El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie writer-director Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad, had one condition for the series' sequel movie: it had to be perfect. Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live ahead of the movie's premiere on Netflix Friday, star Aaron Paul said he was contacted by Gilligan before the ten-year anniversary of Breaking Bad in 2018 with a pitch to reprise his role as Jesse Pinkman. Gilligan wanted to explore the fallout of the series finale, which ended with Jesse's fate unresolved: after spending half a year as a meth-making slave, Jesse was last seen speeding away from a crime scene behind the wheel of a 1978 Chevrolet El Camino.
"He called me, I guess it's been a couple of years now, and we were talking about some fun things we were gonna do surrounding the ten-year anniversary of Breaking Bad — which is just so crazy to think about — but at the end of the call, he's like, 'I have this idea I want to run by you. What are your thoughts on maybe jumping into Jesse Pinkman again?'" Paul said. "I'm like, 'What do you mean?' He's like, 'There's just this idea I can't stop thinking about, but I only want to do it if it's perfect.' I go, 'Vince, I would follow you into a fire. Of course I trust you.'"
With Paul's go ahead, Gilligan spent about seven months penning his script. He then phoned Paul a second time.
"He's like, 'I'm done, and I think it's pretty damn good,'" Paul said. "The thing is with Vince, I mean, he has a legacy to uphold."
According to Paul, the legacy of the five-season series that won 16 Primetime Emmy Awards — including two trophies for Outstanding Drama Series — is in tact.
"If you trusted Vince throughout that entire series, you should absolutely trust him in this film," Paul told Kimmel's audience. "He's the last person that wants to mess with his legacy, and he absolutely crushed it."
El Camino filmed in secrecy across a three-month shoot in New Mexico, same site of Breaking Bad and prequel-sometimes-sequel series Better Call Saul. Because the movie was filmed before the media learned of its existence late last year, Paul claimed he was back in town filming a "passion project."
"People would come up to me — I was on set pretty much every day, but on the weekends, people would come up to me and ask for photos or autographs like, 'What are you doing here?' And I just said, 'I'm doing a little small passion project.' They're like, 'Oh, cool!'" Paul said. "Maybe a couple people would be like, 'Nah, you're doing Better Call Saul.' I'd go, 'No, they're on hiatus. We're using their crew.' We were using their same crew, I didn't tell them that, but yeah, 'They're on hiatus.' They're like, 'I buy it.'"
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie goes live on Netflix in various territories starting Friday, Oct. 11.