No, it wasn’t the movie Get Shorty which served as Bill Hader’s inspiration for his upcoming action comedy series Barry, rather an experience he would go through when starring and writing on NBC’s Saturday Day Live.
On Barry Hader plays a low-rent hitman who upon making his way westward to Hollywood, learns that his passion lies in acting after going through the town’s second-rate theater scene.
“On SNL, I was OK with the sketch stuff, but the live thing was hard for me,” says Hader, “I had a lot of anxiety.”
“That red light would go the camera and all of sudden all of my friends in Oklahoma were watching me,” said Hader.
And from there the concept sprung: About a man who was good at one thing, and a prisoner to it, but conversely, was bad at his passion. Henry Winkler plays the acting coach to Hader’s protagonist on the show.
That said, Berg and Hader made a point to veer from any Get Shorty type tropes though the SNL alum acknowledges that he watched a lot of true crime stories in prepping for the show.
Hader knows a thing or two about the LA theater scene. While he wasn’t an actor per se in it, he was trained at the Hollywood outpost for Chicago’s Second City when he was working as a production assistant on Dwayne Johnson and Arnold Schwarzenegger films. Nonetheless, Berg and Hader went back to school, specifically those for Los Angeles-based actors, and carried away some takeaway experiences. “There’s a scene with Sarah Goldberg on the show where the acting teacher actually makes her cry. We actually saw that in an acting class,” said Hader. That real-life experience ended with the actress being so grateful to the acting teacher for the experience.
“We also saw a guy do a True Romance scene in an acting class,” said Hader, “That was a bummer.”
Barry premieres on HBO on March 25.