Breaking Bad is often thought of as one of the most significant TV shows of all time, and it showed the brilliance of Aaron Paul to the world for the first time. Paul’s performance as Jesse Pinkman, a troubled but good-hearted drug addict and dealer, was one the proved his quality as an actor and amazed audiences across the globe.
Along with Bryan Cranston, who played cancer-ridden chemistry teacher turned meth cook Walter White, Paul helped to weave one of the most interesting and dangerous narratives that television as a medium had seen in some time, and it remains a touchstone of 21st-century storytelling.
While Breaking Bad is indeed acclaimed, it’s also something of a harrowing watch, and Paul learned well the kind of torturous life and problems that his character was going through as an addict and meth cook. He once named the most difficult scene to shoot of his entire career, and it came straight from one of the most harrowing moments of Breaking Bad.
The scene in question sees Jesse find the dead body of his girlfriend Jane (played by Krysten Ritter). At the end of the previous episode, Walter sees Jane choke on her own vomit while she is high on heroin, but seeing as she has previously blackmailed him, he ignores her plea for help and lets her die in front of him.
The following day, Jesse finds Jane’s dead body and calls Walter for help, not knowing that he is partly responsible for her death. Eventually, Mike Ehrmantraut is sent over to clean up the mess and take any heat or suspicion off Jesse for Jane’s death. Paul once admitted to the distress that the scene caused him.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Paul explained, “Emotionally, that was the hardest place to go to. It was not a fun day. Playing Jesse, I don’t draw upon any of my past experiences; I just try to force myself to believe what’s actually happening. That is why that scene was so rough,”
The actor had also told The Independent, “I think the scene that just had such an emotional toll on me was where he’s trying to revive Jane. That was so hard on me. That was pretty brutal. I went to a place that day. It was hard for her as well. I remember one take, when they yelled ‘Cut’, I just – I was so devastated that I just couldn’t come back from it.”
Check out the heartbreaking scene below.