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Black Bird Star Paul Walter Hauser Explains How He Pieced Together His Chilling Performance as a Serial Killer

(Warning: This Black Bird post features spoilers for the shows finale.)

Audiences and critics have already been addicted to the Apple TV+ series Black Bird, which wraps its limited run this Friday on the streamer.

Across its first five episodes, the six-episode series has been driven by suspense and an extremely heightened intensity as Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton), a convicted drug supplier, attempts to reduce his jail term by befriending and eliciting a confession from Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser), a suspected serial killer just days from escaping . on a technicality.

In the finale, Hauser gave a chilling performance as Larry, as he finally confessed to Jimmy hed committed nearly two dozen murders. For once, Jimmy couldnt restrain his real feelings before Larry, telling him he was sick and would lose his appeal, prompting a ferocious outburst from the disturbed man who thought Jimmy a pal.

With all Black Bird episodes available these days to stream on Apple TV+, Hauser took a brief break from weekend work to inform TheWrap about dealing with the challenging and disturbing character, dealing with showrunner and writer Dennis Lehane on the piece (that is inspired by Keenes real story), and forming a detailed bond on set with Egerton, whom he’d happily use again.

Oh, I really like him, Hauser said. I’d jump at the opportunity to use him. Like, if he were another James Bond, and I was, like, a Bond villain, nothing would make me happier than something similar to that.

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TheWrap: Lets discuss Episode 5a tiny bit. That which was the mood like on set? Because obviously thats a fairly heavy episode for both you and Taron to accomplish.

Paul Walter Hauser: I believe there was lots of commonsensical reactionary behavior from the crew. People werent as chatty. People werent showing one another tweets, or memes. It had been quite definitely everyone within their place, as few people as you possibly can and individuals were quiet and respectful, which because the actor[s] needing to do everything, me and Taron really appreciated.

All I could say is that I did so a movie called BlacKkKlansmen, where I play a racist idiot, and there is each day where me and Adam Driver and Topher Grace, each one of these guys, we [had] to view the movie Birth of a Nation and cheer for this and say really disgusting things. So when that day was done, most of us felt, I believe, physically ill. Nothing like, Oh, Ive surely got to have a shower. Similar to, I believe Im likely to provide. And your day we shot that scene in Episode 5 by the end, that was sort of day where I felt physically ill.

As you have plenty of dialogue that’s uninterrupted for the reason that episode, achieved it feel just like a theater production in a few ways?

Yeah, After all, they really wanted it to become a one-er. They wished to get it within a shot. And I thought: Wow, how effective if we’re able to do this. Its just like the audience is needing to sit with Taron Egerton and feel how he feels watching me do my thing. So yeah, I thought it had been an excellent shot. But carrying it out, you know, needing to time it out properly just remember while Im acting with Taron, out from the peripheral of my left eye, Im forced to learn where in fact the camera would be to make certain I stick the landing. That has been a challenge, for certain.

I talked to Dennis in the beginning of the season, and he mentioned Taron was among the people that really fought to get this role. And for me personally, that prompted the question of why you wished to do the role they fought very difficult to get. Youre playing a serial killer. What made you need to tackle that challenge?

Im attempting to think of the easiest method to say this, because I understand everything you mean, theres a weird connotation: Why can you execute a character such as this?

After all, you may be probably the most light hearted person on the planet, but youre likely to have to consider some very horrible things and commit the lines to memory to get this done.

I simply viewed all the best actors, and I fall consistent with them. So Peter Sarsgaard Boys Dont Cry and Lovelace. Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards and Green Mile. Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road and 99 Homes. They are my guys, they are my Brandos, De Niros, Pacinos, Sidney Poitiers. THEREFORE I sort of follow the playbook of not being afraid to do something grisly and awful.

That doesnt imply that I dont have limits. You can find things I wouldnt do on camera. But if its me just recounting something grisly and disgusting with regard to a narrative thats thoughtfully dramatic. I believe its worth my time and worth my talent. Entering it, though, youve just surely got to invest in anything youre doing. Good acting is actually just, youve surely got to convince yourself and commit rather than hesitate to go there. Because in the event that you half part of or you half ass it, audiences are much too smart. Theyre likely to see it and theyre likely to rip you apart.

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Theres been plenty said about Larrys voice. Im less thinking about the voice and much more interested in fundamentally the focus that Larry has in your scenes, and how he sort of disappears at certain points with time. How did you calibrate that?

Some of these moments where Larry spaces out, thats all in Dennis writing. He wanted those moments of mental detachment; he sculpted those. And, how exactly to play that, its tricky. I believe while playing Larry, lots of what Im doing is merely what I’d make reference to as gainful disposition or selfish disposition. Youre not necessarily moving to the flow of social traffic; youre is likely to world the complete time. When youre is likely to world the complete time, much like Kathy Bates in Misery, youre type of is likely to flow state, and youre really unencumbered by the items around you, generally. Sometimes, when I was playing Larry, I’d respond to something because I thought: Oh, people would think I will react. Not because Im actually bothered or surprised or interested. So youre constantly sort of performing in line within the guy. Thats that selfish disposition.

What lengths down the wormhole did you get into Google while researching this character?

It had been like 15% research, 85% Dennis scripts. Theres no video of the guy that I was presented with. I didnt bother to go meet him in the prison in the Carolinas or wherever he could be. It was quite definitely Dennis brilliant writing and my warped creativity.

I’d want to hear a bit in what your relationship was as with Taron once you two were on set, actor to actor.

Everybodys different. Im very bro-y with women and men that I work opposite. I immediately make an effort to make sure they are my sibling. So, with Taron, it had been like, Lets go involve some cocktails. Lets play one another well known songs from music streaming apps. Lets visit the gym and workout together and grab a sandwich and go visit a movie in the theater. It had been lots of immediate socializing in early stages. And as we experienced the task, we were just so tired. We barely saw one another off set because we were just in go mode continuously, especially Taron. He previously to maintain that physicality.

Taron had the lions share of physical work there, so he was exhausted, too. That has been off set. On set, we tried to be overly communicative and kind and loving toward one another. And I usually defer to him, you understand? I always viewed him as No. 1, and I was No. 2. Thats precisely how I treated him on set. I deferred to him atlanta divorce attorneys sense. And section of thats him being truly a producer. I tried to honor the truth that this guys producing the show, too. I have to show him the respect hes earned.

Black Bird is streaming now on Apple TV+.

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