Aaron Paul on Smashed, the finale of Breaking Bad and chasing Radiohead around Europe
If you're not already quoting "what the hell, yo?" or "science, bitch!" at the sight of his name, let us introduce you to Aaron Paul. As meth-cooking dropout Jesse Pinkman in Vince Gilligan' Breaking Bad - rightly hailed as one of the Greatest TV Shows Of Our Time - the 33-year-old, Idaho born actor has raked in multiple Emmy nominations and legions of die-hard fans. However, as the AMC series has mystifyingly never successfully made it to these shores (Netflix excluded), he's still largely an unknown here in the UK.
GQ.com: After the success of Breaking Bad, you must have scripts piling up
Aaron Paul: You can tell if you're going to be into a script within the first five or ten pages - if I'm not completely engaged by page 20, I just have to give up on it. But with Smashed, I really could relate with all of these characters from page one. I mean I dated a severe alcoholic on and off for two years. I didn't realise at the beginning of the relationship that she was an alcoholic, then I noticed, "Wow, I am drinking so much more with her than I ever was before." I was young, running around Hollywood, seeing the world, you know? But then I started to slow down - I just couldn't deal with the hangovers - but she just kept going. I started thinking, "I think she might have a problem."
I really liked her, she was a blast to hang around with but super wild and then it got dangerous - her causing accidents and setting her place on fire because she fell asleep drunk one night cooking food. I had to pull her out of her burning apartment! Anyway, that's why I wanted to get involved. We shot the film in 19 days, it was a very intense shoot. We all became very close and we shot it for no money but I've never been more proud of a film before in my life.
I'd heard you and the cast filmed yourself getting drunk to get in character
I did film myself drinking a couple of times and I watched a lot of videos online of wasted people acting like idiots. It's amazing what you can find when you type in "drunk people" on YouTube! But also, [director] James Ponsoldt wanted to take Mary [Elizabeth-Winstead] and I out and get us severely intoxicated. We'd go to a bar and he'd order us shots of tequila. By the time we were done with the shot there would be another one waiting for us. Mary and I decided to just be in character - we started chasing each other around the bar and acting very childish I filmed that all on my phone and James took the phone and filmed us.
You're currently filming the last series of Breaking Bad. How are you feeling about the post-Jesse future? Excited? Nervous
It's a combination of all the above. It's very exciting to be able to just work in this business, let alone on stuff you are extremely proud of. So it does make me a little nervous, because Breaking Bad is so special. It's great being part of something so great because people pay attention to you, hopefully because you're doing good work. You've got to be picky in this business - if you're not, then I don't think you have the option of longevity. You've got to be choosy and try and do something that's outside of the box and dangerous. I love doing stuff that excites me, gives me that adrenalin rush.
Have you read the script for the final episode yet?
No, they're very much still in the writer's room. They haven't written all of it. They forwarded us episode five [of eight], which they have a rough outline of, without any dialogue. I think they've written three episodes. We're shooting the first one right now, we're going to be done on Monday and I just read the second one last night. I have no idea how it's going to end - I do know it's not going to end pretty. It's going to be very violent.
Everyone has their own theory about how it's going to end. Do you have any favourites
There's so many different theories about what's going to happen. I have a bunch of my own theories as well, but you never know - with this show you think it's going in one direction and then it does something totally unexpected. The first episode of the final eight? I wasn't expecting [what happens] whatsoever. I knew it was going to be intense, but I didn't know they were going to…go in this direction - which is really exciting to me. You know, I'm a huge fan of the show as well, so every script I get I really take my time with it. I sit back, have some wine and really marinate with each page. Even though I want to rush through it, because I want to know what happens. But the faster I rush through it, the faster it ends - and I want to make it last as long as possible.
You've just finished filming Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down. Were you excited about working with Pierce Brosnan?
Absolutely. You know, I was a fan of Nick Hornby but I had never read A Long Way Down. So when this offer came out of nowhere and I heard I was attached, then I read it and thought it was just utterly brilliant. I became obsessed with the book, so I was very excited about joining the cast. Pierce could not be a greater guy and Toni [Colette] is absolutely hilarious in it. Imogen Poots who is another UK beauty, is just utterly brilliant. So yeah, it was super fun.
We admired your Burberry suit at American GQ's Men Of The Year party in November. Where do you go for suits
I think it's the best party of the year. I've been a fan of Burberry for a very long time and they've been so supportive of me for many years
You're a massive music fan, what's the best concert you've been to recently
When I was in London I followed Radiohead around - I went to both their concerts at the O2. Then I took the train to Paris, met up with my friend Vida and saw them at there as well. Seeing Radiohead in Paris is pretty magical…
Smashed is out now.
Prayer circle for Jesse.