August 2, 2021

Aaron Paul reveals what it was like to return to the Breaking Bad universe

By DAVE ITZKOFF

Almost six years ago, viewers of Breaking Bad watched the final episode of the series, in which drug lord Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) came out of hiding and sacrificed his life to rescue his once-partner, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), from a gang of the Aryan Brotherhood. When White died in a meth lab and the credits began, audiences believed that it might be the last time they would see many of these characters.

But it turns out that the Breaking Bad story isn’t over.

Netflix announced on August 25 that it will release a new film, which will focus on Pinkman, the nervous meth “cook” played by Paul and who last appeared on the series as he was speeding in a Chevrolet El Camino car on the road. a stranger.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie was written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of the original series, and it will be available on Netflix starting October 11. In the United States, the film is also expected to air on cable channel AMC, where the series was originally shown from 2008 to 2013.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.

“It’s an episode of Breaking Bad that I didn’t realize I wanted,” Paul said in an interview. “And now that I have it, I am very happy that it exists.”

Netflix distributed the shortest possible synopsis of El Camino: “After his dramatic escape, Jesse must come to terms with his past to forge some kind of future.”

In the interview, Paul commented that he was forbidden to reveal anything else about what happens in the film. What he did say is that, like fans of the show, he too believed he had said goodbye to the world of Breaking Bad when the television series concluded.

“It was difficult, very emotional for all of us,” recalled Paul. “When we did the final chapter, we got together, we hugged and said goodbye. And that was it”.

Paul said of his final on-screen appearance as Pinkman: “I loved the way Jesse flies out of the gates of the Nazi compound. Scream and cry. You have so many emotions running through your body. And then he disappears from the screen and we don’t know any more about him ”.

However, Paul said that about two years ago he received a phone call from Gilligan, supposedly to discuss plans to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the premiere of Breaking Bad.

“Near the end of the conversation,” Paul recounted, “he mentioned that he had an idea of ​​how to continue the story, and he wanted to hear my opinion on it. I immediately told Vince that I would follow him even if he threw himself off a cliff. “

Breaking Bad.

Breaking Bad.

Paul commented that he finds it understandable that audiences are wary of going back to the conclusion of Breaking Bad, the latest episode of which remains one of the few well-received in the age of modern television. (There is a derived series, Better Call Saul, what stars Bob Odenkirk, but sticks to the origin story of the character of Saul Goodman, before Walter White appeared on his path).

However, Paul mentioned that all possible doubts were dispelled when he finished reading Gilligan’s script for El Camino.

“I couldn’t speak for thirty or sixty seconds,” he recalled. “I stayed in my world. Being the guy who plays the guy, I was happy that Vince wanted to take me with him on this path. “

As with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, El Camino’s production took place in and around Albuquerque. In 2018, local newspapers like the Albuquerque Journal heard a rumor that a movie under the codename Greenbrier was being filmed and immediately deduced that it was linked to Breaking Bad.

However, Paul said that by the time the outlet found out about the project, “the movie had already been shot and it was canned. It was finished ”.

The actor commented that at the time, if someone asked him what he was doing during that time, his response was, “’I’m making a small, independent film in New Mexico,’ and that was it. Nobody questioned it. “

He added: “There were definitely people who asked, ‘Are you going to be on Better Call Saul?’ And I’d say, ‘I wish. That production is now on hiatus. ‘

It would be reasonable to wonder if El Camino will reunite him with other outstanding former members of the Breaking Bad cast like Cranston, Odenkirk, Krysten Ritter or Jonathan Banks. However, Paul said, once again, that he had to keep quiet on the subject.

“All I can say is that it seems to me that people will be very happy with what they see,” he explained.

These days, Paul has many professional secrets to keep: he will also appear in the third season of Westworld, the science fiction series of HBO, in a role he still couldn’t speak about.

Asked if he had ever had to keep silent about so many things at the same time in his career, Paul replied: “Not at all, but I like it”.

Dave Itzkoff is a culture reporter. His most recent book, Robin, A Biography of Robin Williams, was published in May. @ditzkoff

c. 2019 The New York Times Company

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