive marriage and swore to never be with a violent man ever again—something that once kept Barry on the straight and narrow until the contradictions of his lifestyle collapsed onto themselves. Cousineau has a much more intimate understanding of just how dangerous Barry can be, but also has served as a father figure to him, something that Barry is unwilling to let go of. When he asks Gene to tell Barry that he loves him, his eyes well with tears, and it’s impossible to tell if it’s because he’s so miserable or so furious. A show that’s worse than Barry would have made the answer to that question obvious, or would have asked the audience to love or forgive the character more. Instead, Bill Hader makes Barry more and more terrifying each season, almost as if he’s daring you to root for this cold blooded killer."


    • It’s no longer surprising to see Bill Hader carry an emotionally nuanced scene on his back: "The Barry character is his multidimensional masterpiece as an actor," says Brad Sanders. "Hader’s infused him with gallows humor, deep pathos, and a seemingly limitless capacity for violence. And best of all, it works. Hader has come into his own as one of the finest actors on TV over Barry’s run, and he’s done it by using the character to push his own limits. f watching Hader flex that kind of range was somewhat astonishing at first, it’s because his pre-Barry resume didn’t really indicate he could handle it. Hader joined the cast of SNL in 2005 with very little previous on-screen experience. He quickly settled into a kind of utility-man role, lending a pliable toolkit of solid impressions and infectious silliness to whatever sketch needed him. He showed up in blockbuster comedies like Superbad and Knocked Up, getting a few good lines in but mostly existing as a foil for his co-stars to riff against, and he joined the lucrative animation voice-over circuit along with just about every other famous funny person of his generation."
    • Sarah Goldberg it's "fun" to play a character who has become increasingly unlikable: "I felt like if you want to call her unlikable, let's make her a monster," she says. "I'm all for it. . . . She's as violent as the others, in a different way."
    • Does Anthony Carrigan think his Barry success will open doors for other actors with alopecia?: "It’s been really wonderful just to be an actor with alopecia and represent all my other alopecians and it’s just a totally normal thing. Granted, this character is far from normal, but no one comments on his alopecia, it’s not a thing," he says. "To all the actors out there who may have alopecia, or essentially something that they may feel shame about or they may feel that it is something that counts them out, just continue to practice as much as you can self-acceptance, self-love."
    • Co-creator Alec Berg breaks down this week's episode: "What's funny is it kind of took us a while to land on that idea," he says. "It's very easy at the end of season 2 to know that Barry was a mess. He had tried to go straight, and clearly it had spectacularly failed. He was trying to curb his inner violence, and it just exploded out of him. So his whole plan to change his nature was a failure in the end."
    • Bill Hader on this week's final scene: "Yeah, it’s interesting, apparently in the screenings we had people laugh at that scene because it’s so awkward," he says, adding: "So what happened was I got to work really early and our offices weren’t open yet. So I sat and I wrote on my laptop. I was like, 'Oh, we’re gonna work on the end of Episode 2, let me just write it.' And what I wrote is essentially what you see, like I just kind of wrote it real fast."

    TOPICS: Barry, HBO, Alec Berg, Anthony Carrigan, Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg