The lion’s share of the attention on “Breaking Bad” goes to star Bryan Cranston, who has won two consecutive Emmys for his lead role and is up for a third this year. But the series wouldn’t be what it is without the interplay between Cranston and Aaron Paul, who earned his second straight Emmy nod this year for best supporting actor in a drama.
Zap2it chatted with Paul this week about his Emmy nomination, where the series left his character, Jesse Pinkman, at the end of the season and what he hopes to see in Season 4. Highlights from conversation are below — and it includes some talk about the final episodes of Season 3, so if you’re still catching up, be warned.
Zap2it: What does it mean to you to be nominated?
Aaron Paul: I’m so grateful — first of all I just love that I’m working in this business, and secondly that I’m working on a show that I’m so unbelievably passionate about. And the people that watch it, they love it, you know? It’s really dark, but people love the darkness.
Which episode did you submit for the Emmys?
I submitted “Half Measure” [the penultimate episode of Season 3]. It’s the episode where at the end … Walt [Cranston] shoots the guy in the head.
Why did you choose that one?
You saw Jesse go through a bunch of different emotions. He had just found out in the episode prior who organized his friend’s death, forced a little kid to do it. So you first see Jesse trying to convince Walt to get a hold of ricin for him, because he wants to poison these guys. Then he’s like, “Fine — if you don’t understand it, I can’t convince you. I’m gonna do this on my own.” Then he tries to convince Wendy [Julia Minesci] to feed them hamburgers with this drug in it [laughs] — and then he makes the decision to do it. He’s just gonna go out guns blazing. It’s pretty intense.
I wanted to ask about a couple specific episodes this season. First of all, “Fly” — what was it like shooting with just you and Bryan for the entire episode?
I loved it, man. It felt like a play. We were on one set for 98 percent of the time … it was so much fun. The director, Rian Johnson, was brilliant, and I love Bryan, I love working with him. This season they kind of kept the characters separate for the first half, and that’s really when they brought them back [together]. It was one of the most fun episodes I’ve done.
And the finale was obviously huge for Jesse. Where do you think it will leave him?
How we ended the third season — it’s a loss of innocence. Jesse was stating from the very beginning of the season that he was a bad guy. Maybe he didn’t necessarily believe it, but he was trying to convince himself of that, because he’s blaming himself for his girlfriend’s death. … So the entire season he had that guilt, that burden on him. I think at the end, Walt pretty much saved his life, and he thought he owed Walt that same favor. He had to do it. Who knows where it’s going to go, though — I always think it’s going in a certain direction, and it just doesn’t.
Is there anything you’d like to see happen in the future?
Aw, man — I want Gus [Giancarlo Esposito] to go down! [laughs]
You and everyone else.
Yeah. But Giancarlo — he’s brilliant. He’s so subtle and quiet and menacing. I also don’t want him to go down, because I want him around. Who knows, man? I have no idea. I just want Jesse to continue to breathe.
Below a scene from Paul’s Emmy episode, “Half Measure,” ending with the action he describes above.
Photo credit: Getty Images