Bill Hader stars in It: Chapter 2. He talks to Michele Manelis about scary movies and real life.
I'm guessing you're a fan of scary movies?
Yeah, I like monster movies and I'm a big fan of things that have a supernatural element to them. I like slasher films, with the exception of Halloween or Psycho. I don't like those because I'm not a fan of people getting hacked to bits, because that happens in real life.
I'm pretty sure It couldn't happen in real life?
True. There's a fantastical element which I really like that's fun. How I got into this was because I'm playing an older version of Richie that Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) played in the first movie. He said in an interview that he'd like me to play the older version of him in the sequel. Then my agent called me and said, "The film-makers want you as Richie." So, I guess they really don't want to upset Finn.
So, no audition. How great is it to be Bill Hader right now?
It's fun. I'm finding that for the first time I can take a breath. It's just been pretty consistent work for the last three years, so it's nice now that I can have a plan to take a nap.
What kinds of things scared you as a child?
Remember when that little girl fell down a well in the 80s? It was a news story (in 1987 in Texas) and that scared the s*** out of me when I was a kid, just the idea that you could fall down a well. I don't know why but I just remember getting very freaked out about that.
What scene in a film comes to mind that really affected you?
I think the scene in Bridesmaids in the bathroom, because you relate to the characters when they all get food poisoning. I remember being in the theatre and people were losing their minds during that scene because they went, "Oh my God! How awful would that be?" There's some element of audience relatability about that kind of thing where you go, "Thank God I didn't have to have that actually happen to me."
Now that Barry is a bona fide success and you're in season three, do you remember how you felt when it first aired? It's essentially your baby as the star, director and writer?
Oh yeah. The thing with Barry, when it first aired it was more about fear of embarrassment, and less about fear itself. It's less, "I'm going to be murdered" and more, "I'm going to be really embarrassed if this thing doesn't work."
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Sounds like a lot of pressure.
Yeah, but if you're worried about what the internet thinks or what critics think - or your colleagues or your friends, it doesn't work. I remember when the Game of Thrones guys wrote a super-nice email about Barry, saying, 'We love the season.' That was so great. But then five minutes later, you go, "Oh, no! I hope they like the next season."
Do you read reviews?
I learned a lot about that from my days on Saturday Night Live. We'd finish an episode and then immediately everybody would be on their phones, or they would run home or go online and see what people thought of the show. I don't want to do that.
Has an actor given you any advice about coping with bad reviews?
Well, Jeff Bridges has a great analogy, where he described being an actor as being like a snake. A snake sheds its skin and the skin is the movie. You can make it whatever you want, you can make it a hatband or you can make it a belt, put it up as a trophy and go, "Wow, look at that!" But the important thing is that the snake keeps moving and goes on to other things. So that I took to heart, as well as my experience on SNL and realising that the important thing is to just have fun and don't take it that seriously.
How did you get your gig on Saturday Night Live?
I got very lucky. I was performing at Second City, Los Angeles and it was my class show, just for parents and family. And a guy named Matt Offerman was in my group. His brother is Nick Offerman and so Megan Mullally [his wife] was in the audience. By that point I was working as an assistant chef on Iron Chef America and I had a boss who was yelling at me because I messed up something, and I wasn't feeling great about it. And then my phone rang and it was Megan Mullally. And she goes, "Hi, I am Megan and we met the other night at the show. I just want you to know that I had dinner with Lorne Michaels [SNL producer] and I told him about you and he wants to meet you." It totally changed my whole life. I wouldn't be here if she hadn't come to that show.
What do you have coming up?
And I am at the stage now where I might start writing something new. So I am just flirting with getting in a pool, just kind of dipping my toe in it and looking at it and going, "Maybe I'll swim today - or maybe not."
It: Chapter 2 is in cinemas from September 5.