Aaron Paul is in an enviable position for any actor. He's just wrapped up a major artistic accomplishment with the conclusion of "Breaking Bad," and now he's got room to choose what it is he wants to do next, and how he wants to further define himself. No matter what he does, Jesse Pinkman will always be one of the key things we know him for, and as defining roles go, that's a winner.
By now, it's clear that Paul is particularly gifted at playing a sort of weepy rage. He does this sort of shaky fury better than anyone working right now, and the writers of "Breaking Bad" took full advantage of that over the years. Part of the reason that show was so good is because they really understood the strengths of their cast and how to play to them.
In "Need For Speed," there are a few key scenes where that weepy rage comes into play, and in those moments, it's hard not to see the shadow of Jesse Pinkman.
When I sat down to talk to Paul about his new film, I had to ask him if he's starting to feel a sort of phantom limb syndrome for "Breaking Bad," waiting to go back to work on the new season. There's a rhythm to life when you're on a television show, and it must be strange to have your schedule get redefined to such a major degree after so many years of having to build things around your hiatus.
I asked him how he's feeling about the end of the series and whether or not he's fully adjusted to this new phase of his life kicking off, and I think it's pretty clear from his answer that he has been able to conclusively wrap up this phase of things, and that he's excited about the future and about new challenges. It would be hard to be a fan of "Breaking Bad" and not wish good things for Paul, and I'm genuinely curious to see where he heads from here.
We'll have more on "Need For Speed" soon, including our review of the film.
"Need For Speed" opens in theaters