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It may sound incredibly strange to hear that Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul had a hard time finding movie roles after it ended, but that’s exactly what happened. One movie role Aaron Paul didn’t have trouble finding is the one role that only he could play, as he returns to the character of Jesse Pinkman in Netflix’s El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Following his struggles to find movie roles, El Camino provided a great opportunity, as Aaron Paul explained:
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 Vince wanted to do, she threw her arms around me. She knew it was an opportunity for me to spread my wings again.
Aaron Paul had some trying times career-wise that he had to get past, so when Breaking Bad creator and El Camino writer-director Vince Gilligan came to him with the follow-up movie, it was the right opportunity at the right time. As Aaron Paul recalled to IndieWire, his wife was incredibly excited for him and knew that El Camino would give him the chance to once again show what he is capable of as an actor in a creatively rewarding way.
It seems to have been incredibly gratifying for Aaron Paul to be able to return to Jesse after being away from him for so long and struggling to transition from television star to movie star. That transition at one point seemed like a foregone conclusion for the actor. Aaron Paul won multiple Emmys for his role in what is widely considered to be one of the greatest television shows of all time.
Because of Breaking Bad’s success, the world was Aaron Paul’s oyster and he had no trouble finding movie roles. That is until a few notable failures changed things, as the actor explained:
You do one commercial film that’s not the success they think it’s going to be, and you’re damned.
Aaron Paul doesn’t specify what movie he is talking about, but there are a couple of possibilities. The first high-profile commercial film in his post-Breaking Bad career was the action film/video game adaptation Need for Speed. A critical dud, that $66 million film managed an unremarkable $203 million worldwide.
Aaron Paul also had a role in Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, which was a critical and commercial flop. Neither of these disappointments is necessarily his fault, but as Aaron Paul alludes to, he felt damned. He was in these unsuccessful films and instead of looking at the film’s respective shortcomings, maybe some people were conflating him with their failures, resulting in him having a hard time finding movie roles.
After going through that rough patch following Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul seems excited to revisit Jesse Pinkman in El Camino. The movie will follow the events of Breaking Bad’s climactic series finale and Jesse’s escape from captivity. Although he’s no longer in a cage, judging by the trailers for El Camino, Jesse is anything but free and will have to fight to finally have a life worth living.
It remains to be seen whether the Netflix movie will result in any sort of increased prospects for the actor on the big screen, but even if it doesn’t he still has a bright future on the small screen where he made his name. Aaron Paul joins HBO’s Westworld for Season 3 next year, and he is also starring in Apple TV+’s Truth Be Told opposite Oscar winner Octavia Spencer.