Aaron Paul in a scene from 'Need For Speed'.
The Breaking Bad star hits breakneck speed in his new movie.
ONE of the most successful racing video game series, Need For Speed, is now a movie headlined by Aaron Paul. In his first lead role in a big-budget film, the 34-year-old American – most famous for portraying Jesse Pinkman in the acclaimed drama series Breaking Bad – not only gets to play “a man’s man” but he also gets to drive all kinds of vehicles, especially iconic muscle cars.
As it turns out, Paul is a fan of cars, especially the classic vintage muscle cars – “Yeah, who isn’t into cars, right?” he said in a transcript provided by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. He also digs the video game: “I’ve definitely played the multiple games and it’s fun because all you’re doing is just driving these crazy exotic super cars.”
The film revolves around Tobey, a mechanic who’s trying to keep his family-owned garage business going by participating in illegal street racing. In a desperate move to stay afloat financially, he teams up with Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) who feeds him to the police instead, landing Tobey in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.
Two years later, Tobey gets out of jail and is set on a revenge against Dino through a series of high-stake races. Only problem is, he must get from one coast to the other if he wants to enter this secret underground race. He must also dodge pursuing cops and avoid someone cashing in on the bounty Dino has put out on him.
“What’s so great about the games is that they’re full of adrenaline, and there’s no narrative. So we had a giant blank slate to make it how we wanted, and tell this story however we wanted.”
He added: “This film is not just a car movie, but it’s a throwback to the classic car culture films. When I met with Scott Waugh, our director, he gave me this amazing pitch. He said it would be like a Steve McQueen-era film.
“That got me really excited. That’s what first intrigued me about this story. And then he delved deeper into how he was going to tell the story. It’s great because I think car movie buffs deserve something like this. It’s not just a flashy car movie. I mean it does have that element to it, but it has an incredibly interesting story behind it.”
To keep things real, the action sequences were shot with a stunt team, actual cars and very little special effects. This allowed Paul to do some of the “wild driving” which he described as super fun.
“Before we started shooting they wanted me to go through this crash course – so to speak – just to learn how to do drifts, and slides, and reverse 180s, and even 360s. And I learned all this in the first three days, and it’s incredible. It’s hard not to do it in your day-to-day life. Once you know how to really use the emergency brake properly you just don’t want to ever stop doing it.
“Nowadays, the emergency brake doesn’t really grip as well as it should on a lot of cars. So it doesn’t allow you to kind of drift and slide the way you want to. But they have these cars all rigged up for us. They’re just giant toys.”
Need For Speed opens in cinemas nationwide on March 13.