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Aaron Paul Never Shook Making 'Need for Speed', Says He Used to Dream as Pinkman

Scott Waugh and Aaron Paul (Photo by Zimbio) Speaking with the star and director of Need for Speed, it's easy too see why Dreamworks gave these guys $66 million to make a live action version of the popular video game. They definitely live and breathe this stuff. Aaron Paul, the Breaking Bad star, and Scott Waugh, the former stunt man, are both adrenaline junkies who consider 100 mph child's play. 

The film follows Paul as a gearhead who ends up in prison for a crime he didn't commit. He's released years later and takes a deal to deliver the fastest car on Earth to a buyer in San Francisco, but he's got bounty hunters on his tail and only a short time to make it. 

We spoke to Paul and Waugh at Waterbar in San Francisco about Need for Speed and found out how fast Aaron was really driving, if he ever got scared making the movie, and whether or not anyone got to keep the amazing cars used in the film. We also had to ask Paul a little about playing Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad, obviously. 

Zimbio: Aaron, were you ever in fear
for your life making this movie?

Aaron Paul: Actually, no, to be honest... because everything you see in the film was caught in-camera. There was no CGI, no green screen. He (points at Scott) would never put me in harm's way. You wouldn't right? 
Scott Waugh: Only off the set. 
Paul: (Laughs) Only off the set.
Waugh: You hanging out with me is definitely problematic and life-threatening.
Paul: Right, no I always felt extremely safe. Safety was everyone's first priority.
Waugh: Yeah, I was a stunt man my whole life so I'm actually very safety-conscious, extremely... and I know Aaron's capabilities as a driver are incredible so I could push the envelope a lot with what I would normally let an actor do. But with Aaron, I could do some amazing stunts. And I would never ask him to exceed his capabilities. That's not really responsible.
Paul: No.

Zimbio: How fast did you let him go?
Waugh: 125

Zimbio: That was the top?
Waugh: That was the speed I would let him get up to that I knew he was still under full control. When we started getting up to 200 plus, we had some of the best stunt drivers in the world. It was great.

Zimbio: So Scott, in your opinion, who's tougher, Aaron or Imogen (Poots)?
Waugh: Tougher? I mean obviously Aaron Paul. When we were looking for this character, I wanted to find the next young, edgy Steve McQueen and I personally feel like...
Paul: You find him?
Waugh: ...Yeah and her name's Imogen. (Both laugh) No, Aaron's as cool as it gets. I would never think of Imogen as tough. I would think of her as talented.

Zimbio: Interesting, she comes off as tough in the movie.
Paul: She's a very strong female character. Incredibly talented, but yeah she's definitely a strong woman as well.

Zimbio: Did you get to keep any of the cars?
Paul: I got to keep all of them actually. No... (laughs)
Waugh: You didn't tell me that.
Paul: Yeah well, they didn't want you to know. Dreamworks thought you'd get a little jealous I got to keep the Koenigsegg and all the Lamborghinis. No, I didn't get to keep... actually we were fighting over our favorite car in the film, my character, Tobey's car is a '68 Gran Torino. 

Zimbio: So you guys mentioned McQueen, were there any other performances in movie history you looked at?
Paul: Honestly, the only person I studied, if I were to study, was Steve. I grew up just loving what he was all about. He lived and breathed cars his entire life... He was a racer before he was an actor and I thought he was a perfect person to watch and study.
Waugh: There were a couple guys I had him look at that were real race car drivers. I told Aaron to just watch them, their body language, everything, there's such a distinctive style to them and Aaron was great at adapting his physical to how these guys are. 

Zimbio: Aaron I wanted to ask you one Breaking Bad question. Jesse was such an emotional character, I wondered how you separated him from your real life and didn't take him home with you?
Paul: The first couple seasons, while we were shooting, I did take him home with me. I was practicing more of the method type of approach and just staying in the character's skin. But the more Jesse went down that dark rabbit hole, it got too much. I started dreaming as if I were Jesse and it was becoming too much, the bad guys chasing after me with guns and me saying "Yo!"
Zimbio: (Laughs)
Paul: (Jesse voice) "Yo! Stop shooting at me!" I learned while shooting, it's just healthy to unzip that skin and kind of take a shower and be yourself for a couple hours before jumping back into it. 

Zimbio: Okay, thanks so much you guys.
Paul: Thank you buddy, really appreciate it. Thanks for coming in.
Waugh: Thanks, Joe

Watch the complete interview below:
View Aaron Paul Pictures »
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