BEFORE THE SCENE: with Aaron Paul

by AJ Buckley on August 14, 2010

Before the Scene is where we all start. In a small town with our families. In front of a mirror with our friends. The days spent sleeping on a couch. The nights working at a bar. Living with the unknown and surrounded by uncertainty. It’s about the times that define us. It’s about the darkness just before the limelight.
??Aaron is currently starring as Jesse Pinkman in the AMC series Breaking Bad, and playing a recurring role as Scott on the HBO series, Big Love. He has starred in film such as Mission: Impossible III, K-Pax, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and Last House on the Left. He will next star in Wreckage, due out sometime in 2010.
Q: What made you want to become an actor?
A: I have always been interested in “make believe.” Acting to me is transforming into another person and living those feelings of that particular character. It’s such a nice release, to be honest. A cheap form of therapy. You can laugh and cry and chase someone down or hold a loved one close to you all in the same day as someone else. It’s a fantasy of sorts.

Q: What was your biggest fear?
A: Not making this dream of mine come true, I guess. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else that would fulfill me the same way the arts do. It’s a form of expression and expression is good.

Q: What was your lowest point?
A: I can’t really recall my lowest point to be honest. I know I had my day-to-day struggles throughout my career but at the end of the day, I am happy things went down the way they did. There is so much rejection in this business but you just can’t take it personal. I am thankful for the struggles now. I appreciate it more.

Q: What kept you from walking away?
A: Everything.

Q: What did you walk away from?
A: I moved to L.A. at seventeen and left my family behind. It was the easiest thing that I have ever done. My family and I are very close and I see them as much as possible. Nothing could keep me away from this city.

Q: Who was your closest ally?
A: I can’t really answer that. I have many allies that I love and adore like family. I love the **** out of them.

Q: What were you doing the morning before the audition that changed your life?
A: I remember the morning I was going in for Breaking Bad and I thought to myself, “Do not **** this up.” I mean the script to that pilot was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever read and I knew I had to do something special in the room. I didn’t think this show would even get picked up because of the subject matter and I applaud AMC and Sony for being brave enough to tell this story. But yeah that day was very nerve-wracking.

Q: What were the words that kept you going?
A: The strong will survive. A friend told me that once, right when I moved to L.A. He said, “If you want it bad enough and if you want it for the right reasons, it will happen for you.” L.A. eats dreams alive and sends people back to where they moved from. He said to me, “Just remember…the strong will survive.” I will never forget that.

Q: How have you changed?
A: I respect [Los Angeles], this land of dreams. I guess I always have but now it’s in a much bigger way. I have a stronger skin about me. I ignore all the B.S. whereas before I might have taken it personally.

Q: What words do you have to inspire others?
A: If you have something you want to do with your life, no matter how crazy it may sound, you should do it. Live your life with no regrets.
Over the past five years, AJ Buckley has starred as Adam Ross on the hit TV show CSI:NY. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, he has spent the past ten years in Los Angeles, California, acting and writing. AJ’s latest project, Skateland, is currently screening in the film festival circuit. He is also currently writing and starring in the web series GhostFacers for Warner Brothers. Find out more at