The Mean Prank Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston Continually Pulled On Aaron Paul

If you’re playing one of television’s most charismatic aggressors, it helps if your personality is at least partially sadistic in nature. And Walter White portrayer Bryan Cranston certainly has a lighthearted villainous streak running through him, as he used to take advantage of co-star Aaron Paul’s gullibility by having him think his time on Breaking Bad was in constant jeopardy. Just call him Haha-senberg.

Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan recently took part in a Reddit AMA, and in the middle of fielding questions for Better Call Saul and how he’s affected by his shows’ fandom, he was asked who the biggest prankster was on the set of the hit AMC show. Here’s his answer.

Probably Bryan Cranston. He loved to tease Aaron Paul mercilessly. This came about after I told Aaron Paul early in the series that I had planned to kill off his character. From then on, every time a new script came out, Bryan would hurry to read it first so he could put on a sorrowful face and say to Aaron, ‘Gee buddy, I’m so sorry. You’re going out with a bang, at least.’ And Aaron, God bless him, seemed to fall for it every time.

So rude, yet so very amusing. One of the best decisions in TV history was allowing Paul’s character Jesse to live on past the first season, as he and his relationship with Walt were integral to the series’ success, both narratively and emotionally. And one of the best decisions on TV set history was Cranston refusing to let Paul forget that his time in fictional Albuquerque was never to be taken for granted.

I expect that Paul went off and had this reaction every time Cranston pulled that prank, assuming he wasn’t just playing along to make Cranston feel superior.


It’s a legitimate reaction to fear being killed off of a TV series. Hell, Bob “Saul Goodman” Odenkirk revealed that he was always shocked to see that his character lived through each episode, which allowed for the glorious prequel Better Call Saul. Luckily, should Paul ever find his way to that follow-up series, he can at least take comfort in knowing he’ll live through every appearance.

Gilligan also took a moment in the AMA to talk about his least favorite prank, involving people mimicking a famous Breaking Bad scene by throwing pizza on the house used as the White family home. He still wants people to quit that shit. So quit that shit.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.