Aaron Paul on Returning as Jesse Pinkman and the Advice Bryan Cranston Gave Him Early On

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“All I had to do was just memorize these words and then play them out when they yelled ‘action.'” – Aaron Paul

After years of rumors, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, a film serving as a sequel to the critically-acclaimed, fan-favorite series, has finally been released. The movie stars Aaron Paul, reprising his character Jesse Pinkman, the former right-hand-man of New Mexico drug kingpin Walter White (portrayed by Bryan Cranston on Breaking Bad). Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter about returning to Jesse (a role that earned Paul three Emmy Awards), and why he’s coming back after initially feeling comfortable with saying goodbye to the character.

Paul admits that he found it extremely challenging to portray the character in the first few seasons, but managed to get a handle on Jesse after following advice from Cranston. Paul recalls, “The first couple years were really torturous for me. I found myself in dark alleys in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at 3 in the morning, just to try to get more information, which was not a good thing. I just didn’t want to mess it up, and so I stayed in that guy’s skin, but I learned from Bryan it’s OK to shake it off and wash up at the end of the night and just have time for yourself.”

Though Paul grew to love the character, he felt satisfied with the way Jesse’s story wrapped up in the AMC series finale. He says, “I really loved Jesse. I knew him better than anyone, but it was a big weight off of my shoulders to hang up the cleats and walk away. I thought it was goodbye, and I was OK with that.”

But when it came time to shoot El Camino, Paul was not only ready to return to playing Jesse — he was confident that he could get back into character with little effort. He explains, “It was so easy for me to just jump into where Jesse’s at mentally, emotionally, because I lived and breathed everything he went through and then some, and so, honestly, it felt like a part of me had gone through that as well. All I had to do was just memorize these words and then play them out when they yelled ‘action.'”

More: How J.J. Abrams Ruined Aaron Paul’s ‘Cloverfield’ Audition

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