Anthony Carrigan has unequivocally become the breakout star of HBO’s hitman acting comedy Barry as Chechen mobster NoHo Hank. And that is no small feat considering that he stars alongside the likes of comic geniuses Bill Hader, Stephen Root, and Henry Winkler.
But at one point, Carrigan, who was diagnosed with alopecia at age three (the same hair loss disease that affects Jada Pinkett Smith), thought his career might not survive when he began to lose his hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes in his early twenties. In a new interview with People, Carrigan recalled facing “the most terrifying outcome” of being rejected by casting directors.
“There was a moment where my alopecia had progressed so much so that I had lost pretty much half [of] my scalp, both my eyebrows [and] all my eyelashes. It really threw everyone that I was working with, and no one knew what to do with me.”
“I was told by a number of people, you’re not going to be able to do this. You’re not attractive anymore,” he continued. “You will fail if you try to do this. And I’m one of those people that if you told me that I can’t do something, I will. Period.”
After he finally gave up hiding under wigs and makeup, Carrigan eventually let himself go bald and beautiful, and his agent began finding him work playing the role of villains — which led to Barry.
His character was initially supposed to get killed off in the very first episode, but as Hader told the Washington Post last month ahead of the season three premiere, they quickly realized that would be a mistake.
Even before cameras rolled, Carrigan had “everyone on set laughing,” says executive producer and star Bill Hader, who was also directing his second scene ever. The crew was parroting NoHo Hank’s lines. Hader recalls saying to his co-creator, Alec Berg, “We’d be nuts to kill this guy off. He’s just too funny. Why would we get rid of him?”
Instead, NoHo Hank took a bullet in the arm. “We let him live,” Hader says by phone. “Now, he’s a huge part of the show.”
Indeed he is. In fact, his character has become so popular that Jimmy Kimmel asked Carrigan recently if there was a chance of a NoHo Hank spinoff, a la Better Call Saul. Based on his response, we probably shouldn’t hold our collective breaths. But anything is possible!