Back in January, HBO ordered the pilot for a new half-hour series from SNL’s Bill Hader as part of his exclusive development deal with the premium channel. Barry focuses on an ex-marine-turned-hitman who takes a job in Los Angeles, and ends up making friends with members of a theater troupe. So Grosse Pointe Blank meets Waiting for Guffman?
Pilots don’t always turn into series, but according to Deadline this one has. It’s not surprising given Hader’s immense talent both on and off-screen; of note, he was a fixture in the South Park writing room this past season alongside Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The series also boasts a fantastic cast (Hindsight fans rejoice over Sarah Goldberg’s inclusion!)
The series co-stars Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau, an inspiring acting teacher; Stephen Root as Fuches, a man who arranges Barry’s hits; Sarah Goldberg as Sally, an aspiring actress who is Barry’s entree into LA’s theater scene; Anthony Carrigan as Noho Hank, a Chechen gangster; and Glenn Fleshler as Goran Pazar, a Chechen gangster, and will shoot in Los Angeles in 2017.
Though HBO has faltered with its recent drama pickups — Vinyl being a huge disappointment, The Leftovers only serving a very niche audience and wrapping next year, not to mention the Lewis and Clark fiasco , and Westworld’s delays — its comedy slate has never been stronger. Silicon Valley, Veep, even this last season of Girls have all been exceptionally good, and Barry seems like a promising addition.
Speaking of Silicon Valley, Barry will pair Hader up with Silicon executive producer Alec Berg, whose work in shaping that series has been beyond reproach. HBO also seems to be doubling down on its comedy pickups (or half-hour series at least, the distinction is growing vaguer), with Judd Apatow’s Crashing, Sharon Horgan’s Divorce (starring Sarah Jessica Parker) and Issa Rae’s Insecure all slated to premiere later this year.