"Red or green?"
As Aaron Paul, star of AMC's Albuquerque-set series Breaking Bad, knows, this question, asked at any decent restaurant in New Mexico, refers to the type of chile you want with your meal.
Answering "Christmas" will give you a spicy delicious duo—kinda like the brilliant, fiery pairing of Breaking's Aaron Paul with Bryan Cranston, who took home the Emmy for Best Actor last year. (Note: If you were paying attention during Cranston's acceptance speech, you heard him promise to "adorn [his prize statue] with red and green chiles later.")
We hope both actors are recognized this year for their colorful portrayals. FYI, in case you haven't seen this AMC series yet, you should (a) catch up, and (b) know that Cranston plays cancer-stricken chemistry teacher Walter White, and that Paul is Jesse Pinkman, the dim-witted former student he enlists to help manufacture and distribute meth.
Anyway, speaking of hot: Aaron Paul just shared some tasty deets with us about his sizzling performance this season...
We think it would be a crime if you don't score an Emmy nomination for your work this season, especially the heartbreaking finale.
Thank you so much. The thing is, it all starts on the page, and what [show runner Vince Gilligan and the writers] give to us as actors is just incredible. When they finally give Jesse this love he's never really felt, and you see this softer side of him...I think at first Jane [his girlfriend, played by Krysten Ritter] was an absolute good influence on Jesse, but she kind of relapsed and turned into a really bad influence. And then she was taken away. Just to be able to do that sort of work on a show that I'm so unbelievably proud to be a part of is such a dream—such a crazy dream.
How do you make the show's seamless transition between intense drama and comedy seem so effortless?
Honestly, I give all the credit to Vince and Bryan. Vince is a genius—a mad genius. When I read the pilot, I went in thinking it was an hour drama—it didn't seem like a comedy at all. And it's not a comedy, it's definitely a drama, but it's very humorous at times, and I found myself laughing while I was reading the script. But I'm like, Should I be laughing? Dean [Norris], who plays Hank, was in the waiting room with Betsy [Brandt], who plays Marie, when they were auditioning for it. And they started talking and were like, "Is this supposed to be funny? Because it's hilarious. But it's so dark." And they were like, "I don't know!" Dean said, "I'm just gonna go in there and play it funny. I'm just gonna play it funny." He is brilliant at that.
And how incredible is Bryan Cranston? If I were to be able to act against anyone on this planet, it would be him. He is so genius at what he does. But him as a human being is truly inspiring to me. He is just the nicest man.
How would you characterize Jesse and Walt's relationship?
At the beginning, their relationship was definitely quite different than it is now. Jesse is frustrated with Mr. White, he doesn't want to be involved with him, and they are constantly butting heads. I think they are going to keep that—that Odd Couple relationship, which I think personally works for the show. But Jesse considers Mr. White a true artist, and he's impressed by him. And he definitely wants to learn. It's a little tough, at times, for Jesse, but he wants to learn. I think toward the end of season two you realize [Walt] is somewhat of a father figure for Jesse. Finally, now, Jesse really has so much respect for Walt.
But I think Walt is going to take to the grave the fact that he's responsible for Jesse's love's demise. I can't imagine—who knows, maybe the guilt's gonna get to him—but I can't imagine he'll ever confess to that. If he did, there's no way that, personally, I could ever be around him anymore.
But Jesse was supposed to die by the end of the first season?
I'm so happy they didn't kill me—let that be known. When we were shooting the sixth episode, and we only had one more episode to go [in the writers' strike shortened season]. I hadn't read the final script when Vince told me, "You know, originally, we were going to kill your character off." [So I wondered,] "Why are telling me this right now?" I was slowly panicking inside, trying to hold my composure. I was definitely shaking, and my spine slowly started to actually hurt.
[Even now] they are constantly messing with me—Karen Moore, one of the producers, once asked me how tall I am, because "We're just getting measurements for your casket"—but Vince has let me know I will be sticking around. That is very good news—for Jesse and me.
What else can you tell us about season three?
I can tell you two things: Jesse is not going to die, and Jesse and Walt are going to be roommates.
Yay! That was one of our questions!
I'm only joking! You were happy they were going to be roommates? No, actually, I have no idea. I need a place to live, because Mr. John de Lancie [Jesse's landlord—and his dead girlfriend's father] is definitely not going to let me stay at the house anymore. And you know, Mr. White is definitely getting the boot from his place, so...I don't know. I hope, I hope, that Jesse and Walt become roommates—I can just imagine the beautiful montages now.
Yes, we should all get together, sit Vince down, and be like, listen, this is what needs to happen. I would love to live with Mr. White. I would love to live with Bryan Cranston in real life. But I think Jesse would have a good time.
What do you think of this tasty flavor combination? Are you also rooting for Aaron Paul to score an Emmy nomination this year?