Last Monday, Bill Hader wrapped post-production on the season two finale of Barry, got into his car, and said to himself, “Now what do I do?” One hopes that the show’s co-creator/writer/sometimes director/and star (who is also set to co-star in It: Chapter 2) takes some time to bask in the glory of a creation that has continued to generate buzz about it being among the best shows on television. But as Hader confided when we spoke about the show’s season two finale (which you should watch before reading this interview), he’s not quite sure where Barry Berkman goes from here after the assassin turned actor went full berserker. And he seems pretty cool letting the process play out in an organic way.
Uproxx spoke with Hader about that, the big choices that lead to those stunning and potentially series-altering moments, writing himself into a corner, and trying not to repeat himself.
How are you taking this praise that you’ve been getting for this show? I’ve seen a lot of critics that are saying this is the best show on television. I’ve seen Guillermo Del Toro praise you as a director after episode five.
I mean, it’s all awesome and flattering. I’ve been through the thing, where everyone is really happy with you and then it tapers off. It’s all kind of like a rollercoaster ride. So what keeps you sane is just focusing on the work and making sure that you’re telling the story that you want to tell. But it’s very nice. I had a bunch of friends send me that Guillermo Del Toro tweet, and I was like, “Oh, my God. That’s huge.” That was really nice.
This season’s fifth episode, “Ronny/Lily,” was such an interesting change of pace. Is that something you want to have the freedom to do again?
Yeah, if it makes sense to the story. I directed the finale and you’re wrapping up so many stories. So, like, when you’re trying to get a nice interesting tone and pace for the episode, it’s harder because you’re having to make sure all these stories are kind of being wrapped up or changed in a big way since it’s the end of season, so it’s always bit trickier. Whereas in an episode like “Ronny/Lily,” episode five, it’s actually kind of nice as its own weird contained thing.
She’s not a supernatural kind of creation, but there’s some abnormality there. What was behind the choice to toe that line a little bit?
I don’t know. It’s just like an instinct. It’s like, “Oh, it’s really funny if she could fly around the room and sort of attack him in this kind of way.” And, I dunno, it was just making us laugh and it just felt right. It didn’t feel like we were jumping the shark. Then we were like, maybe we are jumping the shark, I dunno? [Laughs]
The scene with Fuches at the end screaming “What are you?!” is probably the hardest laugh I had all season.
That’s Geoffrey Lewis and High Plains Drifter. I don’t know if you’ve seen High Plains Drifter, but at the end, the way Geoffrey Lewis says “Who are you!?” always made me… I just always remembered the way he said that.
Does Barry really love Sally, or is it more just the idea of what she could be for him?
Well, I think he loves her, but in his heart… I mean, in his soul, he’s like 15 years old. So it’s the way you loved a girl when you were 15 or 16. She’s like the greatest actress he’s ever seen because she’s kinda the only actress he’s ever seen. And she is a good actress. They’re kinda perfect for each other, because he can’t believe a girl like that would have anything to do with him. And she loves that this guy gives her so much attention. So it kinda works for both of them in a way. I think he really does [love her]. I don’t know how much she loves him. But he definitely is wholly in love. Like, if she broke up with him, the story ends.