Watch: The Truth Behind Our Obsession With True Crime Stories
Paul Walter Hauser transformed himself mind, body and soul for the role of suspected serial killer Larry Hall.
The Richard Jewell star lost 40 pounds to play the notorious Hall, who is suspected to be responsible for the murders of up to 45 women in the '80s and '90s, for the upcoming Apple TV+ series Black Bird.
While he dropped the pounds, Hauser credits the series' hair and make-up teams for perfecting Hall's hair and his infamous muttonchop sideburns, which Hall called "burnsides."
After seeing his total makeover, it's surprising to learn that Hauser initially hesitated to take the role. He says the project's intense subject matter gave him pause.
"To be honest, I don't know that I would've even signed on, had it been a gross-out serial killer story," Hauser told Entertainment Weekly. "The older I get, the less interested I am in watching true crime because the world is in such a place."
The series, based on the book In with the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption by James Keene and Hillel Levin, follows Jimmy Keene (Bohemian Rhapsody's Taron Egerton) as he begins a 10-year prison sentence. However, if he can elicit a confession from Hall, he will be freed.
For Hauser, it was the prospect of getting to the core of the dynamic between Hall and Keene that made him say yes to the series.
"I think what we did here is we're telling a story about a relationship, and it's really an undercover kind of crime story," he said. "So we don't get into the ooey-gooey, 'let me show you the gory detail' stuff. It's really more of a psychological drama, and that's the kind of thing I watch as often as possible."
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic, Apple TV+
Hauser didn't only have to transform his body—he had to alter his voice as well. Hall's voice is much higher than Hauser's range, and he drew upon an Academy Award winning performance for inspiration.
"When Mahershala Ali did that film Green Book, the real guy he was playing, he said the register was so high-pitched that he had to kind of cut it in half to make it believable and also not distracting for the viewer in the film," Hauser told EW. "I kind of did the same thing with Larry."
Black Bird premieres July 8 on Apple TV+.
For more true crime transformations, keep reading:
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2See Rob Kardashian's Rare Appearance on The Kardashians3Scott Disick Raises Eyebrows With Remark About Khloe Kardashian’s BodyTaylor Hill/FilmMagic, Apple TV+Paul Walter Hauser as Larry Hall
In Apple TV+'s Black Bird, the Richard Jewell star lost 40 pounds to play suspected serial killer Larry Hall.
Hauser credited the series' hair and make-up teams for perfecting Hall's hair and his infamous muttonchop sideburns, which Hall called "burnsides."
Tina Rowden/Hulu/Getty ImagesJessica Biel as Candy Montgomery
In the Hulu series Candy, Jessica Biel transforms into accused axe murderer Candy Montgomery. For the role, Biel sports Candy's signature curly hair and oversized glasses. It's safe to say the 7th Heaven alum is totally unrecognizable!
NBC/Getty ImagesRenée Zellweger as Pam Hupp
The Oscar-winning actress totally transformed into convicted killer Pam Hupp using prosthetics and body padding for NBC's TV series The Thing About Pam, based on Dateline's incredibly successful true crime podcast.
The Thing About Pam is based on the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria that resulted in her husband Russ' conviction. While Russ was later exonerated the crime set off a chain of events that eventually exposed a villainous scheme planned by Pam.
The Thing About Pam premiered Mar. 8, 2022 on NBC.