Aaron Paul Got Beat Up and Hospitalized While Filming ‘Breaking Bad’: ‘I Kept Pleading Stop’

One of the most critically-acclaimed and popular shows in television history is the drug-dealing drama Breaking BadThe show follows the misadventures of brilliant high school science teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) as he navigates his new and difficult position of large-scale meth-making and dealing.

Breaking Bad has been praised for its high-stakes drama and violence, while still remaining incredibly realistic. This realism helped to make the show as respected as it is, but in one scene of a season two episode, that realism turned dangerous for one of the stars of the show Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman). 

Who is ‘Breaking Bad’ star Aaron Paul? 

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Paul’s character in Breaking Bad is the fouled-mouth Jesse Pinkman. Jesse is a drug-dealer and an extremely troubled and tragic figure in the series.

Jesse is Walt’s former student and assists him in his rise as the meth manufacturer and later leader of a drug empire. The two have many arguments and issues throughout the drama but are unbreakably linked together because of their crimes and relationship.

Jesse was also the focus of his own Netflix original film, El CaminoThe movie followed Pinkman after the show’s thrilling conclusion after five seasons. The show also was spun off into the popular series Better Call Saul, which stars Bob Odenkirk and follows various fan-favorite characters from Breaking Bad. 

What happened in ‘Breaking Bad’ episode ‘Grilled’ 

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In an early episode of Breaking Bad titled Grilled, Walt and Jesse are kidnapped by the dangerous drug lord Tuco Salamanca (Raymond Cruz). This is Tuco’s final appearance in the show, and the first appearance of Tuco’s infamous Uncle Tio, Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis).

The bell-ringing Hector is one of the show’s most iconic characters, despite appearing in only eight episodes total. The episode is episode two of the show’s second season, which finds the main characters still finding their way in the chaotic world of meth-making and dealing.

In the episode, Jesse and Walt are dragged to Hector’s desert home, where Walt attempts to poison Tuco in order to escape their captor. Walt’s plan is thwarted by the bell of Uncle Tio, and an enraged Tuco attacks Jesse and Walt.

The episode ends with Walt and Jesse escaping from Tuco’s clutches, with the assistance from Walt’s brother-in-law and DEA agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris). The violent episode is one of the best in the show’s history, even though it had a dangerous incident that occurred during shooting.  

What happened to Paul during ‘Grilled?’

Aaron Paul
Aaron Paul | Jerod Harris/Getty Images

During the shooting of an especially shocking and violent part of the fight scene in the episode, Paul was actually injured by Cruz. The scene involved Tuco attempting to kill Jesse, with Jesse being thrown a screen door as he attempts to escape.

The stunt went wrong, and Paul was stuck in a compromising position while Cruz continued to kick and beat him. Paul yelled out multiple times that he was being injured and for Cruz to stop, but it seemed to those involved that it was just part of the scene.

Paul was also dazed by his injuries and continued acting. This resulted in the producers and crew thinking that his cries for help were part of his realistic acting. Paul is a tremendously talented actor, but his cries were genuine as Cruz was hurting one of the show’s main stars.

Eventually, the crew realized that Paul was actually hurt, and stopped the fight and scene. The footage was used in the episode, which is part of the reason the fight looks so real and terrifying.

Paul was hospitalized with a concussion and a swollen eye. Ever the professional, Paul insisted that the production resume and the crew finished shooting the episode before Paul was taken to the hospital for further treatment.