Sarah Goldberg, breakout star of HBO’s Barry, on her character Sally Reed

Bill Hader, Sarah Goldberg
Barry really likes Sally, but she’s happy to be adored as she goes about her business

In HBO’s Barry, a wildcard has been thrown into the testosterone mix. All the bad guys cannot hold a candle to the self-absorbed and slightly delusional aspiring actor Sally Reed, played by Sarah Goldberg.

Her wide-eyed enthusiasm for acting has snagged the interest of the titular Barry (Bill Hader) as he falls hard for her, except his awkward Mid-Western face value approach has this LA woman less than smitten.

Plus, Barry’s been put on a Chechen mob hit schedule and has a manipulative handler who keeps finding ways to keep his head out of the acting class game, especially with a fellow acting student murder being investigated.

Canadian actor Sarah Goldberg is delightful as Sally and is the true breakout star of HBO‘s Barry in a cast full of amazing performances and characters.

Sarah comes from an extensive theater background and was schooled and trained in London, living there for nearly ten years. She made her Broadway debut in 2012 in the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning Clybourne Park.

In London, she earned an Olivier Award nomination for playing the roles of Besty and Lindsey in the Royal Court production of the Bruce Norris play.

Her other London stage credits include Six Degrees of Separation, Member of the Wedding, and Apologia. In New York, she played Alison Porter in The Roundabout’s revival of Look Back In Anger.

On TV, she starred in VH1’s television series Hindsight. Other films and TV credits include Elementary, The Dark Knight Rises, Drifters, Crown Heights and Lucia: Before and After, which won the jury prize for US fiction shorts at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. In 2018, Sarah is slated to be working on the thriller movie The Hummingbird project with Salma Hayek.

We spoke to her briefly about her plum role as Sally Reed, which she sparkles in:

Monsters and Critics: Have you had any similar acting and rehearsal experiences like those your character Sally has had to endure?

Sarah Goldberg: No, no…I truly had such a different trajectory coming up, I went to theater school in London and I was so fortunate because all my experiences really were positive, completely unlike what Sally is dealing with.

She’s just driven and ruthless, but I get why she is acting the way she does, she truly believes she is the best actor in the room and just gets frustrated that people are not seeing this.

I have a lot of empathy for her. But Sally truly is a bit delusional, and a fully narcissistic, self-absorbed person who doesn’t understand that the things she says hurt people around her, she’s just convinced she’s right about everything. But she is a very talented actor and very vulnerable too.

This is a tough life she has chosen, it’s not easy to do the number of auditions in a day so many actors have to do, but Sally’s competitive and she goes back and forth between confidence and complete and utter insecurity about her work.

Sarah Goldberg
Sally really wants to play Lady Macbeth, and can’t believe she doesn’t get it

M&C: Who is Sally Reed and how does she continue with Barry in a relationship?

Sarah: We’ll have to see about the relationship with Barry, she really just doesn’t understand him and his character’s PTSD and his unusual life and tone-deaf approach to her needs, and the two of them are really both delusional in many ways.

Sally is a small-town girl, she is vulnerable yet very narcissistic and self-serving. He thinks he can act.

Her blinders keep her from seeing how her words and actions affect everyone in acting class and Barry as well. She doesn’t mean to hurt people, like this Lady Macbeth situation, she cannot believe she didn’t get that role!

She really cannot understand why other people don’t see her talent the way she does. She knows and thinks she’s clearly the best in the room. But, hopefully, we’ll see her evolve a bit as time goes on.

You know, she needs to learn that acting takes a village and she needs the other actors in the class to become a better actor and learn. As for Barry, he’s the fresh meat in her class. She is happy to be adored by him and his guileless ways are appealing to her for now — but we’ll see…

Barry airs Sundays at 10:30 PM on HBO

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