Henry Winkler Interview: ‘Barry’
“You know what? It would be thrilling,” admits Henry Winkler in our exclusive interview about what it would mean to finally win his first Primetime Emmy. The 72-year-old is nominated as Best Comedy Supporting Actor for HBO’s “Barry” in the stand-out role of Gene Cousineau, an acting coach to a hit man (Bill Hader) who desires to be a thespian. Winkler is now a six-time Emmy nominee after previously being recognized for “Happy Days” (1976-78), “Who Are the DeBolts?” (1979) and “The Practice” (2000), so might this finally be his year? “I’m old enough to know you win [or] you don’t win. My life is blessed.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
Winkler tells us the fun story of how he reacted when his PR rep first called and told him about his Emmy nomination. “She was screaming in L.A. My wife and I were screaming in Wisconsin. And then we went and had chicken wings.” He smiles, “It was a great moment. Personally, I’ve had a dream since I was seven and the voters said, ‘We completely embrace your dream.’ So that’s pretty great right off of the bat.”
As for Hader being nominated for producing, writing, directing and starring in “Barry,” Winkler reveals about his showrunner, “You know, you think of him as Stefan on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ [But] now he has shown the world this enormous depth.” Winkler adds, “There is no drama on the set except for the drama that is written in the script. That is the truth.” “Barry” received 13 Emmy nominations this year, far exceeding expectations.
Emmy-nominated performers have to choose one episode to submit to judges as an example of their best work, and Winkler decided on the fourth episode, titled “Chapter Four: Commit … to YOU.” What is it about this segment that he likes so much? “There is that wonderful scene with Paula Newsome,” he says, referring to her detective character that Gene has a crush on. “You don’t get a nomination, or you don’t get an award, on your own. I had amazing acting partners to get me this far. Paula and I did a scene that people like very much in the restaurant.”
Since “Barry” is a show about a hit man, does Winkler worry whether his character will be killed off anytime soon? Winkler confesses that he recently asked Hader, “In Season 2, do I last all eight episodes?” And Hader responded back, “You cry a lot.” In addition to winning acting and producing prizes from the Golden Globes (“Happy Days”) and the Daytime Emmys (“CBS Schoolbreak Special” and “Clifford’s Puppy Days”), Winkler is also an accomplished author of children’s books.