Aaron Paul promotes his Netflix film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, in Los Angeles.(Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP)
Aaron Paul thought the ending of Breaking Bad was ‘perfect’. The actor, who played the drug-dealing Jesse Pinkman in the acclaimed television series, told Hindustan Times that he ‘didn’t have any desire to know what happened to Jesse’ after the events shown in the series, which ended in 2013.
But on October 11, Netflix released El Camino, an unexpected follow-up to Breaking Bad, which provided Pinkman’s story with closure that not too many fans, including Paul, even knew they needed. “I thought, from beginning to end, that entire series was almost flawless. I loved that it left it open, and everyone around the world had their own ideas about what happened to Jesse, and that in itself was perfect,” Paul said.
The actor said that over the years, he found himself imagining where Pinkman would be and, funnily enough, the story he came up with saw Pinkman escaping to live a quiet life in Alaska, which is what happens in El Camino. “I just always visualised him to have made his way out to a small town in Alaska, believe it or not. I always thought that he would need to find some sort of peace and quiet to finally get some sort of freedom. Having said that, he’s going to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life. He’s done some bad things.”
Through the course of the series, which ran for five universally acclaimed seasons on AMC from 2008 to 2013, the high school dropout Jesse Pinkman, together with his mild-mannered chemistry teacher Walter White, went from small-time drug dealers to creating the largest meth empire in the United States.
Mr White, as he used to call him, dies in the series finale of Breaking Bad; his final act being one of selflessness, when he helps Pinkman escape his villainous captors. White returns in El Camino in a flashback scene, along with several other fan-favourite characters.
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, and Bryan Cranston as Walter White in a still from El Camino.
Paul said that he ‘had a hunch’ that writer-director Vince Gilligan would find a way to bring the iconic anti-hero back. He said, “When Vince told me that he was finished with the script and I was heading over to his office to read it, I had a hunch that Walter White was somehow going to make it in this movie. I knew that he was dead, and if he was going to show up in the film, I knew it would be in a flashback. And when you start the script, the film starts with a flashback, so I was just patiently waiting in his office for that scene to arrive.”
The scene between White and Pinkman was reportedly shot in secret, with the crew’s family doubling up as extras to avoid plot leaks. Indeed, the entire film had completed production before it was even announced. Paul said that his reaction to reading the El Camino script for the first time wasn’t unlike his initial response to reading the script for Felina, which is often regarded as one of the finest series finales of all time. He said, “What Vince did with this script was so beautiful and he approached it with such caution and care.”
That being said, Paul said he thought he’d bid ‘goodbye to this guy years ago, and here we are’. He added, “We’re in a very beautiful place, and El Camino is such a love letter to Breaking Bad fans, to Jesse Pinkman.” The actor thought over the years that he might be called in to reprise his role as Pinkman in Better Call Saul, a spin-off of the show that also airs on AMC in the US, and on Netflix in India. But as the story of that show progressed, he realised Pinkman’s re-introduction was becoming unlikely.
“I’ve trusted Vince for so many years now,” Paul said, when asked if there’s more to Pinkman’s story, and if he would be willing to play the character again some day. He said, “(Vince) would only do it if there was a purpose behind it, and if he knew there was a great story to be told. And if he approached me I would jump at the opportunity to work with him again, in this world, absolutely.”
First Published: Oct 19, 2019 11:56 IST