Why Aaron Paul Struggled To Land A Successful Movie Role After Breaking Bad

Why Aaron Paul Struggled To Land A Successful Movie Role After Breaking Bad


He was the heart of perhaps the greatest television
drama of all time – but that hasn’t translated to big screen stardom. In a recent sitdown with Vulture, Aaron Paul
– star of the AMC TV series Breaking Bad and its upcoming sequel film, El Camino: A Breaking
Bad Movie – offered a little insight as to why he hasn’t popped up more often in feature
films, and why he’s not likely to in the future. Paul recalled that, in the wake of the wild
popularity of Breaking Bad and his subsequent stardom, he was eager to parlay his success
into starring roles in other projects, whether on the big screen or small – and he was in
no way hurting for opportunities. He confessed: “I was so spoiled at the height of Breaking
Bad. I was being offered everything.” After Breaking Bad ended in 2013, he starred
in several smaller, independent features, though they did little to raise his profile. Paul’s chance to make a splash in a big, expensive
blockbuster came his way in 2014, when he appeared in the lead role in the video game
adaptation Need For Speed. Unfortunately, the flick failed to jump-start
Paul’s movie career. It underperformed at the box office and was
savaged by critics, and his next big studio effort – the Ridley Scott-helmed biblical
epic Exodus: Gods and Kings – didn’t fare much better. It simply seemed that Paul’s acting style
– all barely contained emotion, with worlds of subtext plainly visible in his soulful,
expressive eyes – was much better suited for the small screen, and he also appeared to
thrive the most when his characters were given the room to breathe and grow afforded by the
serial format. His next television effort, in the lead role
in the Hulu original series The Path, drew critical accolades for his performance – but
the creative minds behind the series weren’t quite as focused as those responsible for
Breaking Bad, and Hulu axed the show after three seasons. Paul continued to surface in indie features
and smaller major studio productions, but he continually ran up against the same problem:
casting directors who seemed to think that they were securing the services of Jesse Pinkman,
rather than Aaron Paul. Exhibit A: the 2016 Dwayne Johnson/Kevin Hart
comedy Central Intelligence, in which Paul’s character makes frequent use of a certain
five-letter “B” word with which Pinkman was known to pepper every other sentence. “I’ll give you three seconds to get your ass
out here. One… Two… “This is my own private domicile and I will
not be harassed… b—-!” Eventually, the phone calls from the big studios
became fewer and further between, due to the perception that Paul couldn’t carry a major
Hollywood production on his own. The actor explained: “You do one commercial film that’s not the
success they think it’s going to be, and you’re damned.” Fortunately, Paul had found plenty of space
to flex his creative muscles as the voice of the eternally cheerful yet deceptively
complex Todd Chavez on the Netflix animated series BoJack Horseman, and roles in smaller
features – such as Zack Whedon’s 2016 thriller Come and Find Me and Jake Scott’s 2018 drama
American Woman – have kept him busy. We’ll be seeing him on the small screen early
and often in the months to come, starting with a triumphant return to his signature
role in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, an opportunity which presented itself directly
after his agent had discouraged him from taking a role in a feature that went on to become,
quote, “a monster, monster hit.” Paul declined to name said feature. Paul said of that experience: “There were some big thorns in my side that
I had to let go. My wife knew all of this was going on, so
when I told her what [Breaking Bad creator] Vince [Gilligan] wanted to do, she threw her
arms around me. She knew it was an opportunity for me to spread
my wings again.” Breaking Bad fans absolutely cannot wait to
see Paul saddle up as Jesse Pinkman one more time, and while it’s almost certainly the
last we’ll ever see of Pinkman, we’re going to be seeing plenty of Paul. He can currently be seen in one of those small
indie thrillers, The Parts You Lose, as a violent fugitive who forges an unlikely friendship
with a deaf youngster – but he seems most excited about his involvement in the upcoming
third season of HBO’s Westworld, in which he’ll play a role that’s shrouded in secrecy. As far as big-budget features are concerned,
however, Paul appears to have had his fill of that world. He said: “I can’t live with that pressure on me, nor
will I. I’m happy.” We can only hope that Pinkman will be able
to say the same at the conclusion of his story. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie premieres
on Netflix on October 11. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite
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