Sundance: Aaron Paul was no 'Hellion'
05:00 AM, Jan 22, 2014
PARK CITY, Utah For Aaron Paul, movies like Hellion will be steering the way from now on.
Though the Breaking Badstar has big, studio-sized films in the works, including the street racing movie Need for Speed and Exodus (opposite Christian Bale),”I’m trying to do more films like Hellion,” Paul says in the green room after his gritty family tale screened for festival-goers at Sundance on Tuesday. “I do films like Need for Speed so I can do passion projects. Because we don’t really get paid on the passion projects, which is fine.”
Hellion is the 34-year-old actor’s “first hands-on, from the very beginning (project),” says Paul, who plays Hollis, a grieving, blue-collar father of 13-year-old troublemaker Jacob, (newcomer Josh Wiggins) and sweet 10-year-old, Wes (Deke Garner), who looks to be going the way of his brother. After their mother dies in a tragic accident, Paul’s bereft character has a limited ability to straighten their course, and loses custody of Wes to his sister-in-law (Juliette Lewis).
“I read the script and I just fell in love with this family and the struggles they were going through. I could relate,” says Paul, who met with director Kat Candler on the Georgia set of Need for Speed.
The hardest part was finding “the perfect Jacob,” says Paul, until they came across an audition tape from Wiggins, 15, who had never starred in a film. Wiggins, who has broken out at the festivaql as an actor to watch, is a bit shy sitting next to Paul, and credits the older actor with mentoring him on set.
“It’s his movie,” says Paul. “He needs to be a kid that everyone relates to, that everyone loves and they understand why he’s doing all these reckless activities,” like lighting fires and starting fights.
Paul grins when a reporter brings up his classic dad-line uttered in the film: “Don’t make me get up out of this chair.” After years of seeing Paul onscreen with Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad, it seems slightly improbable for the youthful Paul (who is bearded in the film) to have children so old.
But he reckons it’s possible, “maybe if I had him at 21. My sister had a baby at a very young age, at 16. She (Paul’s niece) now has a child, so my sister is a grandmother! It’s pretty crazy. It’s great. I love kids.”
Wiggins and Paul both deny being young hellions themselves. “Not really,” says Paul. “I grew up in a pretty strict religious upbringing. But it wasn’t crazy, it was just, ‘Don’t cuss. Don’t drink. And read the Bible. If you’re going to sneak out, write us a note and let us know where you went.’ ”
But, he adds, “that just made me not want to sneak out! . I had my first beer at 19.” Amazingly, “that was (after) two years living on my own in Los Angeles.”