Back in 2007, Aaron Paul was a no name actor serving as a forgotten extra in films and television shows. On top of that, he was still driving around an old junker. According to Paul, “My first car was a ’82 Toyota Corolla. Gold-ish color. Stick shift. Anytime it rained, the truck would fill up with water. [laughs] But I love that car, so much…”
In those early days, some of Paul’s more impressive roles were “The Wasted Guy” in Van Wilder and a number of other “Hustler Characters” in various television shows. Actually, at this time, a case could be made that Paul’s most enduring pop culture moment came on an episode of The Price is Right.
Then, in 2008, Paul’s life changed in an instant when he landed the role of Jesse Pinkman on cable television’s newest and most innovative debut show, Breaking Bad. Originally, Pinkman was going to be a bit character, killed off at the end of season 1. However, show creator Vince Gilligan couldn’t do it; Paul had brought a secondary character to life, making him vital to the future of the show.
Gilligan says, “My intention was that at the end of season one, Jesse would die horribly, which would make Walt feel really guilty and force him to question his criminality. But it became clear to me that Aaron Paul was an absolute asset to the show.”
For five seasons, Paul rocked the Jesse Pinkman character, earning two Emmy wins along the way. When the show finally ended, Paul felt like a part of him had died. He says, “I miss him terribly, I really do. For the past six years, I’ve been breathing through his skin. It was the roughest day of my career, my final day of shooting on Breaking Bad, knowing that I will never be able to kind of zip on that skin again.”
However, the Emmy wins and the popularity of the show have eased that blow by opening up countless opportunities for the young, budding star. Currently, he is considered one of Hollywood’s hottest young prospects and is scheduled to begin works on a slew films that will also star Christian Bale, Kate Winslet, and Russell Crowe.
But even more exciting is the fact that today marks the day of Paul’s first blockbuster film, Need for Speed. This film, of course, is an adaptation of the wildly successful video game, and Paul is extremely excited for the opportunity. He’s also over the moon that he has gone from a ’82 Corolla to the 2014 Ford Mustang, which serves as his co-star in the upcoming film.
Paul says, “From the moment the sun starts peeking up, I am there all day long, learning how to maneuver [the Mustang]. It started out learning how to get out of problematic situations, and then I got to learn how to do all the fun stuff: driving the car backward at really high speeds, flipping the car around in a reverse 180 and going through stunt courses. It was so much fun, I loved every minute of it, it never felt dangerous.”