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Yes, Aaron Paul‘s Filmography Extends Far Beyond ‘Breaking Bad‘

Without a doubt, Aaron Paul is much more than just Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad. Though that character earned him tremendous acclaim, Paul‘s acting career reveals an impressive range across numerous films and TV shows over the past two decades.

When you survey Aaron Paul‘s full body of work, a compelling portrait emerges of a talented, risk-taking actor who refuses to be pigeonholed. While Jessie Pinkman still remains his most iconic role, Paul has proven his versatility time and again through smart, calculated risks in his project selection.

Let‘s take a deeper look at Aaron Paul‘s diverse and eclectic filmography beyond Breaking Bad to fully appreciate the breadth of his talents.

Breaking Out of the Meth Lab

There‘s no denying that Breaking Bad, which aired from 2008-2013, represented Aaron Paul‘s big breakthrough. His complex portrayal of Jesse Pinkman earned widespread critical praise and recognition.

The vulnerable yet turbulent Jesse provided the perfect counterbalance to Bryan Cranston‘s Walter White. Their dynamic partnership anchored the show and kept viewers deeply invested in Jesse‘s emotional journey.

Paul walked away with two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, in 2010 and 2012. This cemented his status as one of the most exciting young actors on the television landscape.

According to critic James Poniewozik, "Pinkman introduced Aaron Paul as one of TV‘s most magnetic performers; his quicksilver changes from bravado to despair electrified every scene." It‘s clear the role made him a star.

But how exactly did Paul follow up this monumental success? Was he consigned to a post-Breaking Bad career slump, or did he adeptly leverage his newfound clout?

Seizing Leading Man Status

Rather than struggling to overcome the shadow of Jesse Pinkman, Aaron Paul fearlessly seized leading man status in his first post-Bad role in Need for Speed (2014).

Transitioning to the film world, Paul shouldered the weight of this $66 million video game adaptation. He portrayed Tobey Marshall, a street racer on a quest for vengeance.

Critics praised Paul‘s charisma and commitment. As Joe Neumaier wrote, "Paul has an unteachable auto-racing insouciance…[he‘s] very good at capturing Tobey‘s melancholy." The movie grossed over $200 million globally.

This commercial and critical success proved Paul could carry a major studio project as its headlining star. It also showcased his natural chemistry as an action lead.

Need for Speed marked the beginning of Paul‘s successful expansion into film – and demonstrated he could enthrall audiences even without Cranston by his side.

Reinvention Across Genres

Rather than sticking to a single type after Need for Speed, Aaron Paul displayed an adventurous spirit by diving into a diverse mix of genres and tones.

He moved fluidly between brooding dramas like 2014‘s Hellion, lighter mainstream comedies like 2016‘s Central Intelligence, and even a biblical epic in Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Paul consistently surprised viewers, keeping them invested in what he would do next. A few highlights of his genre-hopping projects include:

  • Hellion (2014) – This intense Sundance drama sees Paul as the grieving father of a troubled teenager. Critics praised his "raw vulnerability and emotional honesty."

  • Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) – Paul got in touch with his spiritual side playing the biblical figure Joshua alongside Christian Bale‘s Moses.

  • Eye in the Sky (2015) – This thriller about drone warfare saw Paul as a poker-faced drone pilot. Critics hailed his "superb supporting turn."

  • Central Intelligence (2016) – Paul went full comedy alongside Dwayne Johnson in this buddy action flick. His scenes were called "hilarious and endearing."

Rather than play it safe, Paul mixed things up – a risk that paid off in spades for his career. This genre-hopping diversity kept audiences on their toes.

Television Homecomings

Even while exploring new big-screen opportunities, Aaron Paul didn‘t abandon the small screen that made him a star. He notably reprised his Jesse Pinkman role in Netflix‘s 2019 sequel film El Camino.

The movie provided closure for Breaking Bad fans, with Paul giving another emotionally powerful turn as Jesse. As Stephanie Zacharek wrote, "Paul is still an extraordinary actor, loose-limbed and kinetic."

Paul also headlined Hulu‘s 2020 drama series The Path spanning 3 seasons. He played a convert to a controversial religious movement. Though met with mixed reviews, the show offered Paul the chance to showcase his dramatic chops in yet another complex TV role.

He also joined the cast of Westworld‘s fourth season in 2022. Paul has proven he can slip seamlessly between mediums when the right project comes along.

Recent Projects

Even nearly 15 years after Breaking Bad first premiered, Aaron Paul continues to make exciting, unexpected choices. He isn‘t content to just coast on past success.

Some of his recent films that demonstrate Paul‘s enduring creative ambition include:

  • Welcome Home (2018) – A romantic thriller that sees Paul play an unhinged stalker. Critics praised his "chilling and committed performance."

  • The Parts You Lose (2019) – This indie drama features Paul as a fugitive who befriends a young deaf boy. Reviews lauded his "excellent work."

  • Run (2020) – Paul stars opposite Sarah Paulson in this thriller as a homeschooled teenager searching for the truth about his mother.

  • Dual (2022) – One of Paul‘s most offbeat roles yet, this sci-fi film sees him play a man with a terminal illness who opts to have himself cloned.

Rather than play it safe as a respected veteran, Paul continues to opt for challenging, provocative projects. He still approaches each new role with an admirable sense of creative hunger.

Paul‘s recent slate makes it clear he has zero interest in coasting on past success from Breaking Bad or settling into predictable roles.

Critical Acclaim Beyond Bad

A survey of Paul‘s roles beyond Breaking Bad reveals the sheer breadth of his acting abilities. He has earned widespread critical acclaim for his nuanced performances across a staggering variety of genres and mediums.

Some noteworthy praise Paul has received that further cements him as a talent to watch includes:

  • "A consistently watchable actor" – Variety on his performance in A Long Way Down (2014)

  • "Imbues his character with such vulnerability" – Hollywood Reporter on Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

  • "Has matured into a fine and controlled actor" – Screen Daily on Eye in the Sky (2015)

  • "Perfectly cast and entirely convincing" – Hollywood Reporter on Central Intelligence (2016)

  • "Raw vulnerability paired with emotional honesty" – IndieWire on Hellion (2014)

  • "He‘s an extraordinary actor, loose-limbed and kinetic" – New York Times on El Camino (2019)

No matter the genre, Paul earns consistent raves for his total commitment and willingness to dive headfirst into any role. His consistent acclaim proves his mettle as a versatile performer.

By the Numbers: Paul‘s Box Office Impact

Beyond the critical laurels, Aaron Paul has also demonstrated commercial clout that can‘t be understated. According to The Numbers database, a snapshot of his box office track record shows:

  • Need for Speed (2014) – $203 million worldwide
  • Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) – $268 million worldwide
  • Eye in the Sky (2016) – $37 million worldwide
  • Central Intelligence (2016) – $217 million worldwide

For an actor without traditional leading man looks, this level of box office success is extremely impressive. Paul is an undisputed draw for audiences worldwide.

In total, the global box office gross of Aaron Paul‘s post-Breaking Bad films exceeds $725 million. He has definitively proven his commercial viability and consistency at the box office.

Total Acting Credits: A Dramatic Arc

When you analyze the entirety of Aaron Paul‘s acting credits across a two-decade span, a compelling arc emerges.

He evolved from a young actor in minor TV roles to a three-dimensional, emotionally complex leading man with two Primetime Emmys and global fame.

Paul could have rested on his Breaking Bad success. Instead, he pivoted nimbly into a thriving film career and continues expanding the boundaries of his talents.

Here is a complete overview of Aaron Paul‘s filmography that illustrates the dramatic scale of his evolution:

Aaron Paul: Complete Film & TV Credits

1999Melrose PlaceFrat BoyTV Series
2000Beverly Hills 90210ChadTV Series
2000Locust ValleyToddMovie
2000K-PAXMichael PowellMovie
2001Kate BrasherGoth KidTV Series
2003CSI: MiamiChad CaperTV Series
2003King of the HillBad Boy No. 1 (voice)TV Series
2004Perfect OppositesMonty BrandtMovie
2004ThiefChrisTV Series
2005Point of OriginTravisTV Movie
2005Veronica MarsEddie LarocheTV Series
2006Mission: Impossible IIIRick MeadeMovie
2006VanishedMalcolmTV Series
2006Big LoveScott QuittmanTV Series
2007K-VilleKenny ValentiTV Series
2007The Last House on the LeftDeputy StubbsMovie
2008-2013Breaking BadJesse PinkmanTV Series
2009Smurfs: The Lost VillageGutsy Smurf (voice)Movie
2014Need for SpeedTobey MarshallMovie
2014A Long Way DownJ.J.Movie
2014Exodus: Gods and KingsJoshuaMovie
2015Eye in the SkySteve WattsMovie
2016Central IntelligencePhilMovie
2017BoJack HorsemanTodd Chavez (voice)TV Series
2017The PathEddie LaneTV Series
2018Welcome HomeAaronMovie
2019El Camino: A Breaking Bad MovieJesse PinkmanMovie
2019The Parts You LoseCurtis McCabeMovie
2020RunJohn "Father" WallisTV Series
2020AdamJosh GoldburgMovie
2022DualPeter / Peter 2Movie
2022WestworldCaleb NicholsTV Series

This exhaustive credits list showcases the sheer volume and variety of roles Paul has taken on. He has fully broken out of the Breaking Bad mold to forge a distinctive identity.

The Final Verdict on Paul

When you analyze the full breadth of his filmography, the evidence is clear: Aaron Paul absolutely transcends just being Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad.

Through smart, creative choices, he has crafted a thriving career as a versatile actor across mediums and genres. Paul has consistently earned critical acclaim for his ability to disappear completely into any role.

Rather than playing it safe, Paul has courageously tackled provocative and challenging material. He still approaches each new project with an admirable work ethic and creative hunger.

So next time you think of Aaron Paul, make room in your mind for more than just Jesse Pinkman. Paul has given us so many more diverse, fascinating characters and performances over an acclaimed two-decade career and counting.

His bold artistic choices and reinventions reveal an actor committed to the craft. Aaron Paul has dramatically expanded his range far beyond a single iconic role. When his full body of work is considered, Paul emerges as one of the most exciting actors of his generation.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.