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Anthony Carrigan On JCVD Movies, Sandwiches, And Being The Reliable Comedy Option On ‘Barry’

Anthony Carrigan‘s NoHo Hank makes trying to be liked seem so damn likable on Barry (which airs Sundays at 10ET on HBO). A reliable laugh in the midst of ever-darkening clouds who clings to more powerful men like a well-attired barnicle, Hank has somehow gone from being the host with the most to a shoddy assassin and mobster. But he survives, even thriving at the start of season 3 as his own relationship with Cristobal (Michael Irby), though flawed and built on a shaky foundation, seems like a contrast to the shitshow that was the Barry/Sally coupling.

We know that chaos has bloomed in that relationship for Hank since then as we head toward the last two episodes of the season, and yet there’s a sense that he will somehow be alright, even though, as Carrigan put it in our recent chat, the show is “fan theory proof.” And that’s cool! Sometimes it’s good to stop playing detective and enjoy the ride. That’s what we did in this chat with Carrigan, moving from more serious questions about his role on the show to spin-off ideas, Hank’s vision board, and Jean Claude Van Damme movies.

The show has been categorized as a comedy and Hank is probably the character most reliably in that comedy space, even though, obviously, your character goes through a lot of things that are pretty intense. Do you feel a certain amount of pressure to carry the flag of comedy for the show?

Yeah. Just the classic, “Leave it to the mob boss to just lighten things right on up.” I don’t know. I always feel pressure, just as an actor, because I want to do the story justice and I want to continue to find pathos in this character and not let him turn into a cartoon. But I think the pressure is outweighed by the excitement and the joy of what I get to do. So, as long as I continue to focus on that, that carries me through. The trap is to make things funny, right? To be like, “Uh-oh. Got to be funny now.” As soon as you start to try to be funny, you fall on your face and nobody laughs. You just have to double down and commit so hard to these circumstances, as if you’re in a Shakespearean tragedy. And when you commit and double down so hard, that’s where the comedy comes from.

I honestly can’t figure out if this ends happily or not for Barry or Hank. I’m curious what you think about your character. Do you think it’s going to end happily for Hank?

Selfishly, I sure hope so, but at the same time, at the end of the day, you just want a really compelling story, and whatever that means, I’m all for it. I just want to do my best and be of service to really great storytelling, which I think is what’s happening on this show. The cool thing about it is you can actually find a lot of these really thought-provoking issues and you can spend a long time discussing any of these things like toxicity, relationships, forgiveness, and redemption. All of these concepts are all happening, all at the same time. You can either unpack it and do a deep dive, or you can just go along for the ride, and either way, it works out well for you. But I think that it’ll continue, probably up until the very end, to be complex and nuanced. For sure.

This is an unfair question, but that fidelity to the show and what’s best for the show, does that extend to if Hank gets a bullet in episode eight and isn’t along for the ride in Season 4 or Season 5, or however long this goes? Or do you selfishly want to stick around no matter what happens?

I don’t know. Almost getting killed off in the first episode, in the pilot, weirdly just emboldened me to just enjoy whatever happens from that moment forward. Obviously, there’s something to be said about job security, but at the same time, the rules have gotten thrown out with Game of Thrones, where anyone can die at any time and life’s not fair.

That’s good though, isn’t it?

It’s good, because I would prefer something shocking and horrible to bad storytelling and a safe choice. I feel like, if it’s way more interesting and way more compelling, then I’m all for it.

Based on precedent, I don’t think this is going to turn into a CSI in Season 10 type situation.

Although, that would be quite the surprise. If it slowly blended into a procedural TV show. It’s like, “Hey, did you watch Barry: Special Chechen Unit?”

Honestly, if there was a version of the show that becomes Hank and Barry as buddy cops, private detectives, I could see that show being popular in a weird, perverse way.

It sounds like a Rick and Morty interdimensional cable channel.

At the end of the fifth episode, Barry took Hank’s advice and created a vision board, or I guess a personality totem of all of his interests and what he’s all about. I saw that and I was wondering, “What would Hank’s version of that look like?”

Wow. That’s a great question. Let’s see. I think it would probably be an interactive, probably an interactive experience with just all sorts of things, like delicious treats and sandwiches and options, food. I don’t know. Probably just cardboard cutouts of Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme, and these ’80s action movies that I drew a lot of inspiration from. God. That’s just the start, but who knows? Maybe I’ll try to incorporate a vision board later on.

What’s your ideal sandwich?

My ideal sandwich. Well, okay. I’ve been really digging on Impossible Meat. So a really good Impossible meatball sandwich.

You mentioned action movies, what’s your favorite Jean-Claude Van Damme movie?

Probably Kickboxer. It’s ridiculous and amazing. There’s this scene where he’s dancing in this bar and he’s wasted, and he also happens to be kicking the shit out of people. So it’s amazing.

Well, I’m a big fan of Jean-Claude van Damme dancing randomly. Have you ever seen the music video that they did for Timecop?

No, but I really appreciate that. I’m going to write that down.

There’s a bunch of machines. He does a spin move and then he’s pressing buttons. You’ve never someone so happy to be pressing buttons, which is apparently how time travel happens. But it’s highly, highly recommended.

This means more than you could ever know. I appreciate this on such a huge level.

‘Barry’ season 6 continues on HBO Sundays at 10PM ET