If you ever want me to open an email in less than 5 seconds, use the subject line “Aaron Paul.” (Lainey: this is how I got Maria’s attention yesterday.)
EW is reporting that he’s signed on for a DreamWorks feature, Need for Speed, based on an EA video game. Storyline details are scarce because there are several titles in the series, like Need for Speed Run (It’s called The Run. An illicit, high-stakes race across the country. The only way to get your life back is to be the first from San Francisco to New York). Yes a script is being cultivated out of that but Pirates of the Caribbean is based on a ride, so who knows. A fairly unknown director is attached (Scott Waugh, Act of Valor) meaning DreamWorks is banking on Aaron to carry this film and, as EW points out, bring in other big names.
I’m torn. These days, a franchise is part of a healthy career (as Sarah has pointed out, even proper actors aren’t shying away from them anymore). Seeing as DreamWorks brought Aaron on early and it’s a movie based on a car racing (I think?), it has sequel written all over it. A successful franchise will allow him a lot of artistic freedom, which he seems to care about.
But a few things do worry me. What if he can’t pull in a leading lady and supporting cast? I think that is crucial to these types of movies, especially with marketing and promotion – it eases the burden for the star. And then there’s the sticky creative question: will this just be Breaking Bad’s Jesse 2.0 screaming, “Ya, bitch!” every time he accelerates? I don’t think that’s what Aaron wants – or what he signed up for – but studios have a way of eating people with the best intentions. But he’s making his move well in advance of the end of Breaking Bad, which shows that there is a strategy: start building now for smooth transition - no waiting around for scripts or offers.
I see a lot of parallels between Aaron and Taylor Kitsch: talented, good-looking guys who lucked out with incredible, critically acclaimed shows (and both seem grateful for it). Taylor didn’t have to eat John Carter, and that movie was him, front and centre. Between that and Savages, Taylor’s first big push was a wash. He’s back at square one and lucky to be there. It’s a crowded market and Aaron will have to elbow his way in. Maybe a movie based on a video game that say, Channing Tatum would pass on, is just the ticket.
As of now, Need for Speed (God that’s a terrible title) is slated for a February 2014 release. Until then, Smashed came out this weekend and it stars Aaron as a husband in a marriage fuelled by alcoholism; Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally (did you guys know they are married? This makes me so happy) and Octavia Spencer star as well. I’ve been away so I haven’t seen it, though I’m not sure it’s playing in Vancouver yet. If he had a hit franchise under his belt, I would probably have no problem finding a show time.