The star of Eye in the Sky on the droning debate, learning to love LA, and the return of Breaking Bads Jesse Pinkman
Aaron Paul is a 36 -year-old actor who came to prominence playing crystal meth merchant and producer Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad , for which he won three Emmy awardings. In Eye in the Sky he plays a droning pilot was necessary to blow up an Al-Shabaab cell in Kenya.
Eye in the Sky is dedicated to the memory of Alan Rickman , who co-starred. Did you get to meet him ?
Sadly we never had the opportunity. This was the second movie he and I did together, but I never had the privilege of meeting the man. Im very blest to have shared a screen with him. Your character refuses to fire his droning because he is likely to kill an innocent girl. But if he doesnt act, the suicide bombers hes targeting might kill many more innocents. Do you have a moral posture on that dilemma ?
Its impossible not to throw our own emotions into the mixture. I feel I side with my character on this, thats why Im so happy I dont have to be in his shoes and Im not part of the decision-making process. Hes just trying to bide time, to wait until the last possible moment to release his payload. Has there been much debate in the US about the use of droning warfare ?
Absolutely, theres been a discussion ever since dronings started flying. But if you talk to our director[ Gavin Hood ], whos been doing endless amounts of research for the past three or four years, he informed me that even when the longbow was created and they started utilizing that in battles, people thought it was terribly unjust. How are you peacefully pulling back a longbow from across a giant field in the convenience of your bunker? Drones are a more dramatic version of that.
You grew up in Idaho, the son of a baptist pastor. What kind of childhood was that ?
It was unbelievable. I appreciate it much more now being away from it. I grew up on the lagoon, floating the rivers , nothing but mountains and streams and wildlife and that kind of thing. I was always snowboarding from a very young age. And you think, oh God I cant wait to get out to live a more exciting life. But now living in Los Angeles since I was 17, I cannot wait to get back to Idaho. You moved to LA as a adolescent. Was that a lonely hour of your life ?
I didnt fall in love with Los Angeles as quickly as I had imagined I would. It took me a good two to three years to actually love the city. Now Im madly in love with it. Theres a lot of Los Angeles that at first glance youre frightened by, a lot of fake people and the glitz and glam, thats not really my cup of tea. Then eventually you get your core group of friends who you love and trust. I wouldnt call it lonely. I was fighting for something. I was trying to get my foot inside that door. And eventually the door was opened. Did you ever think of ceasing ?
There was a lot of anxiety. I never wanted to quit. I had many ups and downs in the business. I started doing commercials to pay my bills, then I stopped doing that because I wanted to focus on guest places on Tv. If you have a lull in working its hard to keep up and pay your bills. Right before Breaking Bad was likely the lowest point in my career. That was the first time I had ever asked for any money from my family, and my family didnt have any money to dedicate. But they managed to get some money together and pay my rent of 3 months in a row. That was unbelievably heartbreaking for me. Jesse Pinkman was a wonderful character, and one of his distinctive characteristics was his deep lazy voice. How close is it to yours ?
I took a while to actually know who Jesse was. In the pilot he just came off as this druggy burnout. I wanted him to stand out. I know this kid says Yo and bitch far too much. I wanted to create a character around that. His voice came to me throughout the first season of the prove. And I got a true sense of it in the second season. Is it difficult staying in one character over so many years? Does it begin to possess you ?
A lot of periods it would be difficult but with a prove like Breaking Bad it actually induced it easier, because these characters were so well developed and absolutely on the page right there in front of us for the taking. The more scripts we had the more we figured out who these characters were. You are able to tell an incredibly descriptive narration in 62 hours of television.
I read that at one stage you were dreaming as Jesse
Thats true. I truly lived and inhaled every moment and then some of what you insure on screen. It was almost impossible not to guess as Jesse, to actually transform into that guy. So at night there would be periods when I would wake up in a panic as Jesse, and bad things were happening to me. Which actually I was so into. I never had that experience before of dreaming as the character.
Theres talk of you turning up on the prequel , Better Call Saul . Do you have any news about that ?
All I can say is that weve had multiple dialogues about such a possibility and if it were to happen it would happen for absolutely all the right reasons. They wouldnt wishes to hurl Jesse in just so the audience could see him in the background. Hed have to really enter the tale. And as Im such a huge fan of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul , if they did figure out a way to stimulate that happen Id be very excited. What do you do to relax ?
Any chance I have just to be at my house, I take it. Im never at home, Im always travelling. I never work in LA. Being home is actually a vacation for me and my wife. Music is our obsession. I fell in love with my wife at a music celebration. We have concerts inside our living room. Whenever were in town, we track down artists playing in Los Angeles and just reach out to their tour manager and see if theyd like to play our living room. Do you think youd be able to make crystal meths to a reasonable quality if you were required ?
Absolutely not. I wouldnt even know how to jolt myself up. I would be terrible at it.
Eye in the Sky is out 15 April
Read more: www.theguardian.com