He carried the role to critical applause over five seasons of Breaking Bad and spin-off film El Camino, but nobody actually wanted Aaron Paul to play Jesse Pinkman.
That’s according to the actor himself, who recently revealed he was almost turned down to play Walter White’s meth-making sidekick after his initial screen test. In fact, Paul admitted he only got the part due to the intervention of showrunner Vince Gilligan.
“It’s Vince Gilligan who gave me a chance when, quite frankly, no one else would. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs and at the lowest point of my career, I wasn’t able to pay my bills. I was borrowing money. I thought, ‘What am I going to do?’” he told The Independent.
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“Then Vince Gilligan hired me. No one wanted me – even after I tested, no one wanted me as the guy, and Vince said, ‘No, he’s the guy – he has to be the guy.’
“Vince played his trump card and said, ‘I’m not doing the show unless he’s the guy.’ So, they were like, ‘Alright!’”
(L-R) Breaking Bad showrunner Vince Gilligan, Aaron Paul and Walter White actor Bryan Cranston
Paul also revealed that although he will appear in the third season of Westworld, HBO originally attempted to cast the actor in the drama’s first run.
“We were actually trying to come up with a world where I was going to be in the first season. I was just so deep into negotiations on this other show and the logistics couldn’t work out,” he said.
“I had to turn Westworld down the first time around. I just watched it and thought to myself, ‘My God, this is the perfect show.’ I couldn’t miss out on this second opportunity.”
Paul also recently opened up to RadioTimes.com about what happened to Skinny Pete and Badger – Jesse Pinkman’s best friends – after the events of El Camino. Turns out the pair would be harassed by police “probably constantly” for their role assisting the “biggest meth ring in history”, according to the actor.
However, Paul insists the pair would be “still happy” – “They’re the good guys!”
El Camino: A Breaking Bad movie is available to watch now on Netflix now