Henry Winkler took a different approach to his “Barry” role as Gene Cousineau for Season 3 of the HBO dramedy, returning to HBO Sunday after a three-year hiatus.
“Bill and Alec have two big premise,” Winkler, 76, told the Post of series co-creators/writers Bill Hader and Alec Berg (Hader plays hitman/young actor Barry Berkman). “You’re not allowed to have A-holes and they pick literally everyone. …and the crew and actors make this wonderful bond on set.
“Her other mantra is [that] they don’t want to repeat themselves. So in season two I read the scripts and went up to Bill and Alec and said, ‘Can I meet you? I really love this gift you gave me but I don’t recognize the man you wrote in season 2. It was Gene in Season 1, but this guy, his name could be Bob – I don’t know who he is!'” he said of the fastidious LA acting coach, which brought Winkler his first Emmy Award in 2018.
“They said, ‘We hear you, we’re going in that direction, we’re going to take some of the things you’ve told us into account,’ and Season 2 was great. For Season 3, I didn’t even bother to have the meetup. Bill and Alec are incredible leaders; They are gentle and know what they want, and freedom comes within their structure.
“So I just showed up, brought a Bundt cake from home, gave it to the crew and went to work.”
Season 2 ended with Gene’s surprising realization that his friend LAPD Det. Janice Moss (Paula Newsome) was killed by Barry when she identified him as the man responsible for the murder that opened the series. “The scene in bed when I sit up and say, ‘My God!’ and I realized that Barry Berkman shot that on Stage 19 at Paramount, where we shot ‘Happy Days’ for nine years,” Winkler said. “I thought there was something symmetrical.”
As Season 3 begins, Gene is intent on avenging Janice’s murder while Barry, a freelance hitman (old habits die hard), takes care of it NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) and the Chechen mafia trying to fix things with Gene. Meanwhile, Monroe Fuches (Stephen Root) hides in the mountains of Chechnya Sally (Sarah Goldberg) films her TV show – (very) loosely based on her stage show – and handles the intense pressure cooker environment in an uncharacteristic way.
“What I can tell you is that the umbrella overall [of Season 3] is, ‘Can you change no matter where you are in life?’” said Winkler, who has been sworn to secrecy about plot details. “That’s the theme for each character. I do not know if [as Gene] I may or may not achieve that, but this is the train everyone got on.”
What is The first two episodes of Season 3 reveal the animosity his Hollywood brothers feel towards Gene. (A casting director’s response to hiring Gene for a small role: “Life’s too short.”) “We find out there’s a litany of swear words people have used about Gene making a sailor blush would leave,” said Winkler.
Winkler said that the two-and-a-half-year break between seasons of “Barry” (season 3 began filming this past summer) ultimately benefited his portrayal of Gene.
“It’s like riding a bike,” he said. “If you do a play and then it goes into the repertoire, or if you don’t play it for a while, or if you do a revival years later, that play lived in you and the character lived in you. It has evolved into a richer form. The material this year [on ‘Barry’] no kidding or exaggerating…was the most intense material I have ever done in my entire career, beginning on June 30, 1970 when I showed up for repertoire at the John Drew Guild Theater in East Hampton.
“In the [Season 3] At the premiere, we all watched the first two episodes at the HBO party, and after it was over, I looked at each of these actors and I was like, ‘I’m so happy and I’m so proud to be here and I am with them.’ “
The Season 3 premiere of “Barry” airs Sunday, April 24 at 10 p.m. on HBO.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/21/henry-winkler-on-bill-haders-barry-rule-no-a-holes-allowed/ Henry Winkler on Bill Hader’s “Barry” rule: “A-holes are not allowed”