Aaron Paul ponders a ‘Breaking Bad’ vs. ‘The Path’ lifestyle: ‘I can’t say neither?’
Ask Aaron Paul which is the most likely scenario he would find himself in — being a convert to a cult-like religious movement as he plays in “The Path” or being coerced into cooking meth with a former chemistry teacher as he did on “Breaking Bad” — and the actor takes a pause.
“That’s tough.… I can’t say neither?” Paul said. “I mean, I probably — they’re both kind of outside of the realm, but I can see me maybe heading towards the light more than cooking and selling crystal meth.… Don’t do drugs!”
In his first TV role since his breakout gig on “Breaking Bad,” Paul stars in the new Hulu drama “The Path” as Eddie Lane, a family man who is having serious doubts about the religious movement (known as Meyerism) that he joined when he coupled with his wife, Sarah, played by Michelle Monaghan.
In “The Path,” the one who knocks is one’s own doubt. And for Paul, all the knocking provoked some challenging scenes.
Early in the recently wrapped first season, rather than risk his doubts being exposed to the group’s leaders, Eddie agrees to participate in the organization’s 14-day lockdown program, in which a member is locked in solitary confinement and interrogated by a counselor to reveal hidden truths.
The scene from that episode, which was directed by Mike Cahill, took half a day to shoot, Paul said. And Cahill’s notes for Paul was to embody four phases.
“The beginning, you’re very coherent. You’re there, you’re ready. You’re doing this for your family,” Paul recalled of Cahill’s direction for the scene. “The second beat, you’re kind of questioning: Is this a good idea? I don’t know. Third beat, you’re mad, you’re screaming, you’re breaking down. Fourth beat, you have just completely lost it and you’re hallucinating and all this. And [then] he was like, ‘And, Action!’ And I was like, ‘Uh, OK, here we go!’”
Paul said there was a camera stationed in the center of the room that followed his movements as he walked around in circles to capture the stages of emotions.
Of course, an equally challenging — but more fun scene, according to Paul — was the moment Eddie gets into a brawl with Cal, the unofficial leader of the Meyerists in upstate New York played by Hugh Dancy.
“Any time you can roll around with Hugh Dancy, take it,” Paul joked.
For more on what Paul had to say about how his own religious upbringing helped him relate to the character, as well as his thought’s on whether Jesse Pinkman might be vulnerable enough to join the Meyerist movement, check out the full-length video chat below.
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