Apple TV+’s crime series ‘Black Bird’ revolves around the suspected serial killer Larry DeWayne Hall, who is imprisoned at a federal prison referred to as Springfield for abducting and raping Jessica Roach. Federal prosecutor Edmund Beaumont and FBI Special Agent Lauren McCauley send James “Jimmy” Keene undercover to Springfield to befriend Larry and elicit his confession to the supposed murder of Tricia Reitler, along with the location of her suspected dead body.
In addition, the series also offers a detailed look at the investigations of Larry’s alleged victims and his life. One thing that stands out in Paul Walter Hauser’s portrayal of the alleged serial killer is his high-pitched voice. Naturally, the viewers must be wondering whether the real Larry Hall has such a voice. Let’s find out!
Is Larry Hall’s Voice Real in Black Bird?
Larry Hall really has a high-pitched voice. Larry’s voice is described as “quiet,” “little,” “flat,” and “high-pitched” in ‘In with the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption,’ the source text of the show, written by Jimmy Keene and Hillel Levin. “Larry’s real voice is, from what I heard, pretty wildly high-pitched and distracting,” Paul Walter Hauser confirmed in an interview with EW. The actor had to rely on audio available on YouTube to prepare for his character.
According to Hauser, the real Larry’s high-pitched voice is an integral part of his nature and characteristics. “It [Larry’s real voice] felt kind of deceptive. It felt very much like he was putting it on sometimes to gain sympathy or to seem innocent or to seem dim-witted,” Hauser told E! News. In his performance, Hauser uses the high-pitched voice as a tool of deception and to present Larry’s seemingly pretentious innocence.
How Did Paul Walter Hauser Change His Voice?
To perfect his performance, Paul Walter Hauser had to capture the high-pitch of Larry’s real voice. “His [Larry’s] real voice is high-pitched like that. […] It’s cartoonishly high. I had to try to capture that,” the actor told E! News in the same interview. According to Hauser, Larry’s voice is pitched higher than the voice he uses in the show. “I actually diluted it [Larry’s voice]. It was higher and more weird than I even played it. He was at like an 11 out of 10, the real voice. And I brought it down to maybe an eight, eight and a half,” the actor added.
Since matching the real Larry’s higher register is an integral part of his performance, Hauser had to make changes to his own voice carefully. “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, and I kind of did the same thing with Larry,” Hauser told EW in the same interview. Even though he “hated” doing the high-pitched voice, Hauser was aware of its significance.
“I was cognizant that this [‘Black Bird’] is a genre piece. We are trying to scare people and creep them out and that voice would definitely go a long way in making the audience feel uncomfortable,” Hauser added to E! News about the importance of his high-pitched voice in the show.
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