Three Years Later – The Cast of HBO’s “Barry” Talk About the Unintentional Gap Between Season 2 and 3

“We were about two weeks away from shooting in March 2020,” Bill Hader revealed during a TCA press conference about the third season of the Emmy-winning HBO series Barry, which returns for its long-awaited third season tonight at 10/9c. The cast was ready to go, throwing caution to the wind and hugging each other as people were beginning to bump elbows in lieu of shaking hands. But forced downtime allowed the team behind the hit dark comedy to make it even better. “We decided to write season four, and then while we were doing that, we went back and did a pretty extensive rewrite of season three.” Hader not only stars as the murderous aspiring actor Barry, but also directs, writes, executive produces and co-created the series.



Like most of the world, the cast went on what they presumed would be a two-week break, which turned into two-and-a-half years. “Just knowing that we were going to be able to come back was a huge thing,” actor Anthony Carrigan shared, who plays NoHo Hank. “It was a huge thing that kind of kept me going, the idea of just knowing that we had these wonderful, wonderful scripts to work on at some point was actually something that really helped carry me through, and you go through these periods of what’s it going to be like? Am I still going to be able to act when I get back to it? And you put on the costumes and you get back in there, and you just get right back into it, so that was really a big thing for keeping me sane and keeping me focused was just looking forward to the season.”

Out of the show’s six Emmy wins to date, acting awards have been given to Bill Hader and Henry Winkler. “I thought it might have been the best campaign I’ve ever been part of,” Winkler reminisced about the Season 2 marketing campaign that featured him as his character of Gene Cousineau, Barry’s acting teacher. The campaign didn’t even reference the series, but acted like you could really contact Gene for acting lessons. Ads were posted in New York City subway stations and on bus benches. “I did the voice for the phone number, so if you called the phone number you literally heard me talk to you. I was so proud, because I took that subway for the greater part of my life before I came to Hollywood. I was so thrilled to be part of that campaign.

One thing the cast all agreed on is how well they get along and how much fun together they have on set, but table reads are one of the few times they actually all get to be in the same room. “It would be lovely to have big scenes with all of us in it, but the show by its nature is an A, B, and a C story,” actor Stephen Root explained, who plays Fuches. “We get to see each other in rehearsal. Somebody will be rehearsing before you or after you, but it’s sad and rare that we get to see each other, but we don’t feel any less love for each other for it.”

Not wanting to give away too many spoilers, the cast kept plot details of the third season close to their chest. “All the characters on the show are sort of constantly grappling with who they want to be, who they think they could be, a better version of themselves that they're trying to become,” Sarah Goldberg said about where we find all of the characters at the start of this season, including her character Sally. “There's all these fork-in-the-road moments, and they all tend to make poor choices. And that's how they deal with the fallout. So morality is sort of the undercurrent of the whole show which is what makes it so fun to play and the sort of moral duality in each of the characters.”

“All of the wreckage of Seasons 1 and 2 and all the subsequent terrible things that Barry had to do to keep the plates spinning all go back to that decision he made to try and become an actor,” co-creator, director, and executive producer Alec Berg offered a refresher. “There was a moment where Fuches had him more or less convinced that he had to go back to Cleveland and be miserable… Every single thing that happens in the show is a consequence of Barry wanting a slightly better — well, not slightly, a very much better life. But you could argue that every bit of that better life that he's trying to achieve has led to all of this chaos. He obviously didn't know it would be that bad, but he was warned.”

Don’t miss the Season 3 premiere of Barry tonight at 10/9c on HBO and streaming on HBO Max.