Paul Walter Hauser Says Weight Has Impacted His Career: 'I've Played Every Chubby, Misguided Person' (Exclusive)

The ‘Black Bird’ Emmy winner-turned-wrestler hopes to be cast in different types of roles once he reaches his weight loss goals

Frazer Harrison/Getty Paul Walter Hauser in 2023
Frazer Harrison/Getty Paul Walter Hauser in 2023

Paul Walter Hauser is reflecting on how his weight impacts his acting roles.

“I lost 40 pounds to do the role in Black Bird,” says the actor, 37, of his Emmy-winning work as Larry Hall in the 2022 miniseries. “I put some of that weight back on, and now I'm bringing it back down.”

Thanks to his commitment to getting in the wrestling ring — now at the professional level — “trying to get back down to 246 [lbs.]” is a realistic goal, Hauser tells PEOPLE. “That's kind of a nice fighting weight for me, for my size and the things I get cast in.”

Like most actors, Hauser is aware of how his weight affects the roles he's offered. That's why he has his eye on that 246-lb. goal. "Slowly but surely, I'm going to be chipping away at that.”

Related: Paul Walter Hauser Calls Late Costar Ray Liotta a 'Rolex' in Poignant, Poetic Emmy Acceptance for Black Bird

<p>Sam Crim</p> Paul Walter Hauser

Sam Crim

Paul Walter Hauser

Hauser has played goofballs — sometimes loveable, sometimes not so much — since his breakout role in I, Tonya and leading Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell. As he notes with characteristic frankness, from Cobra Kai to Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman and Da 5 Bloods, “I've played every type of chubby, misguided person. I don't need to play 900 more.”

Along with making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in The Fantastic Four, Hauser is also set to star as Chris Farley in Josh Gad's directorial debut, a biopic about the late comedian.

“Chris Farley will be my last very heavy-set role in which I am on paper and visually overweight. I have every intention to get the weight down, like Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen and all these other guys who have done it,” he explains. “I'm done with that version of that character, and I look forward to being healthy.”

Related: Chris Farley Once Started 'Huge' Food Fight at O'Hare Airport, Cousin Reveals

<p>Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images</p> Paul Walter Hauser on Jan. 24

Eric Charbonneau/Getty Images

Paul Walter Hauser on Jan. 24

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Plus, his role as dad to two young boys, alongside wife Amy Boland Hauser, is his most meaningful. Hauser intends to be “around for a long time for my kids and my wife,” he says.

Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle is “incredibly important to me,” he says, adding that in the past “it's also been very elusive, very hard for me. I got sober October 26th of 2021, so I’ve got over two-and-a-half years of sobriety.”

But food, says Hauser, “is still that thing where it becomes a comfort or an outlet. And unfortunately, everybody eats! You got to eat a couple times a day, so it's always there — whereas I can not buy marijuana and not buy alcohol, and it feels very distant.”

The ultimate bonus of slimming down, says Hauser, is “seeing what else I can do” in terms of Hollywood screen roles. “[Let’s] see if I can compete with the Ben Fosters and the Ryan Goslings!”

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