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With 'Hellion' Locked for US Distribution, Where Will Star Aaron Paul's Career Land Post-'Breaking Bad'?

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! February 24, 2014 at 8:38PM

Sundance Selects has acquired North American rights to writer/director Kat Candler's "Hellion," which world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The film stars Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis and Josh Wiggins. So 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?
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Aaron Paul in 'Need For Speed'
Aaron Paul in 'Need For Speed'

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.

This article is related to: News, Acquisitions, Sundance Film Festival, Festivals, Television, Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.