Aaron Paul has been the secret weapon of some of the biggest TV series of the past decade, from his breakout role in Breaking Bad to the beloved Todd on Bojack Horseman. Now, Paul is gearing up for his next big role as Caleb Nichols in the new season of Westworld. Though Paul has had an enviable career, he is soft, grounded, and humble. He likes to take long walks on the beach and take in the sunset. Well, not really, but kind of. He spends the days he’s not working hanging out with his wife and daughter, doesn’t own a computer, and occasionally sips Mezcal. If anyone has it all figured out, it’s Aaron Paul. We took a break from all the Westworld conspiracy theories to ask Paul some questions lifted from Interview‘s own Glenn O’Brien and Andy Warhol.
SHANTI ESCALANTE: Are you ready?
AARON PAUL: Yeah, let’s do this.
ESCALANTE: What was your first role?
PAUL: First role. God. It was either a Kellogg’s Corn Pops commercial or a pilot for MTV called Eva and the Losers.
ESCALANTE: How old were you?
PAUL: I was 17 or 18. It was right after I moved to LA.
ESCALANTE: Did you get good grades in school?
PAUL: It was a hit or miss for me.
ESCALANTE: When you were growing up, did people say you had a natural talent for acting?
PAUL: I would like to think they did.
ESCALANTE: What did you do for fun when you were a teenager?
PAUL: I grew up in a mountain town in Idaho. Well, the capital, Boise. We had a mountain as our backdrop, so I kind of just spent my time skiing and snowboarding.
ESCALANTE: Sounds pretty idyllic.
PAUL: A beautiful spot.
ESCALANTE: Do you go to the movies a lot?
PAUL: A little more difficult with the baby girl at the moment. But yeah, we try to get as many date nights as possible, and we tend to spend those date nights going to the movies.
ESCALANTE: Who do you think is the world’s greatest living artist?
PAUL: Oh god. The world’s greatest living artist. There’s so many. I am obsessed with Mark Ryden, I just loved the worlds that he creates. He’s just such a beautiful painter. I could just sit and stare at his creations for hours.
ESCALANTE: He really has this incredibly surrealist style. So narrative.
PAUL: Very much his own.
ESCALANTE: What’s been your favorite role that you’ve done?
PAUL: I mean, I would have to say Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad. Not only was it just so much fun to be able to play within the Breaking Bad universe, but that was the role that kind of saved me, just opened up so many doors. Vince Gilligan sort of birthed my career from that show.
ESCALANTE: Do you think people should live in outer space?
PAUL: Aren’t we kind of living in the outer space?
ESCALANTE: Do you think the future will be futuristic?
PAUL: [Laughs] I am so happy I didn’t know about these questions. I think everything seems a little bit more futuristic. As a kid, it felt like we were all waiting for the future to arrive, the flying cars, all of that. But it feels like more and more each day we’re kind of living like the Jetsons, and I’m into it.
ESCALANTE: Do you like to work?
PAUL: I love to work.
ESCALANTE: What do you do when you’re not working?
PAUL: Hanging out with my beautiful ladies, my wife, and my baby girl.
ESCALANTE: What time do you get up in the morning?
PAUL: It really depends on what time my baby gets up in the morning. Not really a baby anymore, but she usually starts calling out “dada” around 6AM, 6:30. She is my natural alarm clock.
ESCALANTE: How much time do you spend on the phone every day?
PAUL: I try to spend hardly any time on the phone. I live by the whole “phone down, head up” rule. So yeah, I’m terrible with my phone. I don’t own a computer. I have thousands of unread emails. I’m that kind of guy.
ESCALANTE: Do you know how to dance?
PAUL: Sometimes I think I do.
ESCALANTE: Do you believe in the American dream?
PAUL: What’s the American Dream again?
ESCALANTE: What’s your favorite sport?
PAUL: I don’t really watch sports.
ESCALANTE: Do you believe in god?
PAUL: If you are saying god as being the universe, then maybe, yeah. But a guy sitting on a couch, then no.
ESCALANTE: Do you believe in the end of the world?
PAUL: Do I believe in the end of the world? God, I don’t want the world to end, so no, I don’t believe in that.
ESCALANTE: Do you think the world can be saved?
PAUL: I don’t know.
ESCALANTE: Pepsi or Coke?
PAUL: Is that a serious question? Coke. Obviously, it’s Coke.
ESCALANTE: I think so, too.
PAUL: Pepsi people kind of freak me out.
ESCALANTE: What’s your favorite color?
ESCALANTE: Do you look in the mirror a lot?
PAUL: I don’t think so.
ESCALANTE: Did you ever try to grow a mustache?
PAUL: I’ve tried it out before, but it’s not all that great on my face, I don’t think.
ESCALANTE: Have you ever worn a wig?
PAUL: For work, many times yes.
ESCALANTE: Never for fun?
PAUL: There’ve been many Halloweens that I’ve had wigs on.
ESCALANTE: Do you think there should be any censorship?
PAUL: Oh man. I mean, I’m all about the freedom of speech, but just try to be nice.
ESCALANTE: What’s the first thing you notice when you meet someone new?
PAUL: I’m all about first impressions—eyes and personality.
ESCALANTE: Do you ever get drunk?
PAUL: I used to. I haven’t been drunk in a long time. I like an occasional drink, but I don’t drink to get wasted. There was definitely a time in my life when I did that. Feels like a lifetime ago.
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis Reunite for This New Episode of Black Mirror We’re All In
- Phil Elverum in 2020
- Jai Courtney and Ike Barinholtz Got Together to Roast Trump’s America
- Meet Yukino, the Photographer Who Leaves Her Art to be Found
- Ask a Sane Person: Jia Tolentino on Practicing the Discipline of Hope