segunda-feira, 17 de abril de 2023

‘Barry’ Season 4 Premiere: Bill Hader On Series’ Endgame, Potential For Spin-Off

 

SPOILER ALERT: The following story contains details from the first few episodes of Barry Season 4. (HBO MAX)

The end is nigh for Barry — but can the same be said for Bill Hader’s hitman, Barry Berkman? This is the big question looming over HBO’s dark comedy, which has just returned for its fourth and final season, teasing Chechen gangster NoHo Hank’s (Anthony Carrigan) decision to take the hitman out in the second of two new episodes.

This marks a major reversal on the part of Barry’s longtime ally, who in Episode 1 was plotting to free him from prison. Barry’s there, of course, for the Season 1 murder of detective Janice Moss (Paula Newsome). And after being reported to the authorities by his former acting teacher Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler), he mentally unravels, experiencing hallucinations, vivid childhood flashbacks, and delusionally optimistic visions of his future. Barry also, at one point, flies into a self-destructive rage, rubbing his “cop killer” reputation in the face of a prison guard and getting what is seemingly his wish, of being beaten to a pulp.

Elsewhere, Cousineau meets with a Vanity Fair reporter to detail his (supposedly) heroic takedown of Berkman in the form of an on-stage monologue. And after hiding out for a bit in Santa Fe, Hank and his boyfriend Cristobal (Michael Irby) hatch a plan to capitalize on a “sand shortage,” in order to move out of the shadows of the criminal underworld, and into the light as more legitimate businessmen.

After learning that Barry has been arrested for murder, Sally has a mental breakdown, being pushed further toward the brink by the recognition that her once-promising acting career is over, due to both her links to Barry and her tirade against one-time assistant Natalie (D’Arcy Carden), which was recorded and went viral in Season 3. She begins working as an acting coach, at Cousineau’s urging. And while she declines to speak with Barry when he first calls her from prison, she later meets with him in person — admitting, “I feel safe with you,” when he asks why she hasn’t turned her back on him for good.

When Barry encounters Fuches (Stephen Root) in prison in Episode 401, he surprises his criminal cohort by apologizing for his part in their toxic dynamic. “You were right about Mr. Cousineau. I never should have trusted him, and I never should have taken that acting class,” he says. “If I hadn’t have tried to understand myself, we wouldn’t be here.” The moment of reconciliation is cut short, however, when Barry double-crosses Fuches, going to the FBI and ratting on every criminal he knows in exchange for an escape to witness protection with a person of his choice. It’s at this point that Fuches calls Hank, who must finally accept what Cristobal has long suspected — that Barry doesn’t care about Hank, and never did.

Hader directed all eight Season 4 episodes of Barry, which he co-created with Alec Berg. Here, the 3x Emmy winner discusses what’s to come in the show’s six remaining episodes, including on-camera and audio-only cameos, as well as being roasted on set by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, the prospect of future Barry spin-offs, his desire to make a movie next, and a cameo in Ari Aster’s recently released A24 horror-comedy Beau Is Afraid, which goes wide next weekend.

DEADLINE: How much of the story of Barry Season 4 did you have in mind all the way back at the show’s inception?

BILL HADER: I will say that the very, very ending of the very last episode, there’s something that happens in the finale that I thought of during Season 2…How we got there was very different. But mostly, what’s been so fun about writing this is that each step of the way, the characters are telling you where they want to go, where they need to go. Anytime we’d try to force it into a certain direction, it just wouldn’t want to go that way.

DEADLINE: You’ve spoken about going back and tinkering with Season 3 scripts when production was shut down at the start of the pandemic. And presumably, any changes made rippled forward to inform your S4 endgame. Were there any aspects to the storytelling of these opening episodes that evolved over time?

HADER: I’m trying to think how to say something without ruining anything…A big part of obviously ending Season 3, we always write ourselves into a corner. He’s caught at the end of Season 3, and then the beginning of Season 4, it’s kind of like, “He’s in jail. What do we do?” So, I think it was more of just, what would they do?

DEADLINE: Nailing the ending of a series is obviously tough, particularly when it’s one as beloved as Barry. How much pressure have you felt to stick the landing?

HADER: Well, it does get down to, what do we want to see? We, meaning the people writing it and making it. You’re with the journey, and it’s kind of like, “Where does this story want to go?” As opposed to, “Oh, man. We’ve really got to stick the landing.” I think the only way I can stick the landing, for me personally, is if you’re just true to the story. And if it seems like it’s true to the story, then that works.

I had moments where I did write things, and we actually filmed some things that were much more “fan service.” Like, “Oh, this is something the fans will like to see.” And then you would get into the edit, or you’d read it and go, “Oh man, this is just glaringly wrong. It’s a different show for one scene.” And so you would reshoot it or cut it. And I really thank people like Duffy Boudreau and Liz Sarnoff, the writers, but also our editors, Ali Greer and Franky Guttman, for pulling that sh*t out and saying, “This is kind of lame. Why are we doing that?” [Laughs] It’s like, “You should write this like there aren’t fans. Just write it for the story.” You know, that’s not them saying that to me; that’s me saying it to myself.

You know, I do transcendental meditation, and when you meditate, you’re supposed to have a mantra. And that sometimes becomes my mantra, which is like, “Don’t do it for what you think people want to see. Do what is right for the story.”

DEADLINE: Bearing in mind what you’re saying about keeping the focus on your specific story, it seems like it would be tough to find your own singular way through to the end of the antihero’s journey, as tonally distinct as Barry is, given how much storytelling of the sort we’ve seen on television in recent years. Did you ever find yourself thinking about the approach other crime series have taken in winding down, in looking for an original angle?

HADER: I think the show’s done a pretty good job. I mean, I think initially it started out, and you know, people called it Breaking Good, which is very fair. But I like to think that as it went on, it kind of took on new [dimensions]. Midway through the [final] season, it has a thing that I’m interested to see what people think. That, for us, was one of the first things we hit on when we sat down to write Season 4, that that would happen. But I hope that it has its own kind of style now and has its own voice. The first season, it’s like a first album, and you’re like, “Wow, they really like Nirvana.” [Laughs] Or whatever. And then now, hopefully it’s its own thing.

DEADLINE: Talk a bit about Barry’s evolving dynamic with Fuches in this final batch of episodes. We’re hit with one reversal after another, just in the episodes we’ve seen…

HADER: You know, there was actually about four more reversals? [Laughs] That was one of the early notes when I screened it for the writers and some of our former editors. “Hey man, there’s like too many turns here.” [Laughs] So, it was kind of going back and cutting stuff, pulling stuff out.

DEADLINE: It was nice, though, to see moments of such vulnerability and intimacy between these characters who have so much history, and yet have constantly been stabbing one another in the back.

HADER: Yeah. Well, Fuches, to me, has always loved Barry. This is giving something away, but you do learn earlier in the season that Fuches has known Barry since he was a kid. And some people, in doing these interviews, felt that Fuches has been grooming him since he was a kid. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening. I think Barry was his best friend’s kid, and he just thought he was a cool, sweet guy, and they genuinely had a connection. So, I think there is more of a manipulative father-son thing going on there, but it’s weirdly born out of real love.

DEADLINE: Sally’s arc is quite compelling, as she processes the news that her boyfriend has been arrested on murder charges. After telling him over the phone that she never wants to talk to him again, she comes to visit him in prison and makes a surprising admission: “I feel safe with you.” Why?

HADER: I talked to Sarah Goldberg early in the season and said, “She finds out this stuff about Barry and she’s clearly horrified. And [there’s] also from her past, what that means.” And then she also has these feelings Sarah and I talked about. It’s like, he makes her feel like a star. You know, after Season 1, when she’s like, “Do you think I’m going to be a star?” he’s like, “Yeah!” He’s never met an actress before, so he’s like, “Obviously!” But in talking about it with Sarah, I said, “I also think he makes her feel safe.” And the light bulb just went off in my head. “That’s perfect.” And that applies to everybody. [The] motivation is fear, and wanting to be held and be safe, and I thought that was perfect. So, Sarah deserves some credit for that idea.

DEADLINE: What would you say about the dark road NoHo Hank seems to be going down?

HADER: I mean, he’s changed from what happened to him at the end of [Season] 3. He actually had to perpetrate some violence, for the first time possibly in his life, and it’s changed him, and made him kind of have a new understanding for Barry, and a new, weird connection to Barry that hopefully, you can kind of see how it mirrors it through the whole season.

DEADLINE: What have you been thinking about in wrapping the story of Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler)?

HADER: If you work in Los Angeles long enough and you work in the entertainment industry, you’ll meet a lot of Gene Cousineaus. [Laughs] And they’re nice people. But…

DEADLINE: You can tell that he, like Barry, does want to be good, even if he can’t quite manage it.

HADER: Yeah. They both want to be good, but it’s that thing of, can you escape your nature and who you are? You’re trying to do something, but there’s just part of you that can’t help but do something. And can you change that? I think for him, it’s narcissism. I mean, there’s a moment where he’s literally standing on a stage in the second episode and says, “I don’t want to be bothered anymore. I really want to be left alone.” [Laughs] And he’s saying it in a spotlight.

DEADLINE: You’ve attracted some pretty sensational guest stars this season — I won’t spoil who…

HADER: Yeah. We can say Guillermo del Toro’s in the third episode, and he’s very funny. He did a great job and he brought his own cane, which was great. He had two different takes on the character, and they were both really interesting. And he brought his wonderful wife Kim [Morgan] with him, and it was just really sweet. Then, the other ones, I’m not going to mention. They’re more of a surprise, but it’s really fun. And then one, actually, you won’t see them, but you will hear them. There’s two people that you hear in a later episode, voices that you might recognize.

DEADLINE: Tell us more about how Guillermo del Toro came to be on the show, and what it was like having this master filmmaker on your set.

HADER: It was good. He was f***ing with me a little bit. He was like, “Are you really going to block it like this?” [Laughs] I was like, “Yeah, I am.” And he’s like, “Really? That’s it? Okay…” No, he was really funny, and we’re all friends. I’m friends with him, and I’m friends with Alfonso Cuarón, and Alfonso was texting me, “Guillermo says you don’t know how to direct.” [Laugh] They were just f***ing with me while I’m shooting with him. And I’m like, “Oh my god.” Guillermo was like, “I never said that. No, no, no. He’s being an assh*le.” But no, it was very fun. I was just really impressed with him.

And how it came about, actually, was he said, “I’d love to be in your show,” and I went, “Oh, yeah.” Then, I wrote a part for him and said, “Hey, man. I wrote a part for you. The character’s named Toro.” And I think he was a bit surprised. He went, “Really?” And I go, “Yeah!” And he texted me back, “Are you serious?” [Laughs] And I was like, “Yes, you asked me to. I did it.” And he said, “Oh, well when do you shoot? When is it?” He got really kind of excited, and then next thing I know, Tiffany [Hasbourne], who’s our costume designer, came up and went, “Uh, so Guillermo has his own cane.” And she showed me pictures. “Here’s the costume he prefers,” and that’s the one we went with. And I was like, “Oh my god, there he is.” He went to a fitting, and he did it. He was great.

DEADLINE: Do you see the universe of Barry as one you might look to explore further — perhaps with a prequel à la Better Call Saul? Or are you ready for a fresh start?

HADER: I think the way my brain works, I don’t know if that is interesting, but I never say never to anything. Because if anything, I’ve learned from my career, you have no idea what will happen. I moved out to L.A. in 1999 to be a filmmaker, and then I ended up on Saturday Night Live, you know what I mean? You have no idea what will happen to you. All I want to do is make a movie. I haven’t made a movie yet, so I think that’s why Barry, especially the last two seasons, feel like long movies… So, I don’t know. I could say today it doesn’t feel like it, but then a couple years from now go, “Oh, you know what? That could be really interesting.”

DEADLINE: Will getting a movie made will be your primary focus looking ahead?

HADER: Yeah. I’ve written [a project] with Duffy Boudreau, one of the writers on the show. He’s my best friend from Tulsa. We’ve known each other since we were like 18, so you need that on set. You need your friend from Oklahoma who goes, “Yeah, man. That sucks.” [Laughs] “You should go again.” Or he watches a cut and is like, “Well, that just seems corny, man.” [Laughs] You need that guy who really has no skin in the game, has seen as many movies as I have and has read more books than I have, and just acts honestly, but then comes up with great stuff. We wrote a movie that I’d like to make at some point, which is kind of like what everybody usually does. They try to make a little, small thing. And then I have two other ideas. One is kind of hard to describe, and then the other one is Barry-like in tone, but instead of a crime thing, it’s like a horror thing.

DEADLINE: Do you see yourself starring in these projects?

HADER: The horror one, I would star in. The other two, as of now, I would not be in. But I’ve done this before, where I’ve talked about things, and then once it gets out there, you’re almost really jinxing it. So, we’ll see. Always, the thing you’re concentrating on is the thing that kind of goes well, and then this thing over here that you’re half thinking about, that’s the thing that [takes off]. I mean, that’s what happened with Barry.

DEADLINE: You mentioned some upcoming voice cameos in Barry — you actually have one of your own, of sorts, in Ari Aster’s A24 horror-comedy Beau Is Afraid. How was the shooting experience?

HADER: So, I’m the UPS guy on the telephone. I was in my house in Los Angeles with my assistant Alyssa [Donovan], and she connected me to Montreal. So, then I’d pick up the phone. I’m like, “Hello?” And it’s Ari Aster going, “Hey, Bill. All right, so you’ve got your script? Okay, so here’s Joaquin.” And then I’m on the phone with Joaquin Phoenix, and I’m just sitting in my living room in L.A., and we did that for like two hours. Just did a bunch of takes and tried a bunch of different stuff. Because Ari is like, “This is all one shot.” And I just did it a lot. And my assistant was like, “What the f**k are you doing?” [Laughs] “You’re just crying and freaking out…” Because we did some takes that were really wild, really big and intense. Then, I just remember feeling really exhausted and Ari coming on and going, “Hey, man. It’s so funny, Bill.” And I was like, “Funny? I can’t see straight. I’ve been crying.” But they just thought it was hilarious.

DEADLINE: Have you seen the film yet?

HADER: Yeah, I saw it. I took Ali Wong and Zach Cregger, who directed Barbarian. And my friend Kyle Reiter and Duffy Boudreaux and Allyssa, and then John Dwyer from the Osees, which is one of my favorite bands. We all went to a private screening of it and just were completely blown away.

Source: Deadline


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