Due respect to Bryan Cranston, but Aaron Paul’s greatest co-star may be Bob Barker. Before BoJack Horseman, before Breaking Bad and even before Birds of Prey, the actor made a memorable appearance as a contestant on CBS’s eternally popular game show The Price Is Right. “If you haven’t seen it, look it up,” Paul said when he dropped by the BUILD by Yahoo studios to discuss the feature-length Breaking Bad sequel, El Camino, which is currently streaming on Netflix. “Really, it was one of my finest performances.” (Watch the interview above and Paul’s Price Is Right appearance below.)
Paul is certainly quite the character on The Price Is Right, wearing the CBS logo on his back and displaying a disturbing amount of enthusiasm. “I was wearing a full-on costume,” he says now. “I had a CBS bumper sticker on my back — I was a walking billboard for their network. I was like, ‘I gotta get picked!’” Paul showed up at 4:30 in the morning to be part of the studio audience, and prepared for his role of “Overeager Contestant” with the help of that liquid courage known as Red Bull. “I had this Big Gulp-sized cup, and filled it up with six cans of Red Bull,” Paul says, alternately embarrassed and proud by his prep work. “Which is very dangerous by the way! I look like I’m on drugs. ...I cannot sit still.”
In that way, Paul’s Price Is Right guest spot was perfect preparation for playing Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman, who actually is on drugs for the early seasons of the show, before he moves over to the business side of things. El Camino checks in with Jesse after the events of the series finale, which ended with the death of Pinkman’s mentor and partner, Walter White (Cranston) — but not before he freed his pupil from a neo-Nazi prison. Despite being dead, Walt makes a cameo appearance towards the end of El Camino, and creator Vince Gilligan went to great lengths to hide that surprise from the public.
As Paul explains, both he and Cranston had to wear “Star Wars cloaks” over their heads before shooting that scene so they wouldn’t be spotted by the general public. “We wore them in the car heading to set, and then walking from the car to the set. I just thought, ‘This is drawing so much attention!’ But it worked.” And this time, no Red Bull was required.
El Camino and Breaking Bad are currently streaming on Netflix