The secret to barry scene-stealer anthony carrigan’s success huey lewis and candy crush vanity fair

In the pilot episode of Barry, Bill Hader’s listless hit man goes to Los Angeles on a job for the Chechen mob. His contact is Noho Hank, a tattooed gangster played by Anthony Carrigan. When Barry arrives, Hank strides out of the house, an enforcer at his side and promptly offers Barry juice boxes, Hawaiian Punch, or a submarine sandwich to help him recover from his flight. In the episodes since, Hank’s wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing quirks have only multiplied. He’s displayed a fondness for iMessage effects, tracking packages, and Candy Crush, all while arranging torture sessions and intricate death threats that involve DHL tracking numbers.

In Carrigan’s hands, Hank, who could easily have been played straight, becomes a ball of energy, transforming the usual mobster-and-boss dynamic ( Glenn Fleshler plays the other half of the equation) into something closer to Punch and Judy.


Reviews, including Vanity Fair’s, agree that he’s a scene-stealer. Not bad for an actor who worried, not too long ago, that his career was over due to factors beyond his control.

“When I first got the breakdown of the character, I was like, ‘O.K., I have an idea of how everyone wants to play this,’ which is essentially as what everyone sees as a mobster,” Carrigan said in a recent phone interview. “I knew I didn’t want to do that. I knew I wanted to make him special.”

The experience has been a dream for Carrigan, who was once told he’d never act again as he struggled to cope with alopecia, an autoimmune condition that causes hair loss. “I started out as an actor with hair and eyebrows and eyelashes . . . I really tried to make it work by putting on hairpieces, and drawing on eyebrows, and all of this stuff. Hiding, essentially,” he said. Finally embracing his alopecia came hand-in-hand with envisioning his ideal project: Carrigan dreamed of being a series regular on a fresh show, specifically on HBO, playing a character that would be “an outlet for everything I had to offer,” as he recently wrote on Instagram.

Along came Barry—and its creators Bill Hader and Alec Berg (who also executive produces one of Carrigan’s other favorite shows, Silicon Valley). The key to Hank—and to Barry as a whole—lies in finding the perfect ratio of funny to fatal, as the worlds of professional killers and aspiring actors collide. One of the show’s most gruesome scenes thus far finds the unfortunate Fuches ( Stephen Root) having his teeth filed away—as Hank calmly explains Candy Crush to his boss. Fittingly, Carrigan’s description of his character seesaws back and forth between these two extremes: “I would describe Hank as a very polite, very upbeat, very optimistic, and thoughtful mobster. He’s going to do his best to fulfill his life of organized crime while also making friends, and maybe [doing] some people-pleasing along the way.” Even prepping for the role was a bit of a balancing act; according to Carrigan, Huey Lewis and the News and 80s action movies were just as vital to bringing Hank to life as the dark past suggested by the character’s prison tattoos.

Thanks to a recurring role as serial killer Victor Zsasz on Fox’s young-Batman drama Gotham, Carrigan has had a few years of recent experience tapping into his dark side. Finding his inner Huey Lewis was uncharted territory. “When I got the job, I was like, ‘Oh! Yeah, no big deal, just have to go act with Bill Hader and Stephen Root and Henry Winkler,’” Carrigan said, in typically self-effacing manner. “That’ll be fine. I’m funny, right? Oh, God.”

He needn’t have worried. Whether squatting outrageously to get the perfect selfie or working himself into fanboy hysterics over meeting a legendary assassin, Hank is a slightly sociopathic hoot. “Every day I was on set was honestly so much fun,” Carrigan said. “I just wanted to be doing more of it, to be honest. They would say, ‘O.K., cool, Anthony, you’re done for the day.’ And I would just be like, ‘That’s cool! Um, can I get in on that scene tomorrow?’”

Lest that sense of fun tempt viewers not to take Hank too seriously, Carrigan did warn that the rest of the season has a few curveballs in store. “All of the characters are much more pressurized as the series progresses,” he said, noting that, though Hank may be an upbeat kind of guy, he still has a job to do.

Assuming that Hank doesn’t end up on the wrong side of Barry’s gun before this season’s over, viewers haven’t seen the last of him; the show has already been renewed for a second season. Besides that, Carrigan is keeping an open mind. “I have certain ideas, for sure,” he said, when asked what he’d like to do next. “Maybe surprising people by playing the romantic lead, or playing a character that’s very unexpected.”