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'Barry' star Sarah Goldberg on Sally's final moments: 'Finally, she had some peace'

[This story contains Barry, “Wow.”]

It’s understandable if you don’t expect things to work outSarah Goldberg’s Sally Reed s Barry.

After all, things haven’t gone her way for a while. In season three, just as she finally had the success she craved, the rug was pulled from under her when her show was canceled (after a career-ending outburst and her connection to her killer ex Afterwards, so did she) boyfriend Barry Berkman, played by writer-director star Bill Hader). In season four, Sally is a shell of herself—or so she thinks. Viewers see her find her way back to Los Angeles and follow the path of Gene Cousino (Henry Winkler) as she moves from acting to teaching acting. While it’s something she’s good at, it’s not something she wants. Eventually, her ego gets in her way again.

“She just pushed things too far, wanted too much, couldn’t absorb, couldn’t listen,” Goldberg told The Hollywood Reporter ahead of Sunday night’s series finale. “But at every moment, she thought she was doing what was best for her.”

But Sally’s final on-screen moments were a welcome addition to at least one character in Barry’s world. Provides some calm. Years after Barry’s death – he was unceremoniously shot by Gene in the finale – Sally and her son John live far away from Los Angeles, where Sally is a high school drama teacher. It’s been a long journey for Sally to get there, and the second jump in season four left both audiences and the actress who plays her with many unanswered questions about Sally’s life.

In conversation with THR, Goldberg reflects on Barry, how the show has always blurred the lines between comedy and drama, and finally got the chance to film a scene with co-star Anthony Carrigan, who played Noah Hank for the first time in four seasons .

When did you first know what the final season would have in store for Sally and how did you react to what was going to happen to her?

I knew that while filming the first season and wanted it to end up in this very dark space. At the time, Bill asked, “Where do you want to see Sally go?” I was like, “Let’s just enjoy a woman under the influence of , , opening night . That’s where I want her to be.” He’s like, “Well, I guess I think we can do it.”

Those are my two favorite movies. They are amazing .

They are awesome. Gena Rowlands, what a woman. But when we did the Macbeth scene in season one there was an idea that the whole thing was going to have a Macbeth/Lady Macbeth element – the idea that they would commit crimes together . So I have a vague feeling. But in terms of details, the writers went back to writing season four during the pandemic when we couldn’t shoot season three. During that time, I made several phone calls back and forth, and learned about some fragments of the story. And then I learned about time jumping, which I love – I just thought it would give us a wide open space. We’re going to try something new, and if we do, everyone’s going to get a huge shift.

In previous seasons, we received [all of the scripts] before we started filming, but partly because of secrecy, partly because of time, we didn’t get all of them Script [Advance Time. So we got some interesting revelations. When I first read episode 5, I was so excited. I just thought, “We’re going to do a Wim Wenders movie. It’s going to be a whole different show, and I’m here for that.” For example, that scene with Bevel [Spenser Granese] in the bathroom, it’s an entire season One of the few scenes in the movie where I don’t know what’s going to happen. I read one listener saying, “Is she going to sleep with him? She’s going to kill him?” There were a lot of interesting twists and turns. And I think we’re all excited to try new things. I mean, how good is Stephen Root as Raven? He’s like, iconic.

Was that time jump a challenge for you? You want to figure out who Sally will be in all those years? We don’t know anything about life between her.

Well, it took us seven years to film four seasons, so, if anything, it has a lot to do with aging very useful. “Okay, great, we’ve caught up with our actual age.” (Laughs.) But, I see what you mean – the gap is huge. I was asked, “How much did you and Bill talk about everything that happened?” Honestly, it sounds lazy, but not a lot. I feel like the way the show works – and the way we’ve all learned to work with each other because we’re so comfortable with each other – we can take big risks and swing big, but it doesn’t matter if you fall on your face .

Many of these are things we really need to discover right now. We filled in some rough strokes, but there’s so much in it about discovering new things. I remember when we were shooting the first scene after the time jump, it was the scene where Barry and Sally had dinner with John, and Sally made unpalatable chicken pot pie. That’s the first scene where you see “Clark” and “Emily” as parents. We don’t usually do that many shoots with Barry, but we do a lot of them. …how drunk is she? How are they doing with each other now? Do they communicate with each other? Are there feelings between them? Just trying to find what the dynamic is. We tend to push it too far. Like, I think I played her so drunk you couldn’t understand it. Then I pulled it back.

There are challenges in finding the new rhythm we are getting into. And in the fifth episode, the whole show slows down; even though we have a lot of these big wide-angle shots, it’s very atmospheric. Rhythmically, everything slows down. But that’s the excitement and joy of this job, starting to try something completely new. That’s one of the reasons I love this show so much. There’s a lot in Sally; there’s so much to play with – everything from Shakespeare to the worst monologue and worst action movie you’ve ever seen. Playing many different characters in one role is a gift.

Serves the viewer too, as not explaining much. The show has always been about mixing shades and blurring lines, so it fits with the idea that the audience has to fill that space just like the actors.

I like this because it treats the audience as smart; no pandering or unnecessary exposition. There are huge leaps in the show, but I feel like the tone of the show is so bouncy and expansive that it can bear it. I will really miss this show because it was so unique. I can’t imagine Sally having a baby. I just don’t have that scene in my head. How did we get here? She clearly doesn’t want to be a mother. There are those leaps, those gaps that need to be filled. But I think participation in what we’re trying to make is the ticket for all of us.

One of my favorite things to talk about with Barry is the tone – if It’s a comedy or a drama. I mean, I think it’s a very dark, very funny show. But a lot of Sally’s humor comes from you being completely blunt about her. The desperation she shows, the obstacles she faces—it’s all absurd and yet so real for a professional actress in Los Angeles. Did you and Bill discuss how far to push the comedy element in your show? Did you ever feel like you were doing a comedy when you were on set?

I have a lot of different answers for you. The tone of the show is so specific that when I first read the pilot Was shocked. I haven’t read anything like that. I love dark comedies. That would be the genre I’ve always chosen, but this one is darker and funnier. It’s in its own category for me. I’m excited to see this character, they’re a bit of a Trojan horse in this girl-next-door role. Even in the first episode, you see this fulcrum of this guy who is more twisted and complicated and annoying at times.

I started my theater career by going to drama school in the UK, where the acting profession is very different from the US. You’re sort of treated like a plumber. It’s as if you’re just part of society – you’re unblocking emotional blocks. It doesn’t have the same charm, and it’s not about building characters or anything. You are a worker and each time you come across a different type of toilet clog, you have to apply different skills to that particular toilet. I took this metaphor a little too far. (laughs.)

When I first moved to the US, a lot of people asked me, “You Is it a comedy? Are you a dramatist?” My first two plays in the US were [] Look Back in Anger , a heavy drama, and Clybourne Park , a comedy. Everyone was like, “Well, we just don’t know what to think of you.” I remember being offended by the question. I’m an actor, so hopefully I’m a bit of both. If it’s serious, I’ll be serious, and if it’s funny, I hope I’m funny. My job is pronunciation.

We have incredible writers [who] write in such a detailed, rhythmic way. My job is to bring out the beat so the jokes are there. Bill said to us from the very beginning that you can’t do comedy, you can’t push comedy—you have to be straight to the point for the humor to come through. All of these characters, even when they’re doing absolutely ridiculous things, have absolute faith in the moment they make the best choice for their own survival. You have to keep working on every ridiculous thing they do. I also performed with some of the greatest comedians in America. I can’t fight the humor. For this character, I can only convey what I see moment by moment. There’s never pressure to be funny. I think if that’s the tone of the set, the whole thing might fall flat. We all got to play these eccentric, morally bankrupt people, and in it, these shone like glistening comic lines.

My favorite part of this season is Season 4, especially the scene with Sian Heder.

Sian Heder! She was a little nervous after not appearing in front of the camera for so long. But she succeeded.

She is nice and funny. We’ve seen Sally lead acting classes around, but she monologues on set and walks up to the actresses she’s coaching

In a very dark season where I didn’t get many jokes, this was one of those beautiful, unplanned moments for me. I couldn’t see Ellen Jameson’s Kristen behind me, or the mid-scene monitor. I half-step up to her and I can hear all this laughing into the monitor. I don’t know it’s funny. Then Bill had the brilliant idea to move on: “If you just step a little bit to the right, you’ll be right past her.” Ellen Jameson was about a foot taller than me, but the camera angle really worked. I just thought, “This is so Sally.” We need a little bit of our old girl Sal back. That’s an old fashioned sally.

I interviewed Bill before season 2 and he talked a lot about how the human condition makes everyone a monster in some way . This is especially true of Sally and Gene’s characters, whose weirdness is often where the humor is because it’s not calculated. Sally never tried to fuck anyone.

Yes, this is not intentional cruelty. Malice without plan. This is myopia. She just pushes things too far, wants too much, can’t absorb, can’t listen. That’s how it behaves. But in every moment, she thought she was doing the best thing. Even in Acting Girl, she thinks she’s helping this young actress she sees herself in, and she says, “I just happen to have tickets for you. I can help you.” It goes too far, and it ends up being Borderline abusive. But that’s the fun of Sally. Everything is too much.

Especially after the time jump, we see more of her monstrosity. In my opinion, she’s been pushed so far that she’s delving into a darkness that she knows Barry has always existed. Especially the bathroom scene where she almost sees how far she can go to her own monster.

I think you really have insight into how you watch the show because I think that’s it. She goes into that [moment] not necessarily knowing what she’s going to do. She is testing how far she can go. We are all porous beings, especially in the arts, and Sally is an impressionable one. She’s a mix of things, and that’s what makes her so much fun to play. But she absorbed some of Barry’s life rhythms and choices. She is in a new abusive relationship with him.This is A different kind of abuse, but it was a very abusive relationship and she was living the lie with him. Initially, she took this step out of self-preservation. She thought it was the only place she would be saved, and unfortunately, it was such a bad decision. And now that she’s living in this hellish environment, the only sliver of joy she has left is performing her career every single day.

There’s something beautiful about it though – she’s finally found the perfect role. But by the end of the episode, we see her finally realize what she’s good at: teaching and directing. There are too many showrunners who don’t realize this until late in their careers, and they, like Sally did for all four seasons, reject it because it’s just not them

want to do it.

If we go back to season 3, all her dreams come true in a flash. Now, none of this is going the way she expected. It came so fast that the rug was pulled pretty hard. We all know that’s what can happen in this industry. It happens to me. A show I was on was abruptly canceled after we had been preparing for a second season for over a year, and a month before filming, we were shut down. The heartbreak that comes with it, especially for her – she pours it all in, it’s so personal – I feel like something is broken inside of her. The animal unleashes in the second half of season three and has lived through all the pain of traumatic childhoods, abusive marriages, the lows of L.A., people who have been sexually harassed…she’s really been through it all. It started to escalate, the anger inside her — [it was] legitimate anger, but again, failed.

This is where she unleashes and burns every bridge with Natalie (D’Arcy Carden) and Lindsay (Jessy Hodges). By the end of season three — when she kills this guy, initially in self-defense, but ultimately, she’s gone too far — something is missing. She crossed the threshold, and there was no turning back. She’s the only character in the show that we see murder someone who isn’t part of the criminal cycle – well, except for Gene at the end, we can say that now. From the top of season four, she has a bit of a broken heart. I don’t think there is any hope. Even to her parents, for comfort…she couldn’t find it.

Then she went to Los Angeles. She couldn’t get her career back. She had a passion for [teaching] for a while, but it was bust. Then there was Sian Heder’s final humiliation on set, where she gave everything and was told, “You know, if we can put it on this face.” She hit rock bottom. Then she found rocks at the bottom of the rock. Barry became her only choice.

I read Sally’s ending and I thought, “Oh, so there are no fireworks.” It’s not like she kills or kills herself or crashes and kills her son, She was just making Our Town in high school and she was sort of fulfilled. It wasn’t until we shot it that I realized, “Oh, this is beautiful.” Finally, she got some calm. She’s the only one with a seemingly happy ending, or something close to it.

We met this wannabe star girl four seasons ago. This is what she wants. She would have wanted an Oscar and the other accolades that come with fame. Instead, she’s got a bunch of high schoolers applauding her and a bouquet of supermarket flowers, which, actually, is pretty fulfilling. enough.

I’ve always thought of Sally as having this duality: she’s actually an artist and does have something to say, but that narcissism and ruthless ambition is eclipsing Pale. They are at war with each other. We will not delete the old Sally. There’s still that beat when her son says “I love you.” She’s not saying “I love you too,” she’s looking for validation and wondering if the show is good. Old Sally is still there – she hasn’t fully evolved yet. But I just love the peace of that ending.

The finale is also the first time we see Sally mingling with the crime syndicate. Surprisingly, these worlds never crossed. Thrilled for the final scene with Anthony Carrigan as Noho Hank?

I’m so excited. We’ve become good friends over the years, but we’ve never worked together. I think there’s a scene in season 2 where Hank and Sally are supposed to go to the same pilates class and then they’re always talking or complaining about “ my Barry, “[don’t know] it’s the same Barry, but I think it ended up being a dead end. I’m happy to work with Anthony and frustrated when we don’t. So when I saw we had a scene together in the finale, I was thrilled. When we first shot, I looked Anthony in the eye. I was like, “Holy crap, I wish we had more of this.”

But that’s the beauty of the show: Because the storylines are so isolated, I can also be a fan. I can look at other storylines and say, “Oh my god, what are you guys filming?!” I hope it pleases the audience. This is for us. This is the moment when worlds collide. Just to be able to hang out in casting chairs and have tea and donuts together. This is such a lovely way to end. I wish we had more but it’s something.



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