Season three of Barry may have finally broken Noho Hank.
The optimistic Chechen mobster whose life motto when the season began was “like that line in Shawshank Redemption, Get rich or die trying,” ended it by (spoiler alert) breaking out of confinement, avoiding being eaten by a jungle animal, murdering multiple people, and saving the love of his life, Cristobal, from electroshock conversion therapy. By the conclusion of his arc in this chapter of the HBO series, Hank looks spent — and will have to contend with what he just endured.
“The toll that’s taken in getting there doesn’t go away,” says Anthony Carrigan as he reflects on his character’s final moment of the season. In a call with Vulture, he unpacked the trauma Hank endured in the finale, the behind-the-scenes atmosphere during that intense escape sequence, and how he kept in touch with his alter ego during the pandemic.
The relationship between Hank and Cristobal is so important for your character this season. The show could have played it for more laughs, but it was very touching. What tone were you trying to strike?
It was very important to us that we ground this relationship in a very real way. We wanted to balance getting the laughs but always striving for the real pathos of these characters. You never want to just play to the gallery. Even if something was written on the page, if we’d say it out loud and it sounded like something on the page, we’d scrap it. We tried to take it to a place of what a real, authentic response would look like.
When Hank goes to Bolivia, the first thing he does is walk up to someone and ask where the drug dealers live, which is maybe not the best approach. What is his plan? What does he think he’s going to do when he gets to Bolivia?
Hank is guilty of romanticizing, whether it’s crime or a certain plan working out. He has all these intricate ideas, and they’re not grounded in reality whatsoever. Hank probably thought he was going to do something along the lines of Romancing the Stone: Show up and be the hero, and it’s all going to fall into place. Ultimately, he’s met with a very cold, sobering reality.
It was a remarkable level of naïveté on his part.
There’s a naïveté, but it’s matched equally with real care for the person he loves. He doesn’t know what to do or how to save him, but he will go to any length to do it.
You have this huge sequence in the finale where Hank can hear what sounds like one of his Chechen compatriots being, I don’t know, eaten by a lion? Does it say in the script what is happening to them?
It does not really. It alludes to what’s happening. It is more described as them being tortured and then essentially … well, I know what was happening. I knew what was happening on the other side.
Based on what you were told or just what you were imagining?
Based on what I was told. But there’s a lot of power in the fact that the audience doesn’t get to see it. It was described in the script somewhat, but it was more this fuel for the reactions. Painting the picture without picking up the paintbrush, essentially.
Can you say what you were told was happening or do you want to keep that secret?
Oh, I’m going to keep that secret. I mean, that’s one of my favorite parts about that, that it’s up to the viewer to really fill in the gaps.
When you were actually shooting the scene, were there actors making noises or things off camera that you could react to, or were you just using your imagination?
It was a combination of both. There were times where I would get things to react to in the beginning in order to establish the sequence of events, but then, after that, I essentially had to mark through everything and just experience it as if it was happening. Because you do these takes again and again and again, it was challenging. It certainly pushed my imagination to the limit. But I had such a good time, weirdly.
Your head is completely red and you’re sweating. Did you give yourself a headache doing that?
No, but I certainly slept well that night. It was exhausting, the level of intensity that had to be channeled in such a brief time. But that’s the cool thing about the profession I’m in. You go into the land of make-believe and see how far you can push the envelope.
After Hank rescues Cristobal, he hugs Cristobal with relief. But as that scene ends, a different expression comes over Hank’s face. What were you trying to telegraph in that moment?
A concept that’s been prevalent this season is that you can’t escape trauma. The moment of reconnecting with Cristobal was really powerful and really beautiful. But that said, the toll that’s taken in getting there doesn’t go away. I don’t think enough stories allude to this. It’s still very much in your system: What just happened? What did I just experience?
Do you have any idea where Hank’s storyline could go in the future?
I’ve heard bits and pieces, but I always take that stuff with a grain of salt. Things are constantly changing. The pattern thus far has been the creators of the show paint themselves into a corner and then see how they can get out of it. I’m more excited to see what they’re going to do next and how this trauma and the consequences of violent acts are going to unfold in the future.
With season three, you had to deal with a lot of COVID delays. What has been the most gratifying part of the season?
My favorite part was getting back on set and playing again. This show, unlike anything else I’ve been on, is so driven by finding things in the moment and choosing unexpected ways of delivering these scenes. I was so relieved to get back into it. We had done our table reads prior to the pandemic and then had to essentially halt production before it even began. When I got back on set and I got those tattoos and tight shirts on, I made sure to not take a single moment for granted.
During that break, did you ever talk in the accent to make sure you didn’t lose command of it?
Well, yes, but not really so that I wouldn’t lose command of it. More that I was going nuts, and every once in a while, Hank would show up and brighten my day. I’m always in a much better mood after playing NoHo Hank. He’s so sunny and has such a cheerful disposition, and it kept me rooted in this job I love so much. When he would pop his head in and completely butcher a well-known saying, it would make me really happy.
So in a way, you quarantined with NoHo Hank?
Yeah. He was a roomie with me.