Bill Hader Reflects on Violence, Female Influence in ‘Barry’ Season 1

Variety | 6/13/2018 | Danielle Turchiano
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Bill Hader’s HBO series “Barry” is technically a half-hour comedy, but since his character is a hitman who decides he wants to become an actor, it does get very violent.

“We wanted to be very real and for what it is,” Hader said at Variety‘s Tune In! TV Summit in Los Angeles on Wednesday. “We wanted the violence to be incredibly real because it should be a world that he doesn’t want to be in anymore.”

Course - HBO - Moderator - Daniel - Holloway

Of course, HBO was on-board for that, he shared with moderator Daniel Holloway, Variety‘s senior TV reporter, and a room full of industry insiders. It wasn’t just about making the violence look real, but also making sure it came from a real place in the character’s life.

“We didn’t want it to be a show about TV shows or movies,” Hader continued. “[So we thought] ‘What is the real thing? What would it really be?’ He would have been a vet — a former marine who had training. ‘Oh, that brings an interesting thing to the character, the experience there of trying to find yourself.’ …Maybe it’s being a parent or something, but I just don’t like violence being for laughs.”

Screening - Episodes - HBO - Comedy - Hader

After a screening of the first four episodes of the HBO comedy, Hader shared that an agent stood up and said he thought the Sally character (played by Sarah Goldberg) was “kind of irredeemable.” But Emily Heller, one of the show’s writers and producers, countered, Hader recalled.

“Barry’s a murderer!” he said she yelled back. “Barry kills people, but she’s unlikable because she’s ambitious!?”

Writers - Room - Barry - % - Female

The writers’ room of “Barry” was about 50% female, which Hader said “just shaped up that way,” but ended up being integral to informing perspective of characters, especially Sally.

Addressing a scene mid-way through the season in which Sally goes to an agent’s office and he...
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