Can’t get enough of Boise’s Aaron Paul?

Check out the story in the Sept. 22 Idaho Statesman and watch him on the Emmy Awards at 6 p.m. on CBS, while you DVR “Breaking Bad” at 7 p.m. on AMC.

Bringing an episode of “Breaking Bad” to Boise felt like coming full circle for actor Aaron Paul. He spent a few minutes with me before the live stream of the show Sept. 15.

Here is the full text of my interview with Aaron Paul.

Dana Oland: So, it must feel pretty good to be back here for this.

Aaron Paul: I used to come to this theater and just fall in love with films here, and wanting to be in the films here. I remember coming here and seeing the premiere here. Not be in the theater but being outside wanting to get a glimpse. I remember seeing Michelle Pfeiffer not sure what movie that was.

Michael Hoffman actually gave me tickets to the after party, although I didn’t know who he was at the time. He saw me waiting, looking at all the people and seeing them celebrating film.

That was so exciting seeing that in my hometown. I always knew from a young age that wanted to do that. The fact that I’m actually back in Boise inside this theater I’ve totally been in love with, and to give back when I can.

Aaron Paul in the upstairs greenroom at the Egyptian Theatre.

Aaron Paul in the upstairs greenroom at the Egyptian Theatre.

DO: So do you feel you’re building on a legacy?

AP: I guess so. I think what the legacy is, is just giving back to your community and remembering your roots. Never forgetting where you came from  — Idaho, Idaho Statesman you guys have always been unbelievably supportive.

(Paul takes a break from the interview to organize another ticket giveaway with his friend Philip Waller.)

DO: I followed all the stuff on Twitter. It got pretty crazy. Is that how you like to interact with your fans?

AP: I’ve always just looked eye to eye with my fans. I’m just like them, they’re just like me we’re all just people living on this planet. A lot of people put up a wall (but) I don’t see there being a barrier. What I do — maybe to a fault — because now people show up at my house and knock on the door when my wife’s there alone. It’s gets a little scary at times.

But I want to communicate that I’m a normal person. They’re a normal person. We’re just people doing what we do.

DO: Is that attitude how you keep yourself grounded? I mean a lot of people might let this success go to their heads.

AP: Fame doesn’t make people turn into bad people; it just really shows what that person was all along inside before that fame. Money doesn’t destroy people; it just brings out the honesty within them.

I’m doing (all of this) for the reason that I love the craft. I love acting, and transforming into characters. I’m so unbelievably passionate about it.

And I wanted to spread the message of support your local arts when you can, support the local theater when you can. Without them you have no local history. It’s all about keeping the history within in the small towns, and within the big towns. Someday it’s just going to be a Starbucks on every corner or a big giant theater chain on every corner — and good for them. I’ve got nothing against the major theater chains, but they tend to muscle out the independents and the family owned theaters. The Egyptian, the (Hardy) family has been running for many, many years.  And I want to support them whenever I can.

DO: It’s obvious being from a place like Boise didn’t hurt your career, but do you think being from a place that’s kind of regionally exotic actually helped?

AP: Maybe who knows  — I love that Boise’s still under the radar. When I say I’m from Idaho, it’s funny, people act in almost disgust, because they think it’s just a giant field of potatoes. They know nothing about. In reality we all know that’s not the case. It’s gorgeous. Let’s keep it that way. I’m proud to be an Idahoan. I come back here as often as I can. I love that it’s still a secret.

DO: So what have you learned from playing Jesse Pinkman?

AP: Drugs are bad and stay far, far away from them. What I love about Jesse (he laughed and then gets a bit misty). When the world was introduced to him we saw him as this kind of lost, bumbling idiot, druggie burn-out loser. Which technically he is but we dove deeper into that and saw the layers beneath the surface and you saw that he was a human. I love him so much and I miss him everyday. Jesse Pinkman was the role of my lifetime.

DO: Do you think the work you did over the arc of the show is what stopped you from being typecast and loveable drug dealer?

AP: Probably. At least I hope so. It’s about trying to do something completely polar opposite from Jesse. A lot of offers have come my way — some are ‘please play a loveable drug addict. I think you’d be perfect’. I’m like well, thank you, that’s a stretch.

I find myself to be a character actor and I want to play polar opposites as much as I can. People who know my work now see me as this drug dealer. People who knew my work before saw me as this ex-Mormon kid, straight-laced tie wearing kid on “Big Love.”

I was doing that simultaneously with Jesse Pinkman in that first season.

I’m trying to do different things. You see this beard?  I just wrapped a film last night where I played a father of two who lost his wife a year before the story starts. It’s about him struggling to keep his family together but he’s emotionally absent. he’s checked out, he’s gone because the love of his life is gone and he blames himself for that.

DO: That was “Hellion,” right?

AP: Yea. Kat Chandler, she wrote and directed it. She’s brilliant and is going to be a force. We did that film for nothing. Octavia Smith, who just won and Oscar, did it for pretty much zero dollars.  We didn’t really get paid on it. I did this movie called “Smashed” a few years ago. We did that for nothing, too.

DO: “Decoding Annie Parker”?

AP: Oh, yea, I did that for nothing, too.Then I start a film — a biblical tale (“Exodus,” directed by Ridley Scott, starring Christian Bale as Moses and Paul as Joshua). That’s quite different than Jesse. Ben Kingsley’s my father. It’s crazy.

DO: It’s also got Sigourney Weaver, John Turturro and Joel Edgerton. That won’t be for nothing.

AP: No, “Exodus “is definitely not for nothing. It’s Ridley Scott he knows what he’s doing.

Posted in ArtsBeat