Barry is one of those shows that constantly defies expectations and changes up the tropes of what we've seen in half-hour shows. As the executive producer, creator, writer, director and star of Barry, Bill Hader has a lot to say about those genre-defying decisions. This season, we've found the character of Barry approaching his grimmest situations yet, dealing with past murders, a revenge squad, and his obvious anger issues.
That all culminated in a fantastic finale, but an episode before that, we got my favorite moment of the season—the motorcycle chase, during which Barry drives a motorcycle across the Los Angeles freeway to a car dealership where it all goes sideways again.
Check out this video on how they filmed the epic chase and let's talk after.
Barry's epic TV set-piece
What I loved about this video was how in the original episode script, the slugline and description for this scene was, “Barry gets chased, ends up at Sharon’s house.” After reading that, the episode's director, AD, stunt team, locations people, and everyone else had to sit down and figure out how to execute it.
Hader said, "What was interesting to me was not making it an action sequence, but making it feel a little bit removed. I find merging onto freeways to be terrifying. And so I said, ‘I just want the feeling of merging under a freeway in that you’re on a motorcycle that’s weak and falling apart, and all these cars are rushing past you.'"
First, they had to secure locations all over Los Angeles. As you can imagine, getting freeways was not easy, but they worked with the transit authority to find stretches of road and times they could do it. They ended up using the stretch of the 710 where it meets the 10 as well as the 710 where it meets the 210 (for my LA traffic nerds).
Once they had the stretches of road, it was time to solidify the shooting of it.
How did they pull it off?
To get those shots they used cameras with 27mm lenses mounted on the bikes. They then had one bike chasing and one bike leading. They tried to do as many stunts practically as they could. Hader never got on a bike, and a stuntman in a helmet played him the whole time. They used a bag of beignets to signify who Barry was during this exchange.
For the final location at the dealership, they knew they wanted to shoot it in a oner backlit by the sun at magic hour. In order to get a place to shoot it, they also knew they would need huge, open windows. So they again scouted, finding a closed down car dealership that fit their needs perfectly.
Then there just had to be some tweaks in the script, as the character of Barry takes off on these motorcycles. They knew at the end of the epic chase they wanted to make an average person the hero who ends it. In Hader's mind, Barry is just one story happening in Los Angeles. So he wanted to make sure the other people living in LA, the ones we don't see in the show, get their moment in the sun.
I think this is an effective and interesting way to incorporate the world into an already amazing chase sequence.
Let me know what you think in the comments.