After this week’s weirdly desperate ploy for attention (catch up here), there’s some very good news for Aaron Paul fans.
He’s going back to TV – with Jason Katims. Yes, Friday Night Lights and Parenthood Jason Katims. Aaron is starring in a 10-part miniseries about a mysterious and controversial religious movement. Michelle Monaghan plays his wife. It’s on Hulu. And he’s also producing it.
See? It’s going to be fine you guys! Strong writing team, prestige project, streaming, straight to series. That’s television (well, some television). That is a few months of steady work and probably a nice paycheque. If it’s a hit, who knows? Anything can happen. Jesse Pinkman was supposed to be killed off in the first season.
While the ink was drying on this deal, Aaron was making dumb Periscope videos about a Jesse Pinkman spin-off. Now that I know this was going on, it makes me wonder “Why?” even more. Is he licking his wounds a bit about going back to TV? Or, because he’s in the middle of filming a movie, was it a secret cry for help? If I had to guess, I’d say the former. Movies are hard, and it feels like almost everyone ends up on TV.
At this moment, to really survive in film, it seems like you need sequels or a superhero contract. Even if it’s not actually the only way, it must seem like that’s the only way. It’s never been easy to become a movie star, but let’s say like Aaron you do a few indie films and then you do a few big budget movies, and nothing sticks. You’ve made 4-5 films that, even if they are quality work, didn’t advance your career in a significant way. That’s 2-4 years gone. It’s like waiting around for a promotion that doesn’t materialize. Can you imagine the all-encompassing frustration that must cause?
TV is much less risky. If a show flops, people forget about it almost instantly. (Remember Viva Laughlin?) But if it’s a hit you get the glory of film –magazine covers, endorsements, awards - without the stress and discomfort of having to source the next job. TV actors (along with writers) can create a character that is bigger than their talent because they have time to build a real person – sometimes they have years! - and they can adjust their choices if things aren’t working. Movies are a train – once they are in motion there’s not much that can be done to course correct. On TV, there is room for redemption.
Emily, the Lainey Gossip site coordinator, and I were talking about this because we are both fans of Aaron (even though I rag on him – I just expect better than social media f-ckery). I told her all was forgiven regarding the dumb prank because I have a soft spot for him. She agreed, saying, “I do too. He will always be Jesse Pinkman.” (Lainey: Sure. But can you forgive the constant stroking he has to give his wife on social media???)
That’s the power of TV. Because one day, if (and big if) Channing Tatum ever starts to act up, we won’t say all is forgiven because he played Magic Mike. Magic Mike is not a person. But Stringer Bell, Tony Soprano, Tyrion, Olivia Pope, Brenda Walsh, Daryl Dixon… these names mean something. You can be a drug dealer or a murderer or a bitchy teenager and people will root for you. (Lainey: the exception is Ashton Kutcher.) When was the last time you loved, were truly invested in, a movie character? We watch people on TV make dumb, irresponsible and sometimes vile decisions week after week and still hope they win. That is magic. So here’s hoping Aaron wins again.