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Robert Wisdom Talks About Making Henry Winkler Cry in ‘Barry’

Jim Moss smiles while talking on the phone in 'Barry.'

Jim Moss (Robert Wisdom), Detective Janice Moss’s grieving father, may not have as much screen time in HBO Max’s Barry as other characters—but when he shows up, things get real.

Take, for instance, the incredible interrogation scene in season 3. Jim calls Gene (Henry Winkler) to his house to talk, knowing that Gene has information about Janice’s murder. Jim sits Gene down in his garage, and proceeds to unravel him by asking a series of psychological probing questions. Finally, Gene breaks down in tears, and Jim recruits him to catch Barry in a sting operation.

Now, season 4 of Barry, premiering on Sunday, April 16, will show us what happens next.

I recently spoke with Wisdom about Jim’s character, and the work that went into the interrogation scene.

“The scene was actually what I did for the audition,” Wisdom says. “It was written slightly differently, but the minute I read it, I felt it. I knew who this guy was. The spareness, the repetitiveness, all of that told me a lot about his skillset and what he did. He was a high intelligence agent with very sophisticated talents and developed skills, so I did some surfing around and learned how those guys operate.”

Wisdom says that director and star Bill Hader was very supportive during the audition. “In the middle of the audition, he just kind of freaked out and said, ‘this is it, this is it,’ you know? Amazing. And then Henry and I met and we did it a number of times over, and we knew that this was going be the pivotal scene for us.”

After that early connection, Wisdom and Winkler continued to refine the scene with the help of the show’s crew. “We did several rehearsals, and on [the day of filming] it was just real actor magic. The set designers were fantastic. Jim had this garage that he emptied and turned into this real spartan chamber where he did his big deep cover work, and Henry and I were just in there like two heavyweight boxers in the ring. There was very little talking in between. We knew where we had to be. And I went forward from my side, Henry went forward from his side. And when I saw the tear come out of his eye, I knew that both of us knew we got it. And then we just walked away and then watched it on TV.”

Check out the full interview, including Wisdom’s favorite thing about Jim and what we can expect in Barry season 4, below!

(featured image: HBO Max)

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Julia Glassman (she/they) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at