DON’T DO METH
. . . and other things one avid fan learned from Aaron Paul, star of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.
I’ve been engrossed by Aaron Paul’s iconic portrayal of the meth-dealing, “bitch”-shouting bad boy Jesse Pinkman since I watched him tumble half-naked from a roof in the very first episode of Breaking Bad. It’s been six years since the series drew to a close, and Jesse Pinkman is finally back. In El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, writer-director Vince Gilligan revisits the world of his multi-award-winning series to create a thrilling, thoughtful tale of survival and redemption.The film serves as a kind of introspective epilogue to the show — one punctuated by moments of explosive drama — that answers unresolved questions about the young partner of late drug kingpin Walter White (Bryan Cranston). As it happens, circumstances haven’t been kind to Jesse. In desperation, he turns to some old friends for support. Through his own resourcefulness and sheer force of will, he eventually gathers enough cash to pursue a new life on the Alaskan frontier. A dream of mine came true when I was asked to conduct a phone interview with Paul. The three-time Emmy Award winner is one of my longtime heroes. When he greeted me with a friendly “Alexander!” I briefly forgot that this was, in fact, my name. Alexander Welsh: Hello?
Were you always waiting for a call from Vince?
AP: No. No, not at all. I said goodbye to this character six years ago, you know?
There’s a lot of blood on his hands.”
Do you feel that the film represents a rebirth of sorts for Jesse?
AP: Maybe so. Because the very final frame of the film is him driving away. Such an opposite end of the spectrum to when he drove away in the final frame of his journey in Breaking Bad. He’s finally found some sort of inner peace, but I think there’s a bumpy road ahead for him. I mean, he was responsible for murders, and he was a part of the biggest meth operation in history.
I noticed a few Easter eggs relating to Breaking Bad. Do you have a personal favorite?
AP: Oh, man. I mean, I love the obsession that Todd [Jesse Plemons] has with Lydia [Laura Fraser]. I don’t know if you noticed, but one of those snow globes in Todd’s room contained little floating hearts with Todd and Lydia inside it. That was a great little tip of the hat.
Watch El Camino:
A Breaking Bad Movie
on Netflix now.