‘Breaking Bad’: Bryan Cranston Played a Cruel Prank on Aaron Paul During Season 1

Breaking Bad will always be remembered as one of the greatest television shows of all time. The show’s masterful writing, offbeat humor, and unforgettable characters have made it a fan favorite for several years. 

Actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, the two main characters in Breaking Bad, have an undeniable on-screen chemistry that makes their scenes riveting. The two became close friends while working on the show, and joked around with each other a lot while on set. 

In fact, Cranston played a pretty mean prank on Paul during the early days of Breaking Bad.

Bryan Cranston made Aaron Paul think his character was getting killed off 

Bryan Cranston attends The American Associates Of The National Theatre Celebrate “Network” at The Rainbow Room | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

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Cranston told the story behind the trick he played on Paul during a recent interview with BBC. According to Cranston, Paul was never supposed to be a recurring character in the show, and  his character was initially supposed to be killed very early into Breaking Bad

“Aaron Paul was supposed to only be in the first season of Breaking Bad,” Cranston said. “My character’s introduction to street-level drug dealing. So they were gonna kill him off in the fourth or fifth episode.”

Cranston thought it was funny to continuously pester Paul about his impending death on Breaking Bad.

“I kept reading and telling him, ‘Oh man, you know, one of the best things that any actor can do in Cinema is a good death scene, and boy, you’ve got a great one coming up, man’” Cranston said. “‘Oh, so good.’”

Aaron Paul was devastated by the prank

Unfortunately, Paul didn’t find Cranston’s prank very funny. He recalled the experience during a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter

“He would say, ‘Hey, did you read the next script?’ And I’d go, ‘Nah, did you get it?’ And he’s like, ‘Oh.’ And he just would give me this big hug.”

Paul was heartbroken by the thought that his time on Breaking Bad would be coming to an end so soon. 

“I was honestly, utterly devastated [because] I thought I was signing onto, like, a full series,” he said, adding that Cranston would say, “Hey man, you know, it had to end sometime, but at least you go out, like, guns blazing.”

Vince Gilligan couldn’t get rid of Aaron Paul

Even though Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan came close to killing off Paul’s character, Jesse Pinkman, he decided against it. Everyone involved with the show had grown fond of Paul, and the potential for his character was far too great to let go of. 

“I knew by episode two – we all did, all of us, our wonderful directors and our wonderful producers – everybody knew just how good [Paul] is, and a pleasure to work with, and it became pretty clear early on that it would be a huge, colossal mistake to kill off Jesse.”

Although they no longer work in television together, Cranston and Paul still remain good friends and business partners