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Why Barry's Pilot Episode Had To Be Dramatically Redone

There aren't many shows on TV right now quite as acclaimed or revered as "Barry." The HBO crime comedy series follows a midwestern hitman who moves to Los Angeles and starts trying to put his criminal life behind him in order to make it as an actor. Co-created by Alec Berg and series star Bill Hader, the show has won 6 Primetime Emmy Awards across just its first two seasons (via IMDb), and has received praise for its unique writing, directing, and well-drawn characters.

Taking all that into account, it'd be easy to assume that "Barry" sprung from Berg and Hader's minds fully formed, and that very little changed between the project's writing and shooting stages. However, that's not actually the case. In fact, fans of "Barry" may be surprised to learn that a large portion of the series' pilot episode had to be reshot before it was ready to air on HBO.

The reshoot process even, notably, resulted in one of the show's biggest characters undergoing an important makeover.

Stephen Root's Fuches was originally very different

In a 2018 interview with Collider, Bill Hader opened up about how drastically the pilot of "Barry" changed when it was reshot. In specific, the show's star and co-creator revealed that the original version of Stephen Root's Fuches was completely different from the one "Barry" viewers have come to know over the years. "All the scenes with Fuches in the pilot were reshot," Hader said. "The character initially was all dressed in black and his hair was slicked back and he was kind of this enforcer guy, and he was super mad and just screaming at me. He kind of came from a genre."

Hader revealed that it was ultimately HBO that suggested the character be reworked. "HBO rightfully went, 'Shouldn't those guys be friends?' So it's more about a friendship that's souring, and we went, 'Yeah you're totally right,'" Hader recalled. The actor added that, in response to HBO's notes, he and Berg reimagined Fuches as a "Monday Morning Quarterback-type guy but about the military."

Those changes led to Fuches becoming the slimier, sneakier handler that exists in the series now. However, the pilot episode's reshoots weren't just dedicated to reworking Root's scene-stealing character. As a matter of fact, Hader said that his character's monologue near the end of the "Barry" pilot, which is what convinces Henry Winkler's Gene to take him on as a student in the show, was also totally "reworded and reshot."

"When it cuts to Henry that's 2016 and when it cuts to me it's 2017 like exactly a year later," the "Barry" star revealed.