"Breaking Bad" Star Aaron Paul Talks "El Camino;" "Game of Thrones" & "Veep" Finales; "Westworld" Update [VIDEO]
After months of rumors, mindless speculation, and several instances of serious misdirection, Breaking Bad fans finally received the news they were waiting for: Vince Gilligan is returning to tell one more (???) tale with El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Written and directed by Gilligan and set to premiere on Netflix on October 11 (and in select movie theaters, with AMC airing the film at a later date), the film focuses on what happened to Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) after the credits rolled on "Felina" and asks an important question: will Jesse be a victim of the past, or can he carve out a new future for himself?
Considering the film is expected to drop its official trailer during Sunday's Emmy Awards (more on that below), it's only fitting that Paul would take time on the red carpet during Emmy Nominees Night 2019 to open up about… Game of Thrones, Veep, and Westworld???
To be fair, Paul did tell The Hollywood Reporter that he was relieved to finally be able to discuss the project – but it was his thoughts on those other shows that caught our ears and eyeballs:
● While admitting that it's "almost impossible to nail the landing" (though Breaking Bad did), Paul was impressed with both the wrap-up to HBO's Veep ("It just got out-of-control hilarious") and had this to say about the ending to Game of Thrones: "I thought they did an amazing job with Game of Thrones. It was a nice send-off."
● As for progress on the third season of Westworld, Paul revealed that they are currently working on the season finale and should wrap in the beginning of October:
● Paul is also excited about his upcoming thriller-drama for Apple TV+, Truth Be Told. Starring Octavia Spencer and Lizzy Caplan, the series was one of the first projects to begin filming under the new streamer's banner and will debut with Apple's new streaming service in November.
The thriller drama series starring Octavia Spencer and Lizzy Caplan had been known as Are You Sleeping. From Chernin Entertainment/Endeavor Content and Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine, the series is created and written by Nichelle Tramble Spellman and based on Kathleen Barber's true-crime novel and offers a glimpse into America's obsession with true-crime podcasts.
Spencer stars as Poppy Parnell, a relentless investigative reporter who looks to uncover the truth behind a decades-old questionable murder verdict through her new podcast. Aaron Paul, Elizabeth Perkins, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Beach, Katherine LaNasa, Tracie Thoms, Haneefah Wood and Ron Cephas Jones co-star.
With the film rumored to be dropping an official trailer this Sunday (more on that below), Netflix is giving fans a look behind the scenes at Paul and Gilligan on set with an image that Breaking Bad fans will appreciate:
Pretty safe to say we've seen Jesse's look somewhere before…
With less than a month to go before the sequel film's premiere – and only days before the release of the official trailer during the Emmy Awards on September 22 – Gilligan and Paul set down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk all things El Camino.
Here are some of our takeaways – make sure to check out the entire article here:
● Gilligan is featuring more than 10 characters from the Breaking Bad universe that viewers will know – with Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger (Matt L. Jones) the two that we know of – so far…
● The seeds of El Camino began even before Breaking Bad ended its run, beginning with the basic question that would serve as the foundation for the project:
"I didn't really tell anybody about it, because I wasn't sure I would ever do anything with it. But I started thinking to myself, 'What happened to Jesse?' You see him driving away. And to my mind, he went off to a happy ending. But as the years progressed, I thought, 'What did that ending — let's just call it an ending, neither happy, nor sad — what did it look like?'"
● If you're new to Breaking Bad, then you better start binging now to be ready for when the movie drops on October 11. Gilligan wants to make it clear that the film if for the fans who've been along for the ride – there won't be a lot of "teachable moments" to explain the action:
"If, after 12 years, you haven't watched Breaking Bad, you're probably not going to start now. If you do, I hope that this movie would still be engaging on some level, but there's no doubt in my mind that you won't get as much enjoyment out of it. We don't slow down to explain things to a non-Breaking Bad audience. I thought early on in the writing of the script, 'Maybe there's a way to have my cake and eat it too. Maybe there's a way to explain things to the audience.' If there was a way to do that, it eluded me."
● Having a bigger budget to work with meant Gilligan and Better Caul Saul DP Marshall Adam got to film on an ARRI Alexa 65, the same camera used for The Revenant – and in a 2.39 wide-screen format. While most of the film's 50-day shoot was spent as some very familiar Albuquerque stomping grounds, the crew was also able to take advantage of some out-of-state locations.
● Paul appreciated what the role of Jesse Pinkman and the series overall did for him personally and profesionally – and he also appreciated being able to finally say goodbye to such a heavy character. So why did he decide to come back – especially after feeling satisfied with the way the series wrapped? Simple: "In Vince He Trusts"…
"I'm like everybody else on the planet — I think Vince and the rest of the writers really nailed the landing with the ending of Breaking Bad, and why mess with that? But it's Vince we're talking about. I would follow Vince into a fire. That's how much I trust the man. I would do anything that he asked me to."
● So did it take long for Paul to get back into the zone? Let's just say it sounds like it took longer for you to read this sentence…
"It was so easy for me to just jump into where Jesse's at mentally, emotionally, because I lived and breathed everything he went through and then some, and so, honestly, it felt like a part of me had gone through that as well. All I had to do was just memorize these words and then play them out when they yelled 'action.'"
● Gilligan offered a surprising clue about his professional future: he plans to develop another series after Better Call Saul – just don't ask him what it's about:
"Personally, I'd love to figure out something different, which at this point would be, God, not another antihero. Is there something else I can do? Is there another story I can tell? But I've got to tell you, it's harder to write a really engaging good guy than it is a really engaging bad guy."
With less than a month to go before the series sequel-film makes its way to the streaming service (on October 11th), Paul, Gilligan, and online fundraising site Omaze are giving you a chance to attend the sequel film's premiere and meet the star and Breaking Bad creator – and help out some worthy causes in the process: Geffen Playhouse and the Kind Campaign (though no donation or payment is necessary to either enter or win the sweepstakes ).
Stating today and continuing until September 29, 2019 (at 11:59 p.m. PT), you can head on over to the fundrasier's home page to find out everything you need to know to win a chance for you and a friend to hit the red carpet with Paul and Gilligan, grab a few selfies, and be one of the first to screen El Camino – hotel and flight included.
Breaking Bad is back, b*tch! Grab a friend/enemy/science teacher and your favorite beanie, because you're off to Los Angeles for the world premiere of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. But that's not all! You're going to meet Aaron Paul and brilliant Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan on the red carpet. You'll snap some pics and ask Aaron and Vince all the burning questions you've cooked up since the show ended six years ago. Then, head inside the theater to find out what happened to Jesse Pinkman after he escaped, screaming into the night, in an El Camino. Flights and hotel included.
Late last month, Paul assigned fans "homework" in the form of a clip from Breaking Bad he posted on social media via Screenplayed. As Paul puts it, it's "a moment from Breaking Bad to slowly prepare you all for what's to come." From "One Minute" (season 3, episode 7), here's the moment when Jesse turns down Walter's (Bryan Cranston) offer – and Walter:
Here's a better look at Screenplayed's presentation of the scene:
The Netflix Television Event EL CAMINO: A BREAKING BAD MOVIE reunites fans with Jesse Pinkman (Emmy-winner Aaron Paul). In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future.
This gripping thriller is written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad. The movie is produced by Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Charles Newirth, Diane Mercer and Aaron Paul, in association with Sony Pictures Television.
A Brief History of the "Breaking Bad" Movie
While the trail of breadcrumbs began much earlier, we're going to pick up in early June 2019, the Tony Award-winning Cranston was quizzed for details on the project by Entertainment Tonight – and it turned out to be just as vague and entertainingly uninformative as he wanted it to be:
● On how Walter White could return, considering his current condition ("Well, rigor mortis has a way of allowing that to happen"): "Could be [in] a flashback, or a flash forward. I'm still dead, Walter White, I don't know what [could happen.]"
● With all of this talk about his appearing in it – it turns out Cranston hasn't even read the script yet… just like we have a really sweet bridge leading to Brooklyn that we an let you have on cheap:
"Yes, there appears to be a movie version of Breaking Bad. The new film will apparently focus on Jesse Pinkman's story. But I, honestly have not even read the script. So I couldn't tell you. 'I have not gotten the script. I had not read the script, so there's a question of whether we'd even see Walter White in this movie! Think about that one."
● While having not seen the script… Cranston says the project will ("would"?) bring a number of characters' storylines to their natural conclusion:
"It's a great story, and there's a lot of people who felt that they wanted to see some sort of completion to some of these storylines that were left open."
Cranston's on-screen partner in crime is right on board with him: speaking at the Sun Valley Film Festival in March 2019, the actor wouldn't confirm or deny production on the project – but he did address returning for a Breaking Bad project in broader terms and to Jesse Pinkman specifically at a Variety-sponsored event:
"Rumors are funny — I once heard a rumor that I was being cast as Han Solo. I haven't heard anything about the 'Breaking Bad' movie but if there is one and it comes together I'd love to be a part of it."
To punctuate the point further and to clear up any confusion anyone might still have about his position, Paul reiterated: "If it were to happen, yes, I would love to do it." As for the "why," it's pretty simple: "In case you haven't caught up on the TV series, Walter dies, so….it has to star Jesse."
And let's not forget about Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk, who seemingly confirmed the film three days before it was announced ("I find it hard to believe you don't know it was shot."); and then there was that Netflix screw-up that revealed the name.
Reports circulated that Gilligan was working on a two-hour movie based on the critically-acclaimed AMC series in November 2018. Earlier reports had El Camino filming under the fake/working title Greenbrier.
Though Cranston had already gone on record (on The Dan Patrick Show) to say he was open to a return:
"I would, I would. Absolutely. If Vince Gilligan asked me to do, sure, absolutely. He's a genius. It's a great story and there's a lot of people who felt that they wanted to see some kind of completion to some of these storylines that were left open and this idea, from what I'm told, gets into at least a couple of the characters who were not completed as far as their journey."
Greenbrier was described as "following the escape of a kidnapped man and his quest for freedom" – which fell directly in line with Jesse's escape from Albuquerque after the violently fatal events of series finale 'Felina.' The road to El Camino began in late 2018 in New Mexico, with The Albuquerque Journal first reporting on the project through documents filed through the New Mexico Film Office. For their part, the office would only confirm that a project with the title Greenbrier is slated to shoot in that area during the time period listed.
"We are happy to welcome 'Greenbrier' and Sony Studios to New Mexico. For years we've built up the film industry in New Mexico and strengthened our film incentives, now we're seeing success after success for the film industry in our state."
– Nick Maniatis, Director, New Mexico State Film Office