By Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood February 24, 2014 at 8:38PM
Sundance Selects has acquired North American rights to writer/director Kat Candler's "Hellion," which world premiered to solid reviews at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The film stars Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis and Josh Wiggins. After racking up four Emmy noms and two wins for his now-storied performance as Jesse Pinkman on "Breaking Bad," how will Aaron Paul's career fare in Hollywood?
In "Hellion," Aaron Paul isn't the leading man. That would be newcomer and youngster Josh Wiggins, starring as a 13-year-old kid whose interests (heavy metal, dirt bikes, vandalism) are fairly flush with Pinkman's meth-cook-with-a-heart-of-gold. Paul plays the father who drowns his sorrows, and delusions of grandeur, at the bar.
"Hellion" hits theaters and VOD later this year. But Paul has a bevy of other projects in the trunk, among them "Need For Speed," heading toward wide release on March 14. The $66-million actioner, lifted from a highly successful video game franchise, was produced by DreamWorks and will be distributed by Disney, who pushed the film during the Super Bowl.
Also coming down the Paul pike will be Ridley Scott's latest epic "Exodus," and indie UK comedy "A Long Way Down" from the celebrated novel by "About A Boy" scribe Nick Hornby. In 2012, Paul wowed in another modest Sundance hit "Smashed," opposite Mary Elizabeth Winstead. They're fine and in love when they're both drinking to excess. But their relationship falters when she tries to stay on the wagon. Clearly, Paul excels at playing washed-up, morally troubled dreamers with baggage.
With the passionate "Breaking Bad" fan-base in mind, how will "Need for Speed" play? At the box office, video game adaptations historically do spotty business, with few breakout franchises on the level of "Resident Evil." So far Paul has fared best with smarthouse films. We'll see how he finds his footing in more mainstream studio fare, depending on the success of "Need for Speed" (check out BoxOffice.com's forecast here).
"Need"-less to say, we're behind him.