Paul Walter Hauser Discusses His Love of Wrestling & That Touching Tribute to Ray Liotta

Paul Walter Hauser at the 2023 Golden Globes
Q&A
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

What’s a great way to celebrate taking home a statue at the Golden Globes? Well, if you’re Paul Walter Hauser, you go to an All Elite Wrestling show. The star was named Best Supporting Actor in a Television Limited Series/Motion Picture at the Globes on January 1o for his dramatic portrayal of suspected serial killer Larry Hall in Apple TV+’s Black Bird,

The following night he started out as just a fan attending the AEW event at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California. But it certainly didn’t end that way. Interviewer Renee Paquette spoke to the star backstage during the January 11 episode of Dynamite. Hauser was next seen in the ring January 13 on Rampage (also taped at Kia Forum on January 11) having a good time with eccentric “very evil” pro wrestler Danhausen. The crowd cheered as he celebrated his Globes win and declared his love for pro wrestling.

Things got a little dicey when AEW villains Jeff Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt, Jay Lethal, and Satnam Singh, showed up and antagonized the Hollywood visitor. Hauser made a few wisecracks to the group. The war of words caused him to get decked by Lethal and nailed in the head with one of Jarrett’s trademark guitar shots. Fan favorites Orange Cassidy and the rest of the “Best Friends” came out to save Hauser, but the damage had been done. Jarrett, Dutt, Lethal, and Singh stole his beloved trophy!

We caught up with Hauser to get his thoughts, as well as reflect on his whirlwind week and what might be next.

Congrats on your Golden Globes win. Take us through that moment you heard your name called.

Paul Walter Hauser: Seth Rogen is so beloved. F. Murray Abraham is a legend. All these guys are incredible. I very much did not anticipate hearing my name called, but I did have a backup of people I wanted to thank if it did happen. You are so nervous that if you don’t have any prep or plan, you can get up there and say something psychotic.

Your tribute to Ray Liotta at the Globes really struck a chord.

I like to honor people just in general as a trait. When I mentioned Ray Liotta’s name, and it didn’t get much of a pop as we say in wrestling. If you do something good in pro wrestling, it gets a pop if it’s any good. There wasn’t enough of a pop for Ray. I was offended, so I just kept saying his name like a pissed-off teacher staring at their students. I’m glad we gave it up to Ray. I do really feel he is an iconic actor with a career that speaks for itself.

As a wrestling fan, I did appreciate the “Get the Tables” line in the speech.

The story behind that is my dear friend and manager Brian Walsh. He and I have a thing if anything goes well we’ll say, “Get the tables!” Like we’re pumped. I wanted to end it with a shout-out to him. And Bubba and Devon Dudley. Big fan of those guys.

I loved your work in Richard Jewell, so it was great to see you really dig into another dramatic role for Blackbird.

I really think that role came to me when I was in a dark place in my personal life. So I really leaned into the character in a really unique way. It was great television, but maybe not great for me as a human. I’m proud of the work we did, and I think the role was a catalyst to help me get sober and jump into a program. I think this year a got a year and three months sober. It’s definitely reflective of the dark experience I had while shooting Blackbird.

Much like wrestling, it’s very easy for someone to be typecasted in Hollywood. However, you’ve been able to jump around a bit and avoid that.

Some may call it fate, luck of the draw. I call it God. Sometimes you get offered something you really want and get it. It’s an opportunity. If you’re a comedic person like me, to get a Richard Jewell invitation, it’s also me auditioning for future dramas. It’s me saying I’m going to do my best and then make people believe I’m worthy of these types of roles. Clearly, that helped a little bit and I got Blackbird. Hopefully, the next iteration for me will be now that people know I can do comedy and drama, maybe they’ll let me do action. Maybe I’ll get to do a cool horror film or western or a rom-com. I play so many weirdos, a romantic comedy would be good to be next.

Black Bird Paul Walter Hauser and Taron Egerton

Apple TV+

About 24 hours later after winning at the Golden Globes, we see you on AEW Dynamite. Were there plans for you to attend the show all along?

I just texted Tony Khan and said, “Hey, I’m coming to the show. I don’t know if I’m going to win the Golden Globe, but if I do, can I bring it? Maybe someone can use it as a foreign object in the match.” What I didn’t know was I’d get brought out and that Jeff Jarrett and his goon squad would come out and beat me up. That was not part of the plan. Obviously, I knew we were going to do a little bit. I knew we were going to do a comedy segment. But the rush of the audience and the guy Sonjay Dutt grabbed my shirt, and it became, “I guess we’re doing this.” I hope I get my Golden Globe back. Put it this way, I know Tony Khan and Chris Jericho and all those guys and respect what they did. I’m assuming I’m getting it back. I’m not worried. But Jeff Jarrett should watch his back.

You’re a lifelong fan. What is it like for you to be backstage and involved in a show?

I just respect what these guys do. It’s so much work. There is so much pain outside the ring just dealing with injuries, soreness, and missing your family. I have been a fan for almost 30 years. I’m more excited to run into someone like Tony Schiavone or Sting than I am to say a famous actor or filmmaker…I’ve gotten to see some of the greatest AEW matches live. To get to step in the ring was very surreal. I certainly hope I get to do it again.

What was the moment that made you a fan?

I think I was five or six when I was visiting my grandfather and grandmother in Florida. My Uncle Robert, my mom’s brother, brought me into his bedroom. We sat on our bellies on his bed watching Clash of the Champions together. It was 1991 or 1992. I have this vivid memory of El Gigante and Arn Anderson. I was so enthralled by the visual. Arn Anderson looks like one of my friend’s dads. El Gigante looks like a superhero or a monster. To see them paired up on the television screen stuck with me.

Is there anyone in Hollywood you think people would be surprised to know is a wrestling fan?

I know Sabastian Stan love to go back and watch old WWF clips. He and I have done that together. I know that Rick Rubin, my favorite music producer of all time, is a wrestling fan. You never know. They are kind of quiet about it. It’s almost like being a Republican in Hollywood or something. People don’t always talk about it. I’m very open about my faith and open about who I am as a sober person and very open about my love of professional wrestling.

Paul Walter Hauser

AEW

AEW champ MJF is part of the upcoming Iron Claw film. How do you think MJF will do in Hollywood?

So much about acting is commitment, specificity, communication, and confidence. Max Jacob Freeman already has all that. He has every tool in the toolbelt to go as far as he wants as a professional TV-movie actor. It would just be a matter of how much he plans to commit to it and if he is in it for the long haul. I’m certainly rooting for him. I was thrilled to find out that both he and my buddy Ryan Nemeth, who wrestles under the name “Hollywood Hunk,” joined the cast Iron Claw at A24. I was smiling ear to ear. Love to see the boys in Hollywood making it.

Is there anyone in AEW that you think would have a career in acting if they applied themselves?

Will Hobbs is a guy who has a really terrific look and could do some acting. I really like Steve Borden, who wrestles under the name Sting. I feel he could jump into Hollywood easily. It’s having all the attributes I mentioned and being able to bring it when the director yells action.

Can we expect to see more of you on AEW TV?

If they wanted me to do a match, I would do that in two seconds. I would just need a couple of months to train and make sure I can perform and it’s not just a photo opp. If I do it, I want to do it. I want to do a Russian leg sweep, I want to do a swinging neck breaker. I want to do a senton bomb through a table.

Look out, Stingray is coming.

Stingray, Cobra Kai never dies bro!

AEW Dynamite, Wednesdays, 8/7c, TBS

AEW Rampage, Fridays, 10/9c, TNT