TV

Brian Tyree Henry Says ‘Atlanta’ Series Finale ‘Was Exactly How It Needed to Be’ (Exclusive)

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After four seasons of captivating and unexpected storytelling, Atlanta ended its celebrated run on FX with a much talked-about series finale in November. While the last episode ended with Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) questioning his reality and audiences left wondering if it all was, in fact, just a dream, Brian Tyree Henry told ET it was “a really good conclusion” despite the “mixed” response. 

“I think, you know, the conclusion was exactly how it needed to be,” the actor told ET’s Rachel Smith while attending the 32nd Annual Gotham Awards, where he was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Performance for his role in the Apple TV+ film Causeway

In the finale, which could have easily been a regular midseason episode, Darius went on an unexpected journey, with him even rescuing his friends – Earn (Donald Glover), Al (Henry) and Van (Zazie Beetz) – from a precarious situation at a local sushi restaurant. The episode then ends with all four of them back at home watching Judge Judy while Darius ponders whether everything that transpired happened in real life or just in his dreams. 

While Atlanta as a series has largely been a surreal experience, the finale recalledNewhart‘s shocking dream revelation and The Sopranos‘ frustrating fade to black. And there have been a number of explainers, interviews and reactions attempting to break down what really happened in the end. 

Despite the ambiguity, Henry felt it was the right way to go. “We wanted to go out with a bang, and I think we did,” he said, while also acknowledging all the unexpected journeys all four characters went on during the show’s run. 

“We had a good one. You know, we went on a lot of adventures. We’ve done a lot of things. I’ve been shot at a lot and chased a lot,” Henry said, referring to Al’s many ups and downs. “But it’s, like, we just really felt like the trajectory of our characters came to a really good conclusion.” 

FX

The Atlanta series finale, meanwhile, is just the start of a new chapter for Henry, who is just as busy as ever. “It’s a good problem,” he said of all the projects he has ahead of him, including the Godzilla vs. Kong sequel, the sports biopic Flint Strong as well as voice roles in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and The Magician’s Elephant

In the meantime, Henry’s garnering awards season attention for his turn as James Aucoin in the military drama Causeway opposite Jennifer Lawrence. The role has garnered him nominations for both the Gotham Awards and the upcoming Independent Spirit Awards. “It feels amazing,” he said of being nominated, noting that “this movie was a labor of love.” 

Henry also gushed about his co-star. “Jennifer is one of the best people I’ve worked with so far,” he shared. “Like, she’s just incredibly giving and incredibly talented… I’ve been very fortunate to work with some incredible people. And she’s one of them.” 


 

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