Paul Walter Hauser Talks 'Black Bird' and his SAG Awards Nomination
Moviefone speaks with Paul Walter Hauser about 'Black Bird.' "It's the awards show you hope you get nominated for because you're voted on by your peers."
Golden Globe winner Paul Walter Hauser has also been nominated at the 2023 Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series, along with his co-star Taron Egerton, for their work on the Apple TV+ miniseries ‘Black Bird.’
What is the true story behind 'Black Bird' and what is the miniseries about?
'Black Bird' is based on the true story of Larry Hall, who in 1995 was sent to prison for the kidnapping of a 15-year-old girl who went missing in 1993, although he was suspected multiple murders the police could not prove.
In 1998, former football star Jimmy Keene was arrested in a drug and firearms case and sentenced to ten years in prison. The FBI makes Jimmy an offer, befriend Larry in a maximum-security prison for the criminally insane and get him to confess to the murders, and Jimmy's sentence will be commuted, or don't and he will be forced to serve his full sentence.
Who stars in ‘Black Bird?’
‘Black Bird’ stars Taron Egerton (‘Rocketman’) as James “Jimmy” Keene, and Paul Walter Hauser (‘Richard Jewell’) as Lawrence “Larry” Hall. In addition, the cast includes Sepideh Moafi (‘The Killing of Two Lovers’), Greg Kinnear (‘As Good as It Gets’), Robert Wisdom (‘Motherless Brooklyn’), and Ray Liotta (‘Goodfellas’).
How many 2023 Screen Actors Guild Awards was ‘Black Bird’ nominated for?
Both Taron Egerton and Paul Walter Hauser were nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series.
Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with Paul Walter Hauser about his work on ‘Black Bird,’ as well as his SAG award nomination and the true story the series is based on.
You can read the full interview below or click on the video player above to watch our interview with Hauser about ‘Black Bird.’
Moviefone: To begin with, you recently won a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award for this series, and have now been nominated for a SAG Award. How does it feel to be nominated for this award from your peers?
Paul Walter Hauser: It feels really good. It's the kind of award show that you hope you get to attend or be nominated for because you're voted on by your peers, some of your heroes, and some of your collaborators. We really are a big community, so the fact that I've been nominated alongside these other guys it means more to me than an Academy Award. It's amazing.
MF: Can you talk about your approach to playing real life character Larry Hall in this series?
PWH: In a way, playing real characters can be easier than playing entirely fabricated ones because you have materials, you about their backstory, you have photographs, sometimes you have video footage, and that can be very helpful. What's difficult about it is you really have to get it accurate. You have people judging it a bit differently than if it were just some made up character. So there's a lot of pressure, and it's also really scary.
The fear I have with some characters, like the racist idiot that I played in ‘BlacKkKlansman’ or the serial killer Larry Hall, you never want it to enter into a lane of unbelievability and have it be almost too crazy, and become comedic or hard to ground. So the key really is trying to be specific, ground the character in a sense of reality, and then commit to that.
Related Article: Taron Egerton Talks ‘Black Bird’
MF: What was the most challenging aspect of playing this character?
PWH: Keeping the voice is difficult. There were days I did it better than others, and there are moments in the show where I look at it and go, I wish I would've done that a little bit differently. But I would say that, and having to think the thoughts of Larry. Some of the things Larry says about his crimes are just so dark and disgusting, and disturbing that I have to think those thoughts. I have to imagine him, me doing that, or it isn't going to be real in the eyes. You can always tell if an actor's full of crap by looking at their eyes, and I had to own that and that was not fun. That was very difficult.
MF: Was this a difficult character for you to shake after the production was over?
PWH: I guess I just am able to differentiate myself from the character. I have better hygiene than him. I had a better childhood than him. I have faith in a God that I can't see, but I may as well because of the belief I have. These are all things Larry didn't have. I had a mass amount of friends growing up. Larry probably could have used some friends. He could have used some people that grounded him and made him feel seen. Who knows, he may have went a whole different path. So I think I just have the cognizance of mine to know that you're Paul, not Larry and I have a million flaws too, but they're not Larry's flaws, that's for sure.
MF: Finally, what was it like for you to work with Taron Egerton on this project?
PWH: Now I've worked with some great actors. I've gotten to work alongside Vince Vaughn and Sam Rockwell, and Emma Thompson and Marisa Tomei. Taron really is one of the greats right now, and between ‘Rocketman’ and ‘Black Bird,’ he's just a must see for me. I'm always going to want to watch whatever he's doing, because I want to see what he does with it. He's a brilliant actor and a really kind man, and I'm proud to call him a friend.
Movies Similar to ‘Black Bird:’
- 'The Crossing Guard' (1995)
- 'All Good Things' (2010)
- ‘Prisoners' (2013)
- 'Dark Places' (2015)
- 'BlacKkKlansman' (2018)
- 'Richard Jewell' (2019)
- ‘The Little Things' (2021)