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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 15th June 2018 > Killer Instincts

Killer Instincts

Bill Hader delivered the most revelatory TV performance of the year, playing a hit man in HBO’s Barry. Now he’s ready to be terrorized by a clown

MY 84-YEAR-OLD MOTHER HAS A crush on Bill Hader. This is surprising; she’s more of a Tom Hardy girl. But when she watched HBO’s Barry, the half-hour show Hader co-created with Alec Berg, she became a little obsessed. She hadn’t watched the comedian during his eight seasons on Saturday Night Live or seen the films Trainwreck or Superbad. She did not, in other words, decide to watch Barry because of Hader; she watched because it was about a contract killer. (She’s also a crime and murder girl.)

At the end of the pilot, as Hader and Berg broke down the episode for viewers, my mother finally heard the high-pitched voice and giggle familiar to his fans. She burst into laughter, delighted by the disparity between the buff (for Hader), deepvoiced former Marine he plays and the outright nerd he is in real life. “How does he do that?” she asked. “You mean sound like Kermit the frog?” asks Hader when I bring up her response. “I’m attractive to people of that age,” he adds. “Tell your mother I’m single again.”

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WILL RUSSIA'S WORLD CUP GAMBIT PAY OFF? Vladimir Putin kept a watchful eye on a black-and-white soccer ball as it soared toward him through a spacious Kremlin office, before he deftly bumped it back with his head. On the other side of the room, Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, waited for the return pass. When it came, he flicked the ball up, juggling it from foot to foot before kicking it back to the Russian president. The two men, both dressed in suits and ties, were taking part in a promotional video for this summer’s World Cup, which Russia will host for the first time. Russia hopes the World Cup will help improve its international image. The Kremlin’s enemies may have other plans.