Henry Winkler on Gene’s One-Man Show – The Hollywood Reporter

[This story contains spoilers for the first two episodes of Barry season four.]

Justice just wasn’t enough for Gene Cousineau. 

In the season three finale of Barry, Henry Winkler’s character and Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom) had Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) dead to rights for the attempted murder of Moss, as well as his previous murder of Moss’ daughter and Gene’s girlfriend, Janice (Paula Newsome). However, in the two-episode premiere of Barry’s fourth and final season, Gene has potentially put the case in jeopardy by delivering a one-man show to Vanity Fair journalist Lon Oneil (Patrick Fischler) about his entire history with his murderous acting student, something he and Moss explicitly agreed not to do. 

Prior to his one-man show, Gene had already made the news for his brave efforts that helped catch Barry, and he went on to receive a hero’s welcome from the live-studio audience during a taping of his show, MasterClass. He even got to gloat during a collect call from an incarcerated Barry. So, why wasn’t that amount of personal satisfaction and limelight enough for Gene Cousineau to keep his mouth shut? Well, for Winkler, his behavior is rather easy to explain.

“Because Gene is an asshole. Gene can’t help himself. As much as Gene wants to be a big person, [attention] is like crack for him. He needs that spotlight like some other people need heroin,” Winkler tells The Hollywood Reporter.

With great fondness, Winkler is also looking back on his final day of shooting Barry.

“I had the honor — and I considered it to be an honor — to be the last shot of the last moment of Barry,” Winkler recalls. “I was in a room by myself, Bill called wrap and I walked out to see the crew. Bill then gave me a hug and he whispered in my ear, ‘Thank you for being such a great collaborator.’ And my heart jumped out of my body.”

Below, during a recent spoiler conversation with THR, Winkler also offers a metaphorical tease of what’s to come for Gene Cousineau.

Well, Gene wants justice for Janice (Paula Newsome), first and foremost, but does his desire to put Barry away also relate to his own past misbehavior? Is he still trying to make amends like he attempted to do with Laura San Giacomo’s character? 

No, that was a completely different kettle of fish. He felt as bad as he possibly could, which was not all the way into bad. With Barry, the man killed the woman he loved. After that, all bets are off. 

So, it’s purely out of love and not his past reputation.

He tries as hard as he can, but what I’ve figured out from [season one] until the end of the show is that Gene walks out the door he came in. He tried, but he’s still [Gene]. 

Barry calls him collect from prison, and Gene spikes the football, saying, “Hey Barry, I gotcha.” So, why wasn’t that moment enough? Why did he need to run to the press?

Because Gene is an asshole. Gene can’t help himself. As much as Gene wants to be a big person, [attention] is like crack for him. He needs that spotlight like some other people need heroin.

For the one-man show that he performs for the Vanity Fair journalist (Patrick Fischler), did you shoot a longer version, or was it always just the bookends that we saw?  

There’s a much longer version, but I totally understand. Of course, what I want is the show to be Barry and Gene, but it isn’t. And there are other characters’ stories that they have to service, so I got cut. 

Did Bill Hader get a kick out of your Barry impression during Gene’s one-man show? 

I think he did. I made him laugh. I also made the post-production men laugh. When I went in to do some ADR to fix the sound of my voice in one scene, they told me that they thought it was hysterical. 

Henry Winkler performing Gene’s one-man show.

Merrick Morton/HBO

“When the world is against you, your back is against the wall, there’s only thing you can do … teach.”

And take care of Gene! 

Yes, and take care of Gene. First of all, I have to commend you for that line reading, but what did you make of Gene’s advice to Sally (Sarah Goldberg)? 

Well, there’s an old expression: “When you can’t do, teach.” But that probably is not completely true. I had some teachers that could do both. Bobby Lewis at Yale was a member of the Group Theatre, and he was just a magnificent human being. But for Sally, she became a really good actress. So there’s a sense of humor to the line, but Gene was also telling her that she would be good at teaching. And when I saw [her teaching scene], I loved that she mimicked Gene. 

So, was the day you wrapped the series as emotional as you were expecting it to be?

I had the honor — and I considered it to be an honor — to be the last shot of the last moment of Barry. I was in a room by myself, Bill called wrap and I walked out to see the crew. Bill then gave me a hug and he whispered in my ear, “Thank you for being such a great collaborator.” And my heart jumped out of my body. 

That’s beautiful. What has this role meant to you in the grand scheme of things?

My idols are Jack Nicholson and Anthony Hopkins. There is never a false beat. Earlier in my career, there were many false beats. When those two guys got a role, you could not slip a piece of paper between their soul and the role. So my dream, since the Fonz, has been to get to that place, and I’m closer because of Gene. I’m not there, but I’m closer.

I’ve noticed for years that Gene pronounces his last name Cousi-NOW, while the other characters say Cousi-NO. Was this by design? 

I have no idea. I’m so dyslexic. I’m lucky I even got his name out, so I don’t know. I know that Cousineau is the name of Bill’s obstetrician, the one who delivered his daughters. I think she’s a woman, Dr. Cousineau. But I think it’s Cousi-NOW, and those other people are wrong. 

When you walked off the set of the season three finale, did you know then that season four would be the last hurrah?

No, we were contracted for 12 episodes a year, but we would only do eight because [co-creator] Alec [Berg] and Bill did not want to extenuate any story beyond its elasticity. They didn’t want to stretch it and make stuff up just to add time. We were also contracted for five years, so I was thinking five. And then HBO announced that season four was gonna be the last year. So the adult in me, the producer in me, understood. “The studio wants four, so where the hell is Barry gonna go now? Something’s gotta happen.” But the actor-child person in me is very sad that I won’t be on that soundstage again with that crew, meaning all of them. We really get along. In a few weeks, I’m gonna see D’Arcy Carden on Broadway, and I can’t wait. She sent me a little video yesterday, and I keep asking her how it’s going.

Did you block-shoot all of season four to accommodate Bill directing every episode?

Tell me what that means.

It’s basically when you shoot more than one episode at a time for the sake of locations or actors.

I don’t think we did that at all. I think they shot them in a way that they could plan it out. But Bill directed all eight episodes. He’s co-creator, co-writer, director and actor. He was anxious. He was filled with anxiety, I’m sure, over all these jobs, but never once did you see a ripple in the water. Never once did he voice any of that onto the actors or the crew.

You didn’t have to give him any pep talks? 

No, I would just tell him that I love him.

Henry Winkler and Robert Wisdom in Barry

Henry Winkler and Robert Wisdom in Barry.

Merrick Morton/HBO

Have you ever had a scene quite like the one in the season three finale where Robert Wisdom was that up close and personal?

A few years ago, I don’t know if I could have done that scene without Robert Wisdom.

How come? 

First of all, he takes you to another place. That power that you feel is no joke. It was completely present in the moment, to the point where I felt my chair moving back by itself because of what was coming off him. We rehearsed it, and I swear to you, I thought it was a completely filled garage [at the time]. So we went to get our hair and makeup done and get into our wardrobe, and when we came back, the garage was empty, except for those two chairs. There was a machine and not a crew member [in sight]. They were all outside on the other side of the wall. We were alone. And I’m telling you, as [Robert] kept moving his chair closer and closer to me and he finally yelled at me, nose to nose, wowie. We did it five times.

Have you known any Gene Cousineau types over the years?

Many. [Gene] is based on the 14 teachers I had, and my imagination. There was a very famous teacher here in Hollywood, and Alec’s [Berg] wife took classes from him and kept notes. And those notes were the beginnings of their writings for Cousineau. So he’s a blend of several different people. And my imagination, of course.

What can you obliquely tease about the road ahead for Gene? 

Here’s my metaphor: Gene is like that beetle that skirts the surface of a pond and never gets wet. He’s in a well, he gets a wing, he flies up to the top and he lands on the rock of the well. He’s now basking in the sun, but his wing breaks and he falls back into the well. And I don’t know whether he’s drowned or not.


Interview edited for length and clarity.

The final season of Barry now releases weekly on HBO, Sundays at 10 p.m.

!function(f, b, e, v, n, t, s) {
if (f.fbq) return;
n = f.fbq = function() {n.callMethod ? n.callMethod.apply(n, arguments) : n.queue.push(arguments);};
if (!f._fbq) f._fbq = n;
n.push = n;
n.loaded = !0;
n.version = ‘2.0’;
n.queue = [];
t = b.createElement(e);
t.async = !0;
t.src = v;
s = b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];
s.parentNode.insertBefore(t, s);
}(window, document, ‘script’, ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js’);
fbq(‘init’, ‘352999048212581’);
fbq(‘track’, ‘PageView’);

Source link

Source: News

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *