There is no doubt that a duo is a powerful component of a TV series plot and audience engagement, regardless of whether they are polar opposites or complementary. In Breaking Bad, this scenario thrived to immense success. In this American crime drama, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul play a drug-making duo, the former a terminally ill teacher, the latter one of his former students.
Breaking Bad is a show like no other, harmonising gritty and thrilling crime with sentimental and dynamic moments of raw humanity. The series was created by Vince Gilligan and debuted on January 20th, 2008, to 1.41 million viewers who would later fall in love with the show, pushing it to the reigns as one of the greatest TV series ever.
With brilliant writing and sharp direction, Breaking Bad offers some vibrant and immersive performances by its cast. Paul’s performance as Jesse Pinkman earned him several accolades, including the Critics’ Choice Television Award for ‘Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series’, Satellite Award for ‘Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries, or Television Film,’ and Primetime Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.’
Speaking to The Guardian in 2019, the actor opened up about what the legendary role meant and did for his career. “A lot of people will always see me as Jesse, and I take that as a compliment,” Paul said. “The show was a game changer.”
The star added: “At the beginning of my career I was not great. Even at the beginning of Breaking Bad – I was OK, I got the job. But I grew so much as an actor. Everyone saw it.”
However, his audition for the life-changing part was far from plain sailing. The actor reportedly dropped a line during the process from how nervous he was, causing him to leave the audition room convinced he had messed the opportunity up.
“Oh my god, I just fucked this up! And so, I walk out and I’m just biting my nails ’cause I was desperate. I mean, I really have no money. I don’t have any money,” Paul revealed, according to Acting Magazine. “And so, it wasn’t just that I was in love with the material (for Breaking Bad). I also had to have this happen.”
A beacon of hope came with a personal connection with the show’s creator helped the star overcome his unimpressive initial read and saved his career. Gilligan took such a liking to Paul that he insisted on him getting the role of Jesse Pinkman even though none of the other decision-makers wanted him.
From this, the actor has starred on television shows, like HBO’s Westworld and in movies, including Need for Speed and reprised his role as Jesse Pinkman for the Netflix Original El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.
Watch Paul’s Breaking Bad audition below.