We Don’t Need a Real Panther!
A PSA for future Barry crew members: If Bill Hader tells you that he doesn’t need a real panther, then he doesn’t need a real panther.
In season three’s penultimate episode, “Candy Asses,” NoHo Hank (Anthony Carrigan) heads to Bolivia in hopes of finding his beloved Cristobal (Michael Irby), only to be captured by Cristobal’s queenpin wife, Elena (Krizia Bajos). To Hank’s surprise, his men Akhmal (Troy Caylak) and Yandar (Nick Gracer) have also been taken and are locked in the room next to him. In “Starting Now,” a defeated Hank is handcuffed to a radiator when he hears Akhmal and Yandar’s escape attempt end with a panther gruesomely—and loudly—tearing them apart. We never see the panther, Akhmal, or Yandar, but we know it couldn’t have been pretty based on the vomit that seeps underneath the door.
“For the special effects first pass of it, they had a giant bucket, and the amount of vomit that came out from under the door, it looked like five guys had exploded on the other side of it—it was so much,” Hader recalls. “We were like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, it needs to be a 100th of that. It’s one guy puking.’”
Maybe they should have had a meeting about the vomit, but it sounds like Hader probably would have thrown up at the thought of another meeting. “I remember the amount of meetings about the walls,” he says, seemingly exhausted even by just the memory. “The annoying logistical things, like, ‘Okay, so the first wall is this, and then the second wall you got to bring in is a breakaway, and that pattern has to be super specific of the panther breaking away, and then the third wall is a wall that you can shoot up.’ And you had to have multiples of all those walls. It became where I just was like, I can’t talk about these walls anymore!”
Possibly lost in translation due to the time spent on the walls was that the panther on the other side of the wall from Hank would never be visible. “I don’t think anybody in production believed that you wouldn’t see a panther,” Hader shares. “So they brought out a guy with a panther, like a stuffed panther. I was just like, ‘We’re never going to see the panther!’” And that meant that Carrigan—an Emmy nominee for consecutive seasons—was left to his imagination when going through the extreme range of emotions that overcame Hank.