Bill Hader Explains Why He’s Ending ‘Barry’ With Season 4, HBO Debuts Teaser and Release Date

In spring 2020, during the earliest phase of the pandemic, production on Season 3 of “Barry” was shut down before it could even begin. But co-creators Bill Hader and Alec Berg — along with the writing staff of the dark HBO comedy — would soon put that time to good use. They wrote the fourth season of “Barry,” and then went back and rewrote the show’s third, which still hadn’t started filming. As Hader and Berg wrote Season 4, they started to realize that “a very clear ending presented itself,” Hader told Variety in an interview last week. On April 16, the eight-episode final season of “Barry” will premiere — and Variety can exclusively reveal that date, as well as unveil its first teaser and first look. The teaser shows the aftermath of the Season 3 finale, with Hader as Barry Berkman — an Ohioan hitman who comes to Los Angeles for a job, but ends up seeking redemption after finding community in an acting class — now in prison, thanks to his former acting teacher Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler). Even after the idea for the ending of “Barry” had come to Hader, he said during that time he’d find himself thinking, “but we have such a good time doing it!” Hader, the “Barry” creative team and HBO certainly have plenty of reasons to keep the show going. Season 3 of “Barry” premiered to rave reviews in April of last year, and overall, the show has been nominated for 44 Emmys, winning nine. Hader has won two of those Emmys for playing the title character — and just last month picked up another DGA award for directing the Season 3 episode “710N.” Hader didn’t want to say a premature goodbye to a show that had formed its own community since HBO first picked it up in 2016 (“Barry” premiered on March 25, 2018). “We didn’t want to admit it to ourselves, you know what I mean?” Hader said. And so, according to Hader, it wasn’t until Season 4 began filming last summer that he broke the news to Amy Gravitt, who as the executive vice president of HBO comedy programming had worked with him on “Barry” since its inception. “I feel like the story naturally ends after Season 4,” he remembered telling her — imitating Gravitt’s anguished sigh at hearing the news. Gravitt said she trusts Hader’s judgment implicitly, nonetheless. “Every decision that he’s made about the story, or the jump between seasons, has made sense — so I had to go with his gut on that,” she said. “Obviously, now that we’re here, we’re feeling sentimental about it. But it really does feel like it’s the right time to finish the show.” In the teaser, Barry, who was arrested in the finale of the third season, is incarcerated. Set to the song “After the Lights Go Out” by the Walker Brothers, the clip opens with Barry in prison, making a series of phone calls. His former friend and mentor Cousineau says meaningfully, “Hey Barry — I got you.” Then, seemingly hallucinating in the prison yard, Barry imagines watching ex-girlfriend Sally (Sarah Goldberg), Gene and his hitman handler Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root) walking right on by. As the teaser continues and gathers momentum, we see a worried-looking Sally as she steps onto a set, Barry hitting his head against a wall, Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan) walking with purpose, Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom) approaching Gene in his dressing room, Fuches smirking — and Gene, looking scared, holding a gun. With a beaten-up face, Barry growls into the phone, “So help me God, if I get out of here, I’m coming for you.” Is he talking to Hank? To Jim? To Gene? Fuches? We’ll begin to figure the answer out on April 16. Gravitt was loathe to tease any spoilers, but would say of how “Barry” ends, “I’ve been using the word ‘satisfying’ a lot.” In his only interview announcing the final season, Hader talked about what went into his decision to end “Barry,” why he directed all of Season 4, whether Barry Berkman can ever be redeemed — and why the show has been a “life-changing experience.” You just told me “a very clear ending presented itself” to wrap up the story of “Barry.” So you and the writers headed toward that? Yeah! It was very much in the writing and the storytelling. I mean, a lot of people after last season were like, “Why are you doing another season? It should have just ended.” But to me, there are still so many questions with the other characters, and with Barry — and there’s so many things unsaid. What happens in Season 4 is structurally radical in some ways, but it made sense for what I think the characters needed to go through, and what I think the whole show is always kind of headed towards.

Via: Variety