AARON PAUL from Breaking Bad Exclusive Interview

Aaron Paul

Yesterday, I interviewed AARON PAUL who plays Jesse Pinkman on the brilliant AMC show, Breaking Bad.

Aaron Paul is one of the Emmy hopefuls this year, and I can honestly say that I hope he gets a nod for his excellent portrayal of Jesse. He is definitely one of the most talented young actors out there.

Aaron Paul talked about the pretty insane season 2 of Breaking Bad, the relationship between Jesse and Walter, his addiction to ‘Lost,’ and much more. So enjoy his interview below.

Congratulations on getting picked up for a third season, and after only four episodes airing. That must’ve been cool.

Aaron Paul: Thank you, yeah. I’m so excited to go back. It’s such a fun job.

Season two was even more outrageous than season one, if that’s even possible. What was your reaction to everything that happened with your character?

Aaron Paul: I was losing my mind just reading these scripts and as the season was coming to a close I was like, ‘Oh, my God, how are they going to end this?’ Then once Jane met her demise it was like, ‘What?’ After reading that script I was like, ‘Wait, she’s dead in my bed. I’m going to find her in the morning. Oh, my God, that’s so devastating.’ Then reading the season finale was just, like, oh my God – so intense. It’s pretty intense. What Vince [Gilligan] and everyone else come up with is just… he’s the nicest guy in the world but he comes up with such messed up stuff.

That’s probably his outlet for getting it all out.

Aaron Paul: I know, right. That’s his release. It’s a good form of a therapy.

Was that scene with Jane really intense to do, especially since I’m assuming that you haven’t had that personal experience in real life?

Aaron Paul: That has personally never happened to me, thank God. But it’s tough to kind of go there. Again, like I said before, with the writing as a kind of form of therapy I feel that acting is very much the same way. It’s a nice release. But that particular emotion is kind of tough to get to and I’m happy when it’s done. Jesse this season was constantly getting beat down and he finally sees what he thinks is a glimmer of hope, this love that he’s never really felt before and then once he gets off the wagon, starts using again…she was somewhat of a good influence on Jesse at the beginning and then once she started using again was a horrible, horrible influence.

Why do you think that Jesse sticks with Walter? I personally don’t think it’s just because of the money?

Aaron Paul: I think it’s almost, deep down inside, like a fatherly figure for Jesse. With his family, you see in season one he didn’t really come from a battered home which made him do the things that he’s chosen for his life. He came from like a middle class home with maybe a lot of pressure there and he wasn’t the child that his parents hoped he’d be. At first he didn’t want anything to do with Walt but once he started seeing Walt as a true artist, in his head, in his mind, with the cooking; Jesse believed that cooking crystal meth is a true art form. So he’s impressed by him and also somewhat inspired. I think he loves the butting heads aspect of it, I think. I used to get myself into relationships where – this is so messed up and wrong – there was constant drama because I guess deep down inside I maybe like the drama which is very bad. So maybe that’s why he’s really sticking with it. I think deep down he truly loves Walt.

After everything they have been through Jesse still calls him Mr. White. Was that the writers’ choice to write it that way? Did you have any input about it?

Aaron Paul: I think that’s definitely the choice the writers made. He knows him through school and so he constantly just calls him Mr. White, but then there’s that one scene in season two, the one time that he ever called him Walt was when Jesse realized that he almost had the upper hand. He wants to do things his way and is sick and tired of doing things Walt’s way because it’s getting them both into a lot of trouble. Before Walt or Mr. White came around Jesse was happy dime bagging it, just selling dime bags here and there and making a comfortable living. But once Mr. White came around more money was coming into play, but it’s like more money more problems.

How do you think that relationship will evolve in season three because it’s left open and there are so many options?

Aaron Paul: They definitely left it open. I personally think they’re going to move in together and be roommates. [laughs] I think that would be amazing. It ends with Skyler leaving. She’s fed up. She doesn’t know what he’s lying about but she definitely knows he’s lying and that he’s up to something very serious. She’s scared, scared to know. So she’s leaving him. I think that Jesse is now about to get out of rehab and so maybe there’s going to be some sort of scenes while he’s in rehab, trying to deal with being sober. Who knows if Walt’s going to be with Skyler still because the whole plane wreck happens and maybe that brings them back together. I don’t know. Hopefully they’ll be roommates.

I think that would be fun, like, ‘Get up. Let’s cook some meth.’

Aaron Paul: Yeah, exactly and they both…you know Jesse is obviously going to have to have a new place to stay since Jane’s dad is absolutely not going to let him live there anymore nor would he want to. If Walt truly has to leave the house maybe they’ll just go share a studio apartment together and be romantic about it.

How did you create the character of Jesse and is it different portraying him now as compared to season one? Do you have a better grasp on him?

Aaron Paul: Yeah, absolutely. Season one I wasn’t really sure where they were going with Jesse. In season two there was a lot more character development for everybody involved in the show. I think that in season two you see definitely a softer side of Jesse. You see he’s very vulnerable. With the whole love aspect, I love that they brought that in and then they took it away. So who knows where they’re going to go with season three, but I definitely feel like I have a better grasp on who this kid is. I don’t think he’s a bad kid. I think he just got mixed up in the wrong crowd and he’s just doing what he knows. In season two he tried to portray this badass in front of his friends, but he’s not. He’s not a badass kid. He’s just a lost individual trying to find his way.

He gets into some serious trouble with the whole head crushed by the ATM.

Aaron Paul: Oh, my God. When I read that I was like, ‘What? Are you kidding me? You guys are so messed up!’ It’s so messed up. Who knows if Jesse is going to stay clean. I’m sure there’s got to be some sort of relapse thing. I don’t know. I’m so excited. This is such a dream, a dream job, a dream opportunity. Everybody on the set, I’ve been on many different sets and this is truly just like a family and friends environment. I get so excited to go to work and sadly I don’t get to work with many of the other series regulars. I love them all so much. I mainly just get to work with Bryan [Cranston] and some of the other reoccurring cast members. But Bryan, I don’t know if you’ve talked to Bryan but he’s the funniest guy I think I’ve ever met. It’s so crazy him jumping from his role in ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ [to this]. I’ve been such a fan of his for so long and then him jumping into Mr. White/Eisenberg is unbelievable to me and is absolutely inspiring as an actor, to watch him work and work opposite of him. He truly makes me, I definitely feel, a much better actor just being on screen with him.

A lot of the actors I’ve talked to have said that if they could pick a show to guest star on that it would be ‘Breaking Bad’. You’re actually on it, so how does it feel?

Aaron Paul: That is great. Please, come aboard. It’s so nice to be part of a project that you’re actually really proud of because when I first started, just to make ends meet I started doing commercials and small guest stars here and there. A lot of them I really loved, but sometimes I’d be like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe I have to say this –’ or ‘I can’t believe I have to do this show to pay my rent.’ But finally I feel like it’s so nice to be on something that you’re excited about saying you’re involved in. If people watch it, when people see it, too, they like it. They love it and it becomes like an addiction which is crazy. I’m happy that you like it. What did you think about how they tied all the black and white flash forwards with the teddy bear?

I thought it was genius. I thought it was mind blowing.

Aaron Paul: Yeah, I know. When I read the first episode of the second season and I read the pink floating teddy bear, or we first just see an eyeball. It’s scripted that an eyeball is floating in the water, in the pool. I thought, ‘Oh, my God, that has to be Walt’s house, right?’ It gets stuck in the filter and then you see this burnt teddy bear and that’s the end of the teaser. You’re like, ‘What?’ Nothing is explained the first episode and nothing is explained in the second episode and then I think in the third there was another kind of black and white flash forward. I didn’t know what they were doing. I found out I think when we were shooting the fifth or sixth episode how it was going to tie together. I was like, ‘Wait. What? That’s insane.’ But it’s brilliant.

What originally drew you to acting?

Aaron Paul: I’ve been doing…my father is now retired from it, but growing up my father was a Christian Baptist minister. I was always in the church programs and I just was always so excited about doing these plays and I was so obsessed with it. In eighth grade I had my first actual acting class for school. I remember towards the end of the year there was this career day where they had certain people from different careers come and talk to the kids and would go to certain classrooms. But you learned about being a fireman or about being a doctor or a lawyer or whatever. I was really excited looking down the list to find the theater department or the film business, but there was nothing like that there. It kind of bummed me out. I think that’s when I realized, in eighth grade, that people could actually do this for a living. On top of that, for me it’s the funnest thing in the world, just zipping up in a different skin and completely act like someone who’s the polar opposite of yourself. So that’s definitely what drew me in. In high school I started with the theater department there. I was obsessed. I decided to graduate. I took my junior year in one semester and just move out to L.A. and kind of tried to conquer the city. It took me a little bit to get into it, to finally start working, about a year, but then after I started working I just quit my day job and thank God I’ve been working since. I love it.

I think you have a project coming out called ‘Wreckage’. Can you talk about it?

Aaron Paul: Oh, yeah. ‘Wreckage’ is this film that’s great. It’s actually a bunch of friends of mine who are in it together. We did the film together years ago in North Carolina. We all stayed in a beach house right by the water and filmed this little movie out on the stages there. It was a blast. Who knows what’s going to happen with that. They’ve been trying to get it done for so long. Hopefully it’ll see the light of day. I don’t know. It’ll be good.

If you could guest star on any other show on television right now –

Aaron Paul: ‘Lost’. ‘Lost’.

Big ‘Lost’ fan?

Aaron Paul: Hands down ‘Lost’. Don’t say anything. I haven’t seen like the last seven episodes. Someone told me – I was doing an interview for ‘Entertainment Weekly’ and they kind of asked a similar question, if there was a dream job that I’d love to have in TV or film. I said, ‘”Lost”. I would absolutely like to be on “Lost”.’ They were like, ‘Really? Why is that?’ I told them that I was just obsessed with the show and I think that Damon [Lindelof] is just a genius and they asked what character I would like to play. I said, ‘Jacob. Can you imagine if I ended up being Jacob?’ Then he goes, ‘Well, I mean, that’s not possible because they already cast Jacob. We saw Jacob.’ I was like, ‘What?’ He goes, ‘Oh.’ I said, ‘No! I haven’t seen the last seven or eight episodes.’
We were just in New York for The Peabody Awards and ‘Lost’ had won one was well. I had met Damon [Lindelof] before, the creator of ‘Lost’, at the AFI Awards and I went, ‘I’m obsessed with you and your show.’ I ran up to him after the awards and I said, ‘Dude, again, I bow down to you.’ I was literally bowing down to him. He was like, ‘I love that you love the show so much.’ I said, ‘You have no idea. I’ve already called April Webster who’s the casting director.’ I’ve worked with her a few times. I’m like, ‘Listen, I’ll fly myself out to Hawaii. I will put myself up. I just want to be an extra in the background. I will honestly do that.’ I said, ‘April will be telling you this before you start shooting next season.’ He said, ‘You really did that? Maybe we can have you holding a bow and arrow or something.’ I said, ‘That’s fantastic. I will totally do that. Please. I will put myself up. I will do everything. I just want to hang out on set.’ He started laughing and said, ‘You know what, I love your passion for it. We’ll get you something much better than that.’ I said, ‘Fantastic. Good. Lets do it.’

I can see you on the show.

Aaron Paul: Yeah, exactly, and you always see the random background players and you’re like, ‘Who is that?’ You don’t remember them. I’m obsessed with that show. I love that show and I’ll be one those guys. I will totally be one of the guys.

I think I’d like to see you in a bigger part.

Aaron Paul: I mean, I would absolutely love to do that as well, even more so, but I really don’t even care what the role is. I will literally do anything [laughs]. There’s only one season left. One more season. Next season is the last season. So fingers crossed. I think it’s going to be pretty crazy. I’m excited.