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Stephen Root On His 'Very Strange' Time Filming Barry Season 3 - Exclusive Interview

Whether you know him from Coen brothers movies, prestige TV dramas, or cartoon voice acting, you're probably familiar with at least one of Stephen Root's over 200 acting credits. The performance that's earned him the most praise, recognition, and his first ever Emmy nomination, however, is that of Monroe Fuches in "Barry." Fuches is the boss and twisted mentor figure of Bill Hader's titular hitman. In a series driven my ambiguous questions of morality, Root has given a compelling performance as the most truly evil character in the show.

After lengthy delays, the third season of "Barry" is finally premiering on April 24 (a fourth season has already been written). Based on the first four episodes provided via screeners, Fuches' role in the series has changed in significant ways — though the character himself is the one least capable of personal change. Root spoke exclusively to Looper about how these delays have resulted in the show that's stronger than ever, how he connects to such a twisted character, and how accurately new season's satire reflects the life of an actor.

Pandemic delays only made "Barry" better

It's been a long wait to finally see "Barry" Season 3, almost three years. I know that you started doing table reads for the first few episodes before the pandemic began, but then didn't get to shoot the episodes until a year and a half later. In what way ways did plans for the season change in that time?

We saw the first, maybe, three scripts of Season 3 before the pandemic hit and they changed a lot, because Bill [Hader] and Alec [Berg] had a lot of time to write during COVID. They changed a lot of what they were going to do. They had more time to think of a better storyline, which they did this season. They also had time to write some of Season 4. I think we're in a very good place, in terms of that, in terms of writing.

Fuches is sympathetic, but not redeemable

Saying exactly where Fuches is this season is a spoiler, but I can say that he's increasingly distant from Barry and the other characters this year. What was filming your scenes this year like?

Very strange, because you are on a show with these people that you've worked with for two years and then you get to the next season and you don't work with any of them. You're working with completely different actors. Even though that was strange, because the writing is so good, it was easy to step into the same type of character, it was not hard at all. Especially, with Bill and Alec directing, I was at least seeing them all the time.

That leads into my next question: What things do you do to step into this character? He's one of the darkest characters in this already dark show, but there does seem to be, especially this year, some longing for connection in his own way.

He does. He's very jealous of the father-son relationship that Barry has with Cousineau, and he wants it to be like that with him and Barry again, but that's not going to happen. First of all, Barry is getting more and more down the PTSD line. He is imagining things in his head, he's going down a rabbit hole. There's no way that they can go back to what they had, but his jealousy, a lot of it stems from being jealous of being replaced as a father figure by Cousineau.

One of the big questions in "Barry" is can people change their nature? Fuches falls on the extreme end of believing they can't. Where do your own personal beliefs fall on this subject?

I think, definitely, Fuches can't. As Stephen Root, I think everybody deserves a second chance, but not necessarily a third. You can change with knowledge and the more knowledge you have, the easier it will be to change.

Wacky interviews and Spider-Man casting ideas

There's one very funny scene in Season 3, Episode 3 making fun of the questions that actors get during media interviews like, well, this one. What's the silliest question you've ever had to answer at a PR junket?

"What would your character's theme song be?" was probably the funniest one.

How did you answer that?

I think I answered the Ohio State football song.

How many times have people asked you who should be the next Spider-Man like the actors in the show get asked?

Oh, all the time. I always say Timothée Chalamet, because that's the only person I can think of off the top of my head.

Do you know how Anthony Carrigan answers that question?

How did he say it?

Steven Root.

God bless Anthony. He's the best.

"Barry" Season 3 premieres on HBO at 10 p.m. ET/PT on April 24.