'Breaking Bad's' Young Gun: Exclusive Portraits of Aaron Paul
9:00 AM PDT 9/18/2013 by THR Staff
Nominated again for his work as Jesse Pinkman on AMC's hit series, the youngest two-time Emmy winner for best drama actor will next appear in DreamWorks' "Need for Speed" in 2014 -- but not before saying "Hey, bitch!" in "Breaking Bad's" final episode on Sept. 29. Photographed by Ramona Rosales.
At 34, Aaron Paul is arguably still a kid in the annals of television greats. But even the giants of drama series acting -- think Ed Asner, James Earl Jones, Peter Falk, James Gandolfini -- can’t touch the achievement of the Breaking Bad actor, who is the youngest two-time drama actor winner (supporting or lead) in history.
'A Crying Mess'
It's a mantle that the Emmett, Idaho, native wears with bewildered modesty. "I'm honestly still on a cloud from being nominated the first year!" says Paul, recalling the 2009 morning he went to co-star Bryan Cranston's house to do publicity calls. "I was a crying mess all day."
And then to beat his own favorite contender, co-star Giancarlo Esposito, in 2012 for his second supporting actor win? "It was an out-of-body experience," he says. "An embarrassment of riches."
Saying Goodbye to Jesse Pinkman
Paul, who will next be seen in the DreamWorks racing actioner Need for Speed in 2014, is prepping for Bad’s bittersweet final episode, which airs Sept. 29, and is unabashedly sentimental about saying goodbye to his alter ego, Jesse Pinkman.
"I love the kid! I lived and breathed every moment of his existence," says Paul. "I'll miss everything about him — even his bedazzled shirts."
Paul's Solitary Wish
As for this year's ceremony, where he's a supporting actor nominee again, Paul has a solitary wish. "I want a drama series win so badly for Vince [Gilligan]," says Paul of his nine-time nominated but never-lauded showrunner. "To see him win would be the highlight of my life."
Before Breaking Bad's final episode airs Sept. 29, Paul will join fellow castmembers Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, Bob Odenkirk and R.J. Mitte on the Sept. 23 episode of Conan, making it the first time the group will appear together on a talk show.
'The Price Is Right' Contestant
Before becoming a TV star, an overly enthusiastic Paul was a contestant on The Price Is Right, where he met former host Bob Barker and shouted, "You're the man, Bob! You're my idol!" Footage from the episode, which aired 14 years ago, has gone viral.
When asked if people come up to him and say "Hey, bitch!" Paul wrote, "Yes, I get called 'bitch' on a daily basis, and yes, I do think I'll get called 'bitch' on a daily basis for years to come. But to be honest, I don't really mind because I like being called 'bitch.' "
Surprising Fans Outside His Home
In July, Paul surprised an Irish family on a bus tour of stars' homes. "Sometimes I see the van, and sometimes I don't. And when I do, I try to say hello," Paul told the McNeive family in a video posted on YouTube.
The 'Best Episode'
The Hollywood Reporter's chief TV critic Tim Goodman agreed with Vince Gilligan when the Breaking Bad creator told the TV Fanatic website before the premiere of episode 14, "Ozymandias," that it was "the best episode we ever had or ever will have."
Despite having some very dark moments, the cast of Breaking Bad was known for having fun on set -- especially Paul.
"There were periods toward the end of the day when people would get the giggles. Aaron Paul had the giggles the most," co-star Laura Frasersays.
'Need for Speed' Star
Paul will appear in DreamWorks' upcoming video game adaptation Need for Speed. In the flick, Paul will play a blue-collar mechanic named Toby Marshall who teams up with a wealthy ex-NASCAR driver (Dominic Cooper) in hopes of saving his struggling garage.
UPDATED: The sequel, which took in $27.7 million on Friday, is pacing well ahead of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," which debuted to $54.8 million in August 2011; Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" soars at the specialty box office. Watch video