Home Interviews ‘Barry’ – Season Two – An Interview With Anthony Carrigan
‘Barry’ – Season Two – An Interview With Anthony Carrigan

‘Barry’ – Season Two – An Interview With Anthony Carrigan


Barry is back! And that means more crazy action-comedy from the likes of depressed but talented hitman Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) who finds new meaning in his life through theatre and season two is now upon us.

This unique crime series really made an impact with viewers and now the second season is set to deliver the goods.

Rising star Anthony Carrigan (Gotham) recently opened up about his role as crazed mob boss turned friend turned mob boss Noho Hank and his thoughts on the series and his life as an actor are incredibly interesting. Check it out below:

Barry Anthony Carrigan SpicyPulp

The feedback on the first season has been incredible – what has it been like to be a part of that?

It’s really wonderful. It’s just such a gift. We came into this so excited, so thrilled to be working on something so fun, so well written, and so different, and then we put so much love into it, and wanted to just create the best thing possible. We were so excited to share it with people.

When you first saw the scripts for season one, how much was on the page about NoHo Hank?

Oh, I feel like so much of it was there. I looked at this character on the page and I was like, oh, I know this guy. I get him. But that was just the beginning of the process, because throughout shooting and all the rehearsals and table reads, it was just delving deeper and deeper and deeper.

And what was it that appealed to you about him?

I think just how sweet and thoughtful and caring and polite and naive he is. I have my moments of naivety. I really do. I play the other part of it, that part of a character who just happens to be grinding up bones. He’s a great contradiction with all of those elements.

You don’t probably get to play that character very often because people don’t really write people with those extremes….

No, they really don’t. I really give so much credit to Bill Hader and Alec Berg, because they created this wonderful story with such vibrant characters that are just so out there, and yet it, it works. It’s real. It’s not cartoonish, I hope. It’s also Los Angeles, and Los Angeles is a very cartoonish place. It’s a very out there place, with so many characters, so it really works for that world. If you put it in a different city, it might be harder to justify it.

What do you think it is about the show that’s really resonating with audiences and with critics?

I happen to think it’s a number of things. First of all, the show’s just really well written and nuanced and fleshed out. The other thing is that you can’t quite put your finger on it tonally. It’s a very different show. It’s not black or white, it’s in that kind of muddled ground where you’re unsure of who you should be rooting for, or why you should be rooting for them. And it really plays with that.There’s also the fact that it can go to these really extreme, dark places but also keep very laugh-out-loud funny as well. It’s difficult to find a show that does all those things.

I understand that it is getting darker in season two…?

Yeah. I was really curious to see if the second season was going to be kind of emulating the first. I think it’s one of those traps when a first season gets positive feedback, to then want to cater to that. To cater to the things that made it work. But what was really cool, is that it built upon those things, but it also wasn’t afraid to kind of become a new unique thing. And to kind of go deeper in those directions. So, it’s certainly different, but it still keeps all those things that made the first season work.

Bill has said that the theme of the second season – if he was going to give it an overall theme – is the question of whether we, as human beings, can ever truly alter our nature.Does Hank even want to change? Does he see that there would be any need in altering his nature? He seems pretty alright with himself.

Yeah, zero conflict there. Well no, but there is a lot of tension, especially this season because Hank is stepping into this role as a gang leader, as an alpha male, when his true nature is that of being a people pleaser, and a pushover and a sweetheart who just wants to make everyone happy. He’s a real sweetie. So when things start to get real and gritty and bloody and dirty, it’s pretty much diametrically opposed to who Hank is, and how he envisions crime to be. So, no one is spared from that kind of truth about their nature, in their surroundings.

This season he certainly has a lot more responsibility. He has a lot more on his shoulders. And he was so used to being the lieutenant, the kind of go between, following the orders of others. And so, to be in a situation in which he is the one who is the shot-caller, is a bit terrifying.

What did you relate to about him, when you first read the scripts?

I could certainly relate to this kind of childlike excitement that he had about everything. Especially when it came to the world of crime.I watched a lot of eighties action movies – that genre really gave me so much, because it was all these people looking so cool, doing what they were doing. It was all of this spectacle with explosions and gunfire and here’s Hank who really wants it to have that veneer – but the reality is something much different.
I could certainly relate to that – my eight year-old self, wanting to be someone in those action movies. And that was really fun to play.

I know it’s comedy, but it’s also quite gruesome in certain aspects. Are there ever any elements that are tricky to tuck away afterwards?

Hank’s thing is that he tends to kind of just lean toward the positive – so even when you’re watching these gruesome things, he’s still justifying it with a positive response.
So he is buffered slightly from it.

The thing that I take away with me after playing Hank are more the positive things – driving home after work, being like, oh, that’s a beautiful house, I wonder what it looks like inside?

I love those shutters. It’s a beautiful color. That’s the sort of stuff I take away with me.

Bill is writing, directing, and acting. There aren’t that many people who can do that – him, Donald Glover, Lena Dunham. What’s it like to work with someone with that 360-vision?

It’s surprising because he’s such a sweet, down to earth guy that it’s insane that he can do all that. And he doesn’t seem stressed out by any of it. He has such a clear vision for the show, and because of that vision he puts so much into it. So much love, so much work, so much focus, that when you show up to work, you feel like you’re just in really good hands.
But he’s not precious, either. He’s an actor, and he understands that what you come in with might change and transform and turn into the best possible thing by the end of it, which might look completely different.

So, the fact that he is an actor gives him a different perspective as a director, do you think?

Totally. I think he’s wearing all of those hats all at once. And he does it really well. I think there are a lot of directors who will kind wear their directing hat, take it off, put on an ‘I’m an actor-friendly director’ hat, speak to the actor, and then put their directing hat back on. Bill just kind of does it seamlessly. And it’s a real joy to work with him.
He knows what he wants, but he’s also just fun and playful and creates this whole big playground with which you can just explore. It’s really fun.

And what is it like working with the legend that is Henry Winkler?

Oh. A joy. A joy!

He’s the sweetest man. And his sweetness is matched by his incredible talent.

He’s just so wonderful, and every time I see him, my mood is lifted. And he just owns this character.

It’s such a joy to see what he’s going to do each time. It’s so magical, these moments that just kind of come through. I’m a huge fan of his.

There are certainly aspects of this industry that will warp or corrupt someone because there are certainly some shallow aspects to the entertainment industry. But you look at Henry and he is someone who has really transcended all that – he’s a testament to the fact that you can be a good person and succeed.

Your character, as well as Bill’s and Henry’s, is an interesting portrait of masculinity. None of the three of them are very typical at all when it comes to stereotypical notions of masculinity.

Well, I think we’re in an interesting time right now, in terms of what’s on television right now, and what is being put out there. We’re dealing with audiences who aren’t stupid – they’re very intelligent audiences, who are hungry for things that are different, that are new, that are unique.

I also think everyone’s at a bit of a loss as to what this typical male persona looks like. Because the reality is that men have some nuance – they’re complicated and sweet and difficult, and I think this show does a wonderful job of painting those nuanced characters.

You couldn’t really think of two more aggressively masculine roles to put those complicated things in than a hit man and some gangsters. And then to make them gentle and sensitive….

That’s my favorite thing about about being an actor – getting something and then seeing how I can play against it.

When I first saw the role of NoHo Hank, you know, it said: Chechen mobster. And I immediately knew what everyone was going to come in with, and I was like, eh, no, that doesn’t interest me, I want to come in with something else. So, I think that this different take on it, this playing against it, this idea of where is the tough guy pushover, where is the scary person terrified – I find that way more interesting than just playing an idea which doesn’t really exist.

Because that’s where it all comes from – the scariest people are the ones who tend to be the most terrified.

You were thrown a bit of a curveball in your career, when you developed alopecia. How did you reorient yourself in terms of roles and your career?

Yeah, it was certainly a huge moment. I’ve had alopecia since I was three years old, but it was something that I had always kind of kept under cover, and was able to just patch over, quite literally, for my work. But eventually it got to the point where I’d lost so much hair that I didn’t really have a choice.

It wasn’t the easiest thing. I had a lot of people telling me I would never work again; I had a lot of people telling me this was never going to work out.
And I had kind of resigned myself to the idea that, well, okay, maybe I can keep working, but maybe I’ll just play monsters and aliens.

But one thing stuck with me: someone said ‘the right people will find you’. And I kept on remembering that, and working with Bill and Alec, it was like, yeah, these guys are the right people. This is exactly who my friend was talking about.

And is it something you’re very comfortable with now?

I don’t even remember that I have alopecia anymore. It’s just such a part of who I am right now, and I’m so blessed. And it’s so funny because if you had told me that the thing that I was most scared of when I was a kid – I was so scared about people finding out about it – would be the thing that I now love about myself so much, I wouldn’t have believed you.

I work with a lot of kids who have alopecia, and adults, too, because it’s a scary and disorienting process to lose your hair.

Or have any change to your physical appearance.

It’s hard, but at the end of the day, I happen to think that these are things that immediately get you in touch with something which is way more important, which is self acceptance and self love. It’s a fast track to that.

If you can get to the other side of it, then it’s a real gift.

It brings things into focus, the things that are way more important – it all becomes quite clear.

Barry Season Two is currently streaming on Neon.

Images: SKY TV