Writing for television is no piece of cake, and "Barry" star Bill Hader knows it firsthand. He thought the script for the show's third season was finished but eventually changed his mind.
"Saturday Night Live" alum Bill Hader is an artist. He has served as an actor, writer, director, and producer on some of Hollywood's most successful projects, including "Superbad," "Inside Out," and "South Park."
Hader joined forces with comedy writer Alec Berg to create "Barry." The dark comedy TV show follows a hitman (Hader) who leaves Cleveland for Los Angeles to complete a job but ends up joining Gene Cousineau ("Happy Days" star Henry Winkler)'s acting class.
Bill Hader on August 21, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
One of the actors who has enjoyed his time on "Barry" most is Winkler. Apart from winning his first Emmy Award in 2018 for his portrayal of Cousineau, the legendary actor confessed Hader and Berg were "incredible leaders."
Before filming the second season, Winkler read the script and had some reservations about it. He considered Cousineau changed so much between both seasons that he couldn't recognize him.
Bill Hader on June 12, 2019, in Banff, Canada. | Source: Getty Images
Hader and Berg understood Winkler's concerns. They explained the direction they wanted to take Cousineau and accommodated some of the things he brought up.
It made Winkler confirm what he already knew: Hader and Berg are "gentle," know what they want as creators and allow freedom in their structure. Things complicated for season three, with Winkler revealing there were significant script changes.
To avoid spoiling details for fans, let's just say Cousineau discovered something that changed his relationship with Barry. The initial challenge for Bill Hader, Alec Berg, and the writers was to figure out what to do about it.
They started writing the third season in October 2019 and had almost everything ready. They mapped out the fourth season during the pandemic even though HBO had not renewed the series.
It was a lot of work because they had to "overhaul" several elements of the third season.
Bill Hader on May 15, 2019 in New York City | Source: Getty Images
With season four ready, Hader and Berg realized they needed to change, include, and remove scenes from season three to set things up for the fourth season. Hader explained:
"We were going through that process, and then while doing that there were more and more things [we wanted to change]."
Bill Hader on March 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images
Hader and Berg eventually felt that what they had was interesting and profound, so they shot it. However, more challenges arose: they showed it to others and realized they didn't get what they intended.
The show went "even deeper" with reshoots, making everything as honest and truthful as possible. It was a lot of work because they had to "overhaul" several elements of the third season. Still, the whole ordeal was very helpful, confessed Hader.
The multi-hyphenate artist's time in "SNL" also influenced his job in "Barry." While most people would have felt too anxious about the audience's expectations following "Barry's" two successful seasons, Hader never lost control.
Bill Hader understands that the entertainment industry is a roller coaster. People will love you one week and hate you the next, so instead of worrying about what he reads online, he focuses on what he can control and does his best each day.