To all of our hearts discontent, this weekend marks the end for one of television’s greatest dramas. Brilliantly scripted, directed, and acted since its pilot episode, Breaking Bad has spent the past the past six years penetrating our emotions and slicing up our nerves, as we’ve navigated through Walter White’s dangerous and painful world—following his evolution from everyday family man and chemistry teacher simply trying to better his family, to a morally unsound and deeply tortured head of a meth-making empire. In its final season, show-runner Vince Gilligan—along fantastic guest directors, such as Bryan Cranston himself to Rian Johnson and Michelle MacLaren—have crafted some of the most visceral and riveting episodes to date, plunging us into the harrowing darkness that has befallen characters that encompass the Albuquerque-set drama’s rough and dusty landscape.
To all of our hearts’ discontent, this weekend marks the beginning of the end for one of televisions greatest dramas. We’ve spent the past six seasons navigating our way through Walter White’s dangerous and emotionally painful world, following his evolution from everyday family man and chemistry teacher just trying to better his family to a morally unsound and possibly evil head of a meth-making empire. But this Sunday, the second half of the Breaking Bad’s final season will kick off, and although we’ve been waiting with baited breath to see just what happens post-Hank’s mid-toilet revelation, you can’t help but wish it would never end.
Breaking Bad is the first story to truly commit the full spectrum of New Mexico to film…The grandiose vistas, the soaring altitudes, the banal office complexes, the Kokopellis and Kachina dolls, the seamy warehouses, the marshmallow clouds. The show seems to root itself deeper in the landscape with every new montage. It has become our newest monument.
With a slew of incredible films premiering this summer, there’s much to look forward to on the film front. But when it comes to television, there’s one thing we’re all anticipating with baited breath—the return of Breaking Bad for the second half of its (tear) final season. And as much as our hearts our breaking to know that we’ll be severed from our favorite meth-making duo, we will be savoring this season as much as possible. And with details kept under wrap for the new season—which will pick up on the heels of Hank’s toilet revelation—there’s much to speculate about.
Back in March, we learned that someone had stolen one of the final BB scripts from Bryan Cranston, and although pages of that didn’t leak (thankfully), show runner Vince Gilligan has spoken to The Daily Beast about the task of ending the show and just where he’ll be taking our favorite drama. Discussing the ending, he allayed fears that a proper conclusion would not be in sight:
Anyone anxious that there won’t be resolution enough at the end of these eight episodes can rest assured that the story very much reaches resolution…It will not end in any kind of open-ended sense.
I was very nervous for the last year that we didn’t have an interesting enough way to wrap up Breaking Bad…Creatively, I felt like I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, and I was sort of trying to hack my way through the jungle of this story.
Well, I’ll declare now that my 23rd birthday better be spelled out for me in bacon on my eggs—a la Walter White—because it appears that I will be turning a year older just in time for the final (tear) return of Breaking Bad. According to the wonderfully adorable saggy pants-clad Aaron Paul, the show will be returning to AMC on July 14th—so we better start preparing ourselves now.
The season finale ended with a moment of utter brilliance; I don’t think I took a breath for the entirety of the last five minutes. As the episode looked to be drawing to a close, nothing major had happened—no one had died, no dire secrets had been revealed, it was a moment of stillness so eerie that its softness was frightening. As Walt, Skyler, Hank, and Marie sat around the table outside, I was just waiting for someone to jump out of the bushes and kill someone or who knows, anything. But in true Vince Gilligan style, he hit us in the gut right at the end, as a close up of Hank’s face revealed a future of darkness to come. Indiewire reminds us that Gilligan, "recently teased that his finale will be ‘polarizing,’ adding that, ‘It just makes sense to me that bad people should get punished and good people should be rewarded. I know it doesn’t work like that in real life, but there’s always that yearning.’"
In conclusion, my feelings can only be summed up as:
You’d almost forgotten about #KONY2012, hadn’t you? In case you have, here’s a catch-up: back in March, Invisible Children, a nonprofit with a goal of ending the Lord’s Resistance Army’s recruitment of child soldiers and other abuses in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo with the help of college students and really intense documentaries, launched the Kony 2012 Campaign to advocate for the arrest of warlord Joseph Kony by the International Criminal Court. The campaign’s introductory video, which featured compelling footage set to Mumford & Sons, became an instant viral sensation, with messages of "STOP KONY" and "KONY 2012" flooding our social media networks. Criticism of Invisible Children, regarding everything from use of proceeds to the general approach of the "white savior industrial complex," to complaints about young people being heavily involved in "slacktivism" began springing up; IC responded by posting more information about their finances. Days later, the director of the Kony 2012 campaign video, Jason Russell, was caught masturbating in public in San Diego in the midst of what appeared to be a breakdown, giving the whole thing a sad additional layer. The turnouts for the "Cover the Night" events initially announced in the video were smaller than anticipated. And then, just like that, it was over.
Or was it? After a long period of social media dormancy (at least on the grand scale of the video), Kony 2012 is back with one more event in Washington D.C. next week, and Invisible Children has some Special Guest Stars to tell you all about it. MOVE:DC will take place next week, and sadly, it does not, as we had hope, involve a bunch of college kids working together to levitate the Pentagon. It does involve a day of lobbying and awareness and a summit with world leaders, a march on the White House and a "global dance party," and Invisible Children want you to road trip there with all your friends to get your dance on for justice. And they have enlisted some friends to help spread the news, including Sophia Bush, Harry Shum Jr. from Glee, Pete Wentz (shown in the video as a hitchhiker) and America’s Sweetheart, Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul, along with his fiancée Lauren Parsekian. The video feels more Spring Break than March on Washington, complete with plenty of goofy lip-syncing, but they sound really excited about it! And at one point, Aaron Paul lip-syncs rather passionately to "No More I Love Yous" by Annie Lennox. So yeah, Kony 2012. Still going strong. Just like Aaron Paul’s love for Annie Lennox. Watch.
“Our goal was identification, not objectification—and the humor if it speaks to the fact that it’s really fun to be drunk and it’s not wrong to say that! There’s a reason people drink and we wanted that to be a part of the spirit of the film,” admits writer/director James Ponsoldt, whose sophomore feature, Smashed, takes the typical uninviting portrait of addiction and spews it out into a unique amalgamation of dry wit and raw emotion. There’s always a genuine sense of comedy hiding in the cracks of everyday struggle, and here, we see a story that’s more about illustrating the lighter side of pain rather than a moral tale about the dangers of alcoholism and the punishment one must bare in the face of redemption.
Beckett once wrote: “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness…yes, yes, it’s the most comical thing in the word…yes, it’s like the funny story we have heard too often, we still find it funny, but we don’t laugh any more.” And it’s Kate (played tremendously by Mary Elizabeth Winstead), that becomes fearful upon realizing that the nights she spends masking reality with a veil of booze and the mornings she has to drink a flask of whiskey just to go into work, are no longer fun anymore—the humor is gone and all that’s left is a feeling of defeat. But more than just a film about addiction, Smashed looks at the stamina of love when faced with change. At one point in the film Kate tells her husband Charlie (played by Aaron Paul) that “love is the easy part," it’s the living that’s the challenge.
With a supporting cast of Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, and Octavia Spencer, Smashed, brings a fresh perspective to a familiar narrative arc filled with characters we enjoy spending time with, that allow us to laugh at their mistakes because they remind us that no one’s perfect and we’re all just tying to get through the day in one piece. I took some time to chat with Winstead and Ponsoldt about stearing clear of making a social issue movie, creating stories with flawed characters, and the limitations of love.
What sparked your initial interest in making a film like this?
James Ponsoldt: Smashed started as a conversation between myself and my co-writer, Susan. She’s an old friend and one of the funniest people I know but she’s also sober; she got sober in her early 20s. She’s very open about that and has a very wonderful, hilarious perspective. It started just with us sharing stupid stories about things we had done when we were drunk, and I thought I had done a lot of stupid things but her stories totally eclipsed mine in terms of hilarity and almost getting killed. I couldn’t get some of those ideas out of my head and I kind of proposed the idea to Susan that we write something together that, first and foremost, was not about alcoholism; it was not a social issue movie, it was not a scared straight movie but that it was a love story and a coming of age story with characters that were young, in their late 20s but emotionally were closer to probably their teenage years. It would be sort of a portrait of a marriage through the lens of a wife, where it’s like an epic love story and they’re totally perfect for each other—except they’re perfect for each other when they’re both drunk. We were really adamant that this be something that has real humor in it. So many things that I’ve seen with substance abuse, there’s a sense of otherness where the character is like a Bukowski-level alcoholic and you sort of objectify them and watch them kill themselves slowly and you can gawk at them but you can’t relate to them.
How did you get involved with the film?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I was looking to meet people who were doing films that were small and performance-focused and was sent two scripts and one of them was Smashed and I pretty much flipped out over it. I called the producer immediately and was like, “what do I have to do to be considered for this part,” and he introduced me to James, who I loved. So, I put myself on tape and did an audition tape and sent it to them. Yeah, it was pretty shocking and amazing that they actually cast me off the tape and didn’t audition anyone else. I feel really lucky that they put faith in me because usually that never happens.
So once you were cast, how did you prepare to become Kate?
MEW: Well, I had close to a month to work on it, which I was very thankful for because I knew I needed to do a lot of work to really to get to the places I needed to get to. So I started out going to a lot of AA meetings with Susan our co-writer and Elyse our producer, who was also in recovery. I was always welcomed into these open meetings and I went to every different neighborhood in LA basically and tried different meetings and I would see so many different types of people and I realized that if I took alcohol out of the equation that I could fit perfectly in those rooms with those people; they were completely and totally relatable. So that was kind of the first step in relating to the character and then once I started looking at my own life and my own issues, then it just kind of went further and further into becoming her because I kind of made my problems her problems and they kind of became one.
Was that frightening for you?
MEW: It was a funny experience because it all felt so real—the dark moments felt incredibly real or challenging and exhausting but at the same time, it was such a fun, relaxed set that I always felt comfortable and happy. It was a really surreal experience in that way because it was just my favorite place to be even though we were doing things that were sometimes emotionally hard. I always felt kind of relived and happy at the end of the day.
What’s interesting about Kate is that she feels so relatable. She appears to be so functional and self-aware enough to realize that she needs to change her life.
JP: I think we live in a hyper-aware post-modern era where 3/4 of all reality television shows also seem to be portraits of alcoholism and we’ve seen enough movies about substance abuse that we understand the traditional arch narrative. We also are in a very sort of 12-step, self-help kind of era where people understand the tropes of that. The main characters are people that are savvy and young and would probably make fun of most of those movies and don’t want to feel sorry for themselves and would make jokes about driving by a church on a Thursday night where everyone’s chain-smoking and drinking coffee and it’s probably an NA meeting or an AA meeting and they’d probably say, "God that’s not me, that’s my uncle," and make jokes. But those are the characters and that’s certainly most of my friends.
Just as much as addiction, it was a story about fidelity and change and the question of if you’re able to still be with someone after they change. Is that what you wanted to show?
JP: Movies about social issues are really boring to me, they’re like the dreariest thing on earth. We wanted to create a hang out movie and the truth is, at a certain point, people couple off and get a partner. And being in a relationship is hard—not for the obvious reasons like sickness or whatever or—it’s all the in between stuff, all the day to day sort of sacrifices you have to make when you concern yourself more with the interest of another person than yourself and especially if they need to change.And in that way, I think the alcohol could be a substitute for a number of things.
MEW: It’s interesting for me because I think that these characters, at their core, are good people; I think they’re just clouded by their pain and they’re clouded by the choices they’ve made in their life that have led them down the path that they’re on. But for Kate, I don’t think that she necessarily changed but that she sort of got back to her true self and the person that she was truly supposed to be and I think with Charlie, it’s the same way. Audiences like him because he is a good person, he’s made mistakes and he has pain he doesn’t know how to deal with and as long as we’re able to hold up a mirror and acknowledge our faults and our pain and decide that we’re going to work through it and put one foot in front of the other and just live our lives as ourselves, then that’s the step to make you a better person.
The film didn’t beat you over the head with any sort of message, just allowed you to get inside the lives of its characters.
JP: Again, there’s no message to the movie like: Alcohol is bad, AA is good. I just don’t feel that way. Things are complicated. Living an honest life is hard. When you stop drinking and all your friends drink, people are going to feel really weird around you and have to look at themselves and it’s harder to hang out with them. And when you start being really honest, you’re held more accountable for your actions on a day to day basis, and sometimes it blows up in your face. The reward is that you get to look at yourself and know that you’re honest, not that everyone wants to give you a pat on the head and reward you.
And everyone has felt like that at one point, like they were really fucking up and doing something wrong and they need to fix it or they’ve had to be the person who has to deal with being with someone who has changed.
JP: Exactly. The stories that I like the best are ones that are about really flawed, screwed up people who want to try to fix themselves or make themselves better and it doesn’t matter whether they’re doing it for the right reasons or the wrong reasons or whether they’re total fools and struggling to try to make themselves whole. There’s something very human and hopeful about that—and not in succeeding, because I don’t know what success means, but it’s like trying to love yourself more so you can love other people better and just be decent to the people around you. I think a lot of stories that deal with drug abuse or alcoholism, there’s a little sadism where it’s like, they just tear people apart and punish them, and I certainly don’t see myself in those stories.
I feel like if you’re in that situation you’re probably going to punish yourself enough, let alone having it come from other people.
JP: Absolutely, couldn’t agree more.
How did you go about finding the right people to portray these characters?
JP: You know, it was a lot of my favorite actors. I had know Mary as an actor for years and I loved her in Scott Pilgrim specifically. I thought she was amazing in it and although that’s such a different movie than this, in that, amidst all this sort of chaos, she’s this real human solid stoic center. I knew our main character had to be a strong person who wasn’t weak and fragile and felt totally broken, someone who felt like when she falls she might be able to get up, and she could have perspective on it and laugh about it and therefore we could laugh with her. So I was really thrilled to meet with Mary and realize that she was brilliant and hilarious and would be a really great collaborator. Aaron Paul I just loved from Breaking Bad for years, I think he’s one of the best actors of the generation. Nick Offerman…I mean, I think Ron Swanson on Parks and Rec is just like one of the great sitcom characters, like, him and Archie Bunker—just two of the most wonderful curmudgeons that ever existed.
You and Aaron had a really natural chemistry—how was working with him?
MEW: It was fantastic, he’s such a talented actor. He’s also so warm and open and genuine and generous and giving as an actor. But he’s really that person you want to work with all the time because he’s such a sweet guy.
How about Nick and Megan?
MEW: They’re like the best couple in the world. I think they should win an award for Best Couple; they’re so adorable and in love and they’re both so funny and when they get together it’s just like you cannot stop laughing. I would just be crying laughing. So when you have a film like this where you have to go through a lot of dark tough scenes, it was really really nice to have people like that around that are just so joyful and fun to be around.
Did you all spend a lot of time together before you shot?
JP: Yeah, I spent a ton of time with Mary especially, just helping create the character and really personalize it and finding the triggers and what is the alcoholism for her. And Mary and Aaron hung out and I’d be like, "just go get coffee guys, spend some time away from me!" In relationships, it’s not the big declarations of love or hate, it’s the little gestures, it’s the playing with your husband’s chest hair or like finding that thing that your wife does that’s really funny. These little things that you never think to write into a screenplay because those aren’t real dramatic moments but those are the most humanizing things about it.
Or when she pees the bed—
JP: Yup! That’s a typical morning for them. And it’s a really sweet normal.
I like how you called it an adult coming of age story because these weren’t young people but it’s like she had spent the entirety of her youth in a fog and it was a young person’s coming of age story because she was finally waking up and having to deal with everything that had been masked by being an alcoholic.
MEW: Absolutely, and when you never really deal with the pain that you suffered as a child or whatever that may be—part of being an adult is acknowledging and working through it—and when you’re drinking all the time you’re not doing that. Suddenly when you’re sober you have to feel the pain that you’re going through and you have to see your problems rather than just glossing them over with alcohol.
JP: And listen, people keep saying 30s the new 20s or whatever, which is true even if people aren’t alcoholics, but people don’t want to grow up. There’s also a saying about addicts, which is that: "Your development stops when your addiction begins." And yeah, they’re closer to 30 than 20, but they’re emotionally like teenagers. So the thing is, they’ve probably only known each other through the veil of booze so when she gets sober, she suddenly has a ton of growing up to do and has to deal with herself 24 hours a day and can’t escape herself and finds out that her husband is kind of a child—a totally lovable child—but all his dumb funny stuff she found funny before, it’s not so funny anymore.
Were you worried about how people would react to a sort of light-hearted film about alcoholism?
JP: When someone makes a movie about alcoholism or addiction in the slightest, people assume it’s going to be stone-cold serious and something that’s a downer. So to say, no this is actually going to be pretty funny but it’s not going to make fun of it, it’s going to be made by people who totally understand recovery. The co-writer is sober and is an alcoholic but I guess there’s sort of a burden on the story tellers to get the tone right because if you’re making fun of a disease, people will crucify you and you can’t, but if you take it too serious people are just going to be like, "ugh I feel horrible," it becomes a PSA. And our desire was to do something that was totally a hangout film where you love the characters and all of the aspects of being drunk, recovering, of 12 step groups, etc. were formed by real experience and real specificity and detail. My favorite film alcoholics are not in the movies that are essentially about alcoholism. Like I really love Withnail and I which is kind of a movie about an alcoholic and even Sideways is a movie about an alcoholic too! I think people adore those movies because it’s funny and you like to hang out with the people and it never wags it’s finger you and makes a moral judgement of the characters because having pity or judgement of someone is a crappy way to feel. You shouldn’t tell stories if you’re just going to judge people. If your goal is to make audiences feel pity, get into some other line of work.
So, the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards were last night, and considering we still have a bad taste in our mouths from our inappropriate drunk uncle Billy Crystal hosting the Oscars, for the most part, they were actually pretty fun to watch. Jimmy Kimmel had some funny bits, Giancarlo Esposito and Aaron Paul hugged it out and made us all verklempt, Lena Dunham ate cake naked and Julia-Louis Dreyfuss and Amy Poehler stole the show with their acceptance speech switcheroo.
In terms of the awards themselves, the recipients were almost painfully predictable, especially in the comedy category. The drama awards were mostly bang-on, as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the most part avoided the soapy pleasure of Downton Abbey and Don Draper’s steely gaze to actually reward what probably are the two best dramas on TV right now, Homeland and Breaking Bad (Aaron Paul’s Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award made our hearts happy). And Louis C.K. took home two awards — one the writing on Louie and one for his standup special at the Beacon Theatre.
But in terms of comedy, once again, the Academy chose to throw Louie its one bone—the equivalent of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences giving the most envelope-pushing film of the year Best Original Screenplay and then kind of ignoring it the rest of the night—and then choosing to celebrate thoroughly mediocre stuff. In a run similar to the one Frasier made in the mid-‘90s, for the past three Emmy cycles now, Modern Family has dominated the comedy categories to the point where even better stuff from the banal, laugh track-y, Chuck Lorre school of TV comedy was ignored (come on, as eye-roll-worthy as The Big Bang Theory can be sometimes, seeing Mayim Bialik win an Emmy, especially as the show’s saving grace that is Amy Farrah Fowler, åwould have been golden). All four of Modern Family’s big winners—Outstanding Supporting Actress Julie Bowen, Outstanding Supporting Actor Eric Stonestreet (convinced that there is one dude voting in the Academy who is just still totally super shocked that a straight dude can play a preening gay man even though this is 2012, y’all), Director Steven Levitan and the show for Outstanding Comedy Series — are repeat wins, with the show itself and Levitan earning them back-to-back-to-back. This year, the rest of the show’s adult cast members were nominated for acting awards.
I like Modern Family. It’s cute. Ty Burrell and Sofia Vergara are eternally fun to watch. I usually walk away from it not hating myself. My whole family watches it (cross-demographic appeal!). And granted, the Outstanding Comedy Series pool was a little thin this year—the token Lorre (The Big Bang Theory), two former comedy powerhouses that are still very funny but mostly over-the-hill (30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm), and the two other HBO shows, Girls and Veep, which were long shots anyway. But at a time and place where so many awesome things are happening with television comedy, at a time when a fart and smunny show like Parks & Recreation or something that, love it or hate it, can spark an international conversation like Girls or a show that is so funny and so human like Louie or a show that celebrates its dweebiness so joyfully like Community or a great traditional thirtysomethings-in-the-city sitcom like Happy Endings can all exist, it seems a disservice to let more of the same rack up statue after statue. It seems kind of silly to rant—the Emmys will probably never change and TV comedy is full of niches and Modern Family certainly isn’t the worst thing to happen to television ever. But when the whole run of programming is so totally awesome, it would just kind of be nice seeing the celebration of the awesomeness spread around a bit. At least Leslie Knope won her city council election. Better luck next time, Team Dunphy.
So, to make ourselves feel better about everything, here’s Aaron Paul’s acceptance speech again.
When it comes to Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul, the Internet is the gift that keeps on giving. First there was his clip as a contestant on The Price Is Right; now there’s his 1999 commercial for Corn Pops.
I vaguely remember this appearing in the late ’90s:
The earrings. The skater hair. His short-sleeved T over a long-sleeved T. The vacant look in his eye. Oh, the ’90s were grand, weren’t there?
Aaron Paul is about to get his fingers bitten off by a parrot. The 31-year-old actor is standing on the Santa Monica Pier, and while he hadn’t exactly planned on being attacked by a flock of tropical birds, he’s also come to expect the unexpected. There’s no way, for example, anyone could have predicted he’d become television’s most lovable drug addict. Before AMC had Don Draper and Peggy Olson, there was Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, a modern-day answer to The Odd Couple—if Felix and Oscar had cooked and sold crystal meth in New Mexico.
“I thought there was no way in hell this was going to see the light of day,” says Paul of Breaking Bad, the tooth-grinding drama that jump-started his decade-long acting career. “I read the pilot before AMC had any original programming, before Mad Men had even come out,” he says.
With a face like a Boy Scout and an Idaho-inflected timbre flattening his vowels, Paul isn’t the most obvious choice to play a money-hungry meth-head. But as the show enters its fourth season in July, it’s now clear he was born for the role. “I always try to do something that’s completely the opposite of who I am,” says Paul, who’s played “Wasted Guy” in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and a less blotto role as Amanda Seyfried’s husband on Big Love.
The past three seasons of Breaking Bad have included everything from plane collisions and a corpse crashing through the ceiling to the unsentimental reality of a family in crisis. But the new season is “much bigger and darker than anything I’ve ever experienced,” says Paul, whose embodiment of Jesse has made him one of the most memorable and engaging characters on television today. As one half of the dynamic drug-slinging duo, Paul plays opposite the ever-talented Bryan Cranston. The two share a rare chemistry, whether they’re experimenting in or out of the on-screen lab. “He gives me so much and he’s truly such a mentor of mine,” Paul says of Cranston. “I’ve learned from him that since we’re on a show like this, we have to break the tension with humor, and if we don’t, we’ll get sucked down into a dark depression.”
Perennially clad in baggy jeans, an oversize hoodie, and a ski cap, Paul’s character carries himself like the type of teenage thug who looks for trouble in shopping malls, and he’s got the saltiest vocabulary this side of Redd Foxx. His incessant use of the words “bitch” and “yo” have sparked not only myriad YouTube compilations; they’ve also seeped into Paul’s real life. “Anytime I’m done with a season, I say ‘yo’ so much. I try to stop, but it’s just so hard,” he says.
Breaking Bad’s most recent season ended with Jesse pointing a gun straight at the camera and pulling the trigger—the final frames of his face alone worth the Primetime Emmy Award he took home last fall. In September, after “being totally happy just to be invited to the party,” Paul nabbed his first statue for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, beating out some of his biggest heroes. “I was honored just to be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Emerson—I’m such a Lost fan. I got so starstruck when I was walking the carpet and met Terry O’Quinn for the first time. I was like, Oh my god, that’s John Locke!”
Although Paul still swoons in the presence of his idols, devoted fans of the show have begun to do the same around him. “I’ve had people get really emotional in front of me,” he says. “They start shaking and say, ‘Thank you for being a part of a show that makes me constantly remember why I’m now clean and sober.’” Before Breaking Bad went into production, would-be critics were skeptical of its storyline, worried that AMC was glamorizing substance abuse—but the results upended everyone’s expectations. Paul himself has never had a drug problem, but he’s seen first-hand the perils of addiction. “I’ve seen beautiful creatures completely lost to the drug world,” he says. “I’ve seen their souls slowly drift away, just gone—with meth in particular.”
During Breaking Bad’s extended off-season, Paul took time to indulge in a bit of wanderlust, traveling everywhere from Vancouver to London. Somehow, he also found time to appear in Right Angle, an independent film co-starring Jeff Daniels and Tom Sizemore, just before heading back to New Mexico to film the show’s new season. With only three episodes left to shoot, Paul is already planning to head back out into the great unknown. “If you’re going to travel, shame on you for sitting in your suite ordering room service,” he says. “Go to a coffee shop in Paris, have local food, and walk down the damn street. Don’t sit around watching a movie. Get out and explore.” As if heeding Paul’s advice, the parrot on his shoulder spreads its wings and takes flight.
Photography Dylan Don.