'I'm in your favourite Disney films but in my spare time I wrestle deathmatches' (2024)

Disney star. Golden Globe winner. Character actor. Professional wrestler.

Paul Walter Hauser is proving he can do it all, and already in 2024 he’s won acting awards, lent his voice to a new emotion in Inside Out 2, and left buckets of blood in the wrestling ring.

Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk after signing a contract with Major League Wrestling, the childhood WWE fan – who will appear next at MLW Blood and Thunder on Friday (July 12) live on YouTube – is determined to make the most of his life.

He said: ‘My dream for the end of the year is I want to be bleeding all over the ring in MLW, while also competing for acting awards, while also crying in a church service with my kids, while also fighting a treadmill and a Stairmaster, while cooking, while dealing with therapy.

‘Life is this big kaleidoscope, and I want to live it boldly and talk about every aspect of it.’

He’s certainly doing that, with six matches under his belt in the first six months of the year, in between filming commitments on The Naked Gun reboot (which was ‘a lot of fun’) and his new Mark Wahlberg movie Balls Out.

‘I’m headed out to Australia to do the – I almost said the match, the movie with Wahlberg,’ he laughed. ‘I don’t wanna a match with Wahlberg, I think I would lose very quickly.’

The actor is in demand, but he admitted not everyone he works with in Hollywood is fully aware of his blossoming wrestling career.

‘I think people are mostly in the dark about it. Those that know have reached out and been like, “Hey, are you okay? Are you having a midlife crisis? You could get hurt in the ring,”‘ he added.

‘I just tell them the truth, which is that wrestling can be dangerous, but also it’s a place of calculated risk. Just like playing a sport.’

His lifelong love for wrestling, which has prompted him to do what he’s described as a reverse Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, has led to an amazing coming together of his two dreams.

He’s currently starring in one of the biggest animated films after, Inside Out 2, in which he plays Embarrassment, a part with few lines but plenty of heart in the sheepish noises he makes.

‘What a beautiful, powerful film,’ said Paul, whose first Disney role was Horace in 2017’s Cruella. ‘I deeply admire Steve Zahn’s performance in that Planet of the Apes film from a few years back.

‘He said very little, but he was so effective, so I was hoping to try to have a similar impact. They say there are no small roles, only small actors. I’m honored to have a good, small role in a really tremendous, big film.’

After finding success from roles in the likes of Black Bird on Apple TV+, Paul wants to use the skills he’s learning on set to ‘shine a light on the immensely talented people’ in MLW and beyond, as he continues to develop in the ring.

He’s been preparing for this his whole life, ‘desiring’ the feeling of being sent through wooden tables, or to ‘pay the price and get that crimson mask’ with his face covered in blood.

‘You don’t even feel the pain when it’s something you love,’ he shrugged, pointing out similar feelings when he and his wife have to make ‘Herculean efforts’ to find balance with their roles as parents and partners.

‘You love your family. So of course you’re doing those things,’ he added.

Despite his commitment to wrestling, not everyone has been kind to the 37-year-old star early in his career, with bodyshaming trolls and naysayers on social media.

‘”You need to wrestle a treadmill”, and “You have no business being in a wrestling ring”. And “Oh, is this another David Arquette, but he’s less famous?”,’ people have told him.

‘It shouldn’t hurt my feelings, because you have to have thick skin to do all this type of stuff,’ he said of wrestling, acting and stand up comedy.

It does cut deep though, especially when Paul – who has admitted he’d love to have a match at WrestleMania one day – knows he’s throwing everything into this, and doing a great job.

‘[I’m] doing an elbow drop from the second rope onto a pile of thumbtacks or getting split open,’ he said. ‘If the roles were reversed, and I was paying my 50 bucks to sit in the audience, I’m eating my popcorn and sipping a drink, and I’m watching another actor do all that, I would be very impressed.’

‘For the many haters who do not believe in this, what they think is a faulty side quest, I’m doing it for the people that do like it and do get it, myself included,’ he defiantly added.

And he hopes to inspire people to chase their dreams, rather than leaving anything on the table.

‘You can really, really enjoy life so much more and maybe do these things you didn’t think were possible, like a heavyset 37 year old wrestling and having successful matches,’ he said, putting his own trust in God.

‘II see so many people die on the vine, and they never get to quench their thirst. I really wish that all people would just take a chance on believing in themselves.’

For more information on MLW, click here. For details on Paul Walter Hauser‘s next matches, follow him here. MLW Blood and Thunder airs live on Friday via YouTube.

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'I'm in your favourite Disney films but in my spare time I wrestle deathmatches' (1)

'I'm in your favourite Disney films but in my spare time I wrestle deathmatches' (2024)

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