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Aaron Paul Got Into Character For Breaking Bad By Exploring Shady Parts Of Albuquerque

Aaron Paul's performance as Jesse Pinkman on "Breaking Bad" has already gone down as one of the most memorable in recent television history. From the first season, Paul brought a humorous humanity to his character. But as seasons progressed, and as Jesse experienced tragedy after devastating tragedy, Paul's range became apparent, revealing real depth and versatility. Creator Vince Gilligan's decision to not kill off the character at the end of Season 1 was very wise indeed. 

Playing a role with that level of intensity for that length of time can leave its mark on an actor, getting under their skin to a surprising degree. Speaking with Vulture in the lead-up to the premiere of "El Camino," Paul admitted as much to Brian Raftery. "He was real to me," he said. "I loved Jesse. I cared for him. I wanted him to be okay." It was apparently one of the reasons that he so enthusiastically agreed to do "El Camino."

Sure enough, Paul is far from the only actor who has had this kind of experience. But while many actors are surprised to see themselves changed forever after a great role, Paul apparently had trouble turning off Jesse even while he was playing him.

'I would never break away'

Speaking with Sam Jones of Off Camera, Aaron Paul detailed the way in which he found himself inhabiting Jesse's world well after the cameras stopped rolling. "Especially the first couple of seasons, I would never really break away from who I thought this kid was," he said. "And so I'd go home and, you know, I would hang out in very shady areas of Albuquerque."

Though Paul doesn't say specifically which areas he was hanging out in, Albuquerque has its share of areas with unwholesome reputations. Which is to say that it's like just about every city on the planet. Travel websites often have lists of neighborhoods to watch out for in the ABQ (via Travellers Worldwide).

Interestingly enough, and as fans of "Breaking Bad" will know, though Jesse did for most of the series hang out in some rough areas and with some questionable people, it wasn't the entirety of his background. In fact, as we learn during the first season, he had a fairly sheltered, middle-class upbringing (via Consequence), though this obviously does not protect him from the very real dangers in the world of meth manufacturing. Nor does it protect Pinkman from experiencing tragic events in "Breaking Bad."