Bryan Cranston left Aaron Paul 'devastated' by Breaking Bad prank

Jacob Stolworthy
Frank Ockenfels / AMC

Aaron Paul was left “utterly devastated” after Bryan Cranston tricked him into believing he had been killed off acclaimed drama series Breaking Bad.

Paul, who is returning as Jesse Pinkman in a feature-length Netflix sequel named El Camino, was originally going to die in the first season, but showrunner Vince Gilligan decided against it.

This inspired his co-star to continually prank Paul each time he received a script.

Paul told 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.”

The actor revealed he felt “sad” on multiple occasions after assuming Cranston was telling the truth about his character’s demise.

“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.”

Paul said that when the writers told him the scripts weren’t ready, he’d get paranoid and think they were holding off “because they know this is where I die”.

Speaking about his decision to keep Pinkman alive, Gilligan said: “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.”

Paul recently named the Breaking Bad scene fans should revisit in preparation for El Camino, which will be available to stream on Netflix from 11 October. More than 10 characters from the TV show will return.