In stark contrast to the way their imprisoned characters circle each other over the course of several episodes in the tense Apple TV+ miniseries Black Bird , carefully testing and exploring cats Contrast – A game of rats to determine how much one person trusts another, by Paul Walter Hauser and
Taron Egerton Realized from the beginning that they were deep together.
Indeed, the actors need to work as a team to explore the often eerie darkness of true crime stories. In their scenes, they stand at the center of the episode together, as Egerton’s elegant but convicted drug dealer Jimmy Keene tries to reduce Hauser’s eccentric serial killer suspect Larry Hall by pretending to be friends with him. The prison term, hoping to learn the secrets that Hall can keep behind bars. But they also need each other’s support and a good sense of humor to help shake off the lingering shadow of the offensive aspects of the story.
Black Bird At its core, it’s a classic two-player game powered by a powerful push-pull The two characters alternate attraction and suspicion. Joining THR to explore their bond on set, Hauser and Egerton explore their relationship on set, tell how their performances have brought each other to places of darkness and light, and their Never thought about it.
You two really are together, deeply together. What do you discover you need from each other to make this work the way you want it to?
Paul Walter Hauser Teamwork is always about listening and trusting. Listening is the doer 48, but trusting is another matter, You won’t learn enough in college or in class. Taron and I overcommunicate our intentions for the scenes and what we need to accomplish, plus we socialize and get along as two people, and it feels like a really healthy dynamic to get us out of these scenes together need something.
TARON EGERTON As actors and creatives, we naturally love each other Passionate, and these characters are two people who are really researching and examining each other. And I think we found our sweet spot and familiarity quite naturally. It’s really just being as interested in the other person as possible. That sense of trust, because I think especially for Paul, but also to a lesser extent for myself, they’ve all been very ugly displays at times. To do that, you have to feel like you can dance safely with each other and [not] be afraid to take risks — and it can be weird at times.
ER Lack of vanity really matters. Basically any show I like, whether I think of Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or Saturday Night Live Tracy Morgan sketches, and I always come back to Lack of Vanity as my biggest obsession. And I think both Taron and I are capable of going out there and doing that.
Your on-set partner’s performance brought something on your own that you didn’t expect once you were on set from scratch To the feet?
EGERTON Paul runs into that part of the darkness like a charging bull, without trying to soften it, sentimentalize it, or romanticize it, or try to make it Hollywood in any way. It was really ugly at times, but it also evoked sympathy. The dynamic I’m most proud of is, I think, through what Paul does with [his] character, my Jimmy finds moments where he really likes him — and it’s in the writing — and is amused by him.
There is a secondary emotion after that, disgust at the fact of that feeling. It happens in really nice, spontaneous moments throughout the story, because Paul brings a level of presence and a completely unbridled commitment to the character. When the acting is really good and you really listen to each other, you have moments where you forget about yourself. Then something really spontaneous happened. I really feel like it happens to us a lot in the process of making our show.
HAUSER I do it almost all the time, years, and maybe three times I feel like I’ve actually lost myself, and Going deep enough with another male co-star. Taron was one of three people who got me there. When I watched the show from the sidelines, I realized, “Oh, Taron did a good job of doing an interesting emotional dance” – he portrayed Jimmy Keene as a guy who gets seduced by Larry Hall My man, but his feeling of being seduced by me is actually him seducing me.
Taron’s performance is marked by presence and neediness. Because someone like Larry Hall looks at someone like Jimmy Keene and thinks, “You don’t want anything. You don’t need anything.” Looking for a friend — of course, for someone as lonely as [Larry] to get that attention and see that vulnerability on display, it’s the hook, the line and the sinker. [Jimmy] seduced him by pretending to be seduced.
When you’re so deep that you kind of lose yourself, tell me how to get out of it and get back to you. What was it like for both of you to come out of such deep personalities?
EGERTON I think I’m pretty good at adjusting myself, but on two occasions I didn’t feel particularly good after adjusting. It’s not that you become so lost in the part of who you don’t know who you are, it’s just that you can’t escape the energy of something. Larry’s confession and account of the kidnapping and murder of Jessica Roach, the day I think we all find it difficult to unravel it in hindsight, because it’s real and knowing it really happened – so It’s not like a well-written fantasy. You have to go home and take a bath or a shower and try to get back to reality, really.
There was a scene earlier in the show when it was good for the double purpose thing in episode three. I was trying to win over Larry, but I also released a lot of stress and tension, and I beat the guy. I really don’t like that. I don’t know if you ever experienced a school fight as a child, where you got into an argument or fight with another kid in school and you were very shocked and anxious afterwards. I felt anxious after that day and felt a little compromised by the extremity of the violence. Like Paul said: You guys just check in with each other and admit that it’s all a little weird, a little dark, a little dirty.
HAUSER I would compare it to getting out of a nightmare wake up. You might have a nightmare where you’re doing or taking part in something, or just witnessing something reprehensible, and you wake up and say, “Wow, I really didn’t kill people! Tight! I’m very Happy – great!” But it does take a little time, at least for me – I don’t know about others, but sometimes I need five to 12 minutes to get rid of the emotional residue of whatever was going on in my mind.
I would say, however, I think I’m pretty good at it too. I was a monster when I was racist on this show. When they yell “cut,” I’m pretty quick to say, “Let me improvise a song and pretend I’m tap dancing and find a funny video on Instagram.” Those residues peel off.
Tell me about those funny moments you really have to go away from that dark material and just lighten the mood.
Hauser We sang a lot!
EGERTON Paul is so funny. Paul has a genuine ability to make everyone around him laugh, crew and cast alike. And he has a natural understanding of how to extract comedy from everyday life and moments. He’s very good at making light when it needs to be made in a very dark show. We do a lot of just being really stupid. Acting is drama, we are good at acting and enjoy it. Whether it’s the singing and the goofy dancing or Paul cocking his legs at the closest table at the time – which I try to do myself to lessen the comedic payoff – but Paul manages to make it very, very funny.
HAUSER has some moments trying to make the other person uncomfortable See how they react. There’s a lot of this: giving each other a hug that lasted way too long.
EGERTON WAY too long! (Laughs.)
Interview edited for length and clarity.
This story first appeared in the December stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe .