Taron Egerton Explains His Approach To Apple TV+'s Black Bird Limited Series After Working In Film

Taron Egerton has become a fairly notable name on the big screen, with performances in films like Rocketman and Kingsman: The Secret Service to his name. Despite a steadily growing list of credits since the first Kingsman movie in 2015, almost all of his live-action work was in movies instead of television. That changed with the Apple TV+ miniseries Black Bird, which is centered on Egerton's Jimmy for a six-episode story inspired by true events. The actor opened up to CinemaBlend about his approach to Black Bird as opposed to films.

Before Black Bird, the 32-year-old Brit's most recent jobs in television were all voice roles for streaming projects, including Watership Down and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. In the live-action Apple TV+ series, he plays a convicted criminal who agrees to transfer to a hellish prison and try to get a confession out of another convict, with the goal of getting out of jail early. When I spoke with Egerton ahead of the premiere, I noted that he's no stranger to projects based on real people and true stories, and he explained his approach to this TV project from his strong film background:

I don't know that it changes your approach as an actor very much. The medium is obviously, for somebody who is creating it from the ground up – so Dennis [Lehane], our showrunner, writer, creator – for him, I think it's different to a movie, because the tools you employ to tell the story are different. It's a different structure. And I guess there's something of that when you are the lead actor in something as well, because I think you can embrace the enigmatic characters more so. You don't have to declare who someone is. You've got a longer period of time to tell the story, so you can afford for things to unfold more slowly. I think maybe at some level, you're dimly aware of that in the performance too. But by and large, I approach it in the same way.

According to Taron Egerton, he didn't actually change his approach much, other than being "dimly aware" that there's more time to tell a story and flesh out characters with a six-episode series as opposed to a two-hour film. Of course, Egerton might have had to change his approach a lot more if Black Bird ran for more episodes, or was likely to have a second season. As is, it seems like the practices that worked for Egerton on the big screen translated just fine to the small screen.

The actor's comments also indicate that the show found the right man for the job, which isn't too surprising. Showrunner Dennis Lehane has revealed that they "wanted Taron pretty early because it's a sweet spot role," and he has what it takes to play dangerous, calculating, and boyish in turns. The showrunner also revealed that Egerton was firm on who he wanted as his co-star, after seeing Paul Walter Hauser (in a very different character than he played on Cobra Kai) read the show's most disturbing scenes. 

The show is still relatively early into its run, with the first two episodes releasing on July 8 and the third on July 15. It's not necessarily a story for the faint of heart, with the terrible crimes that Jimmy needs Larry to confess to, but another actor explained how Black Bird managed to avoid exploiting the haunting true story behind the series

Be sure to keep your Apple TV+ subscription active so that you don't miss a minute of the limited series. Along with Taron Egerton and Paul Walter Hauser, the show stars the late Ray Liotta, Little Miss Sunshine's Greg Kinnear, and The Deuce's Sepideh Moafi. New episodes of Black Bird release on Fridays. For some viewing options between new episodes of the series, be sure to check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).