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Aaron Paul: "I'll see anything Helen Mirren's in"

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The Breaking Bad star talks fan mail, Stranger Things and dubious Juicy Fruit adverts 

Aaron, we’re living in a bloody good time for TV, aren’t we?
People have been saying we’ve been living in the Golden Age of television for so long, but there are just so many incredible series out there right now, it’s hard to choose where to start. It’s great that you can watch them at your own convenience. 

You are a big fan of Stranger Things. Is it the standalone idea you liked or did it remind you of shows you used to watch?
I would have liked it just as a standalone idea, but for me it was very nostalgic. I grew up in the Eighties so I was definitely on my BMX bike, taking over my neighbourhood. I love it as a period piece: you didn’t see cell phones everywhere; you didn’t see everyone glued to those screens. There was a freedom. I love the music. It feels like early Spielberg. 

Do you binge-watch these shows with your wife?
She fell asleep watching the first episode. I watched three in a row that night and I ended up finishing it the next day. I just rewatched it. It really does just get better and better.

I watched Breaking Bad and The Sopranos twice. It’s good to know I’m not alone.

Well, I love you, first of all. Thank you. Television shows are so well done that it’s very easy to just start over again. I love that people are doing that.

Back in the day you starred in many a commercial. Looking back, do any stand out as super-weird?
I’ve done so many commercials. When you move to LA to be an actor, it’s hard to get your foot in the door. So if you’re lucky enough to get a national commercial you take it. I did a commercial for Juicy Fruit. It was me trying to move a spoon with my mind and then I see this Juicy Fruit pack in this doctor’s coat pocket. I try to get the Juicy Fruit out of his pocket and I rip off his shirt and he ends up ripping off my trousers and I fall backwards. That’s what I did all day, just have my trousers ripped off and fly backwards in my chair. 

Do you miss those days or are you glad they’re behind you?
No, I don’t miss those days. It was just a sh*tshow in those auditions. You’d go inside a waiting room and there’d be 40 guys who kinda looked like you. You’re just a face in the background. It wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.

Aaron Paul

 

You’ve not yet transformed yourself physically for a role. Do you yearn to put on an enormous wig and a set of false teeth?
My God, who doesn’t? I did a film where I wore four or five different sets of wigs, years ago. Such a painful experience, the way they attached the wigs to my head with these tiny little springs. It was awful. But yeah, that’d be great. And I do have a film coming out soon where I do just that and I’m very excited about it. It’s called The 9th Life Of Louis Drax. Four hours in make-up every day putting on 
a crazy suit was a lot of fun.

Your voice is quite famous. Have you been approached to record any audiobooks?
I don’t know, but I like where you’re going with this. I have not been approached but if anyone’s reading this I am open to that.

When people send you fan mail, do they send it to your agent or find out where you live? 
It’s kind of a combination of both: 99 per cent of the stuff goes through my team and they’ll give it to me on a quarterly basis. But a lot of stuff goes straight to our home. When Lauren and I got married, we got so many gifts from strangers. We get a lot of wedding invites sent to our house. We always joke about how one day we’re gonna RSVP to one and just go.

You’re 36 now but look 22. What do you do exercise-wise?
Oh man. I went for a run last night. I grew up in Idaho so I was pretty much born with skis on my feet. There’s nothing but mountains and rivers and lakes where I grew up. That’s what I love. I love hiking, I love being outside, I love being in the mountains.

I’ve written in my notes, ‘Let’s talk about Helen Mirren for a while.’ You share some intense scenes with her in Eye In The Sky. How fantastic is she?
She’s just the best. We never really worked together; all her stuff was done before I began. They set up a dinner with Helen and I, our director and some producers. She was already there; I walked in; and she was sipping on a cocktail and it was just whisky – neat. Just straight-up whisky. I thought to myself, “My God, I have fallen deeper in love with Helen Mirren.” 

She’s going to be in the new Fast & Furious film. Are you thinking of going?
I’ll see anything that she’s in.

Eye In The Sky is out now on DVD and Blu-ray

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