In a new profile piece, star Aaron Paul spoke candidly on the difficult years he spent being pushed to transition to traditional blockbuster film productions and succinctly detailed how the El Camino script left him speechless.
"I zipped off that skin and left it behind, and Jesse stopped visiting me," Paul told Vulture of the post-Breaking Bad years. He recalled how, when the original series became wildly popular, he found himself in a state of relentless pursuit for multiple high profile projects. His blockbuster film efforts, however, ultimately failed to make a smooth landing.
"You do one commercial film that's not the success they think it's going to be, and you're damned," Paul, whose mid-2010s filmography includes Need for Speed and Exodus: Gods and Kings, said.
At one point, a misguided bit of casting advice from his then-manager resulted in a split after many years working together. Though Paul chose to refrain from specifically naming the film aside from describing it as an eventual "monster, monster hit," the manager who was said to have "steered [him] away" from the mystery project is indeed no longer his manager.
Just before learning that he and creator Vince Gilligan would be stepping back into the Breaking Bad universe for El Camino, Paul said he had realized "there were some big thorns in my side that I had to let go." And in early 2018, Paul made his way to Gilligan's office, where he spent nearly three hours reading the El Camino script while shoeless and "stretched out on a couch."
His initial reaction, fittingly, sounds quite similar to fans' early responses to El Camino trailers and related intel. "When I flipped the last page, I just laid there in silence," he said. Paul also noted that he's since made peace with his place in the industry, noting that he'd rather pursue TV and TV-adjacent projects than any more presumed blockbusters. "I can't live with that pressure on me, nor will I. I'm happy," he said.
The full interview is available here and also includes Paul looking back on another post-Breaking project (The Path) and sharing some additional Jesse Pinkman insight.