SPOILER-ALERT ARTICLE AT VARIETY INTERVIEWS CINEMATOGRAPHER CARL HERSE
Today at Variety, an article by Selome Hailu carries the headline, "Barry Cinematographer Breaks Down References and Framing of Devastating Season 3 Finale." The article begins with a "SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven’t watched 'Starting Now,' the Season 3 finale of Barry." The article begins with cinematographer Carl Herse discussing the tone of the series, and the way he works with showrunner/star Bill Hader:
“One of our big references is the Coen brothers’ balance between tragedy and comedy and how they find that line, allowing something to be meaningful but also comical and absurd at the same time,” Herse says about working with Bill Hader, who co-created the show, stars in the title role and directs many episodes, most recently including Season 3 finale “Starting Now.”
“Bill is very specific as a director. A lot of times on TV shows, you have showrunners who have a writing background but are not necessarily as visual, episodic directors who are trying to get many coverage options for the showrunners to decide what direction they want to go with,” Herse adds. “On our show, ‘coverage’ is a dirty word. Bill is extremely intentional with the camera. A lot of times, the director and I will not want to move an actor if they want to stand or enter or exit a scene in a specific way. But because Bill is an actor, he can speak to the actors from their perspective, which allows us to design shots ahead of time.”
Moving through the season finale, Herse talks about how the point-of-view focus in the episode's final sequence was inspired by The Untouchables:
Herse explains the way the final sequence switches from third-person to first-person perspective as Barry lurks into Jim’s home, inspired by the scene in Brian De Palma’s 1987 film “The Untouchables” when Jim Malone (Sean Connery) is stalked in his own apartment. Barry silently observes and prepares to shoot Jim until he hears the word “Freeze!,” shocking him into stillness. Barry is depicted in a wide-eyed close up as disembodied voices yell at him to drop his gun. Like in the previous scenes with Hank and Cristobal, information rolls in at the same rate that Barry processes it. Jim turns around slowly and Barry realizes that Jim set him up. SWAT team members emerge from the darkness, revealing Cousineau standing behind them and Barry realizes that Cousineau was in on it.
Herse emphasizes that whereas a more conventional production would have shot Barry, Cousineau, Jim and the SWAT team from various angles to compile later on, “this is an example of a scene where there is no coverage in the way that people think of television coverage. Bill likes to shoot scenes in a way that can only really be edited in one way and he will only shoot a scene one shot at a time so that you won’t wear the actors out, so they only have to reach those heights a few times.”
Though Jim only appears in the last three episodes of the season, “Starting Now” ends with him. The final shot of Jim standing outside of his home and framed within his living room windows. The camera peers at him from inside as blue and red lights flash and sirens soften.