[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Barry, Season 3, Episode 1, “forgiving jeff.”]
It wasn’t perhaps the love story you were expecting to bloom when the dark HBO comedy Barry first premiered, but that just makes it a well-earned and also unexpected delight: Following the events of the Season 2 finale, as seen in the Season 3 premiere, the overwhelmingly cheerful NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and rival mob leader Cristobal (Michael Irby) are now romantically involved.
Of course, Barry is not exactly a show built for happy endings, especially for the confirmed mobsters at its core, but for right now, Carrigan is just happy to play a new dimension to NoHo Hank, one which builds upon the character’s established desire to care for others, but with a whole new edge. “I’m excited to have the world see this new side,” he tells Consequence.
From the beginning of the series, NoHo Hank has been one of the more fascinating elements, and while Carrigan doesn’t necessarily see the character as a villain, he has had a great time exploring all of his dimensions.
In this interview, transcribed and edited for clarity, Carrigan explains his initial reaction to NoHo Hank as a character and what it’s been like playing NoHo Hank in a romantic context. He’s also got pitches for a New York-set spinoff featuring NoHo Hank, as well as an episode idea that may never happen, but would be must-see TV if it did.
Last night, I went back and revisited the first episode of Barry, and watching your character’s first entrance, that big happy “Hi, I’m NoHo Hank!” moment, it feels like you understood the character right away. And I’m curious if that was actually the case for you.
I mean, I think so. I was immediately drawn to this character and I think I just knew how he sounded, but it was one of those situations where you have an immediate reaction, where you’re like, “Oh, I know who this guy is.” And I started just kind of talking as this guy and you know, you think that this makes total sense, but to everyone else, they’re like, “Who’s this, what is this weird… Who is this guy?”
To me he’s always just like, oh, it’s Hank, you know, like this just makes the most sense. But yeah, off the bat, I think I really understood him, though since that time I’ve been kind of, you know, tweaking things here and there.
Is it one of those situations where you’re tweaking as you get more sense of Hank’s backstory over the years?
To a certain extent, yeah. But I’m reluctant to kind of really flesh out every aspect of that because you never know it’s gonna be written that might contradict it. So it’s this funny game of finding some little details that’ll work and that’ll give you a little bit of a window into who this character is and what makes him tick, without painting myself into a corner that I can’t really get out of. You know, you kind of have to have some fluidity there.
Of course. So it’s more like you’re creating vague ideas of backstory in your head, versus concrete events.
Yeah. Like for instance, I mean, I think Hank is just obsessed with America and California. Like it’s safe to say that he had a stack of VHS tapes that he just watched hundreds and hundreds of times and learned English that way. And essentially was obsessed with pop culture and that was what informed him as a person.