One of the many films that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was director James Ponsoldt‘s Smashed. Written by Susan Burke and James Ponsoldt, Smashed is about a young married couple – played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul – who are brought together by booze. When Winstead’s character (Kate) decides to get sober, it creates its own set of problems. While the film and subject matter could have easily drifted into a Lifetime movie of the week, what makes Smashed work is a career best performance by Winstead and fantastic work from the rest of the cast which includes Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, and Megan Mullally. For more on the film, here’s Matt’s review.
Shortly after seeing the film, I got to sit down with Aaron Paul for an exclusive interview. We talked about what it means for him to be a part of Sundance, how he got involved in Smashed, what it’s about, who he plays, and the experience of making the movie in 19 days. In addition, with Paul getting ready to film the final season of Breaking Bad (they start filming in March and it airs this July), we talked about his feelings on the show ending, how much he likes to learn about the season before they shoot, and other upcoming projects like Quad (which is based on a true story of a man who becomes a quadriplegic) and Decoding Annie Parker (another project based on a true story of a woman who develops cancer). Hit the jump to watch.
- Congratulations on a great year with this and Breaking Bad.
- 0:30 – Being a part of Sundance is a “dream come true.” He’s been here before with friends, but this is the first time Paul has a film at the festival.
- 1:10 – They shot Smashed in 19 days, and had about two weeks before to piece together a rough cut for the submission deadline.
- 1:35 – Paul generally knows whether he likes a new script within the first 5-7 pages. By the time he finished the Smashed script, he wanted to get involved.
- 3:10 – Talks about sitting down with the director Ponsoldt and Winstead, and arcing out the characters.
- 4:00 – Describes the story for people who haven’t seen the movie.
- 5:20 – Talks about the seeing the movie for the first time with the crowd at the premiere.
- 5:55 – The most takes he’s ever done is “upwards of 15.” Says he likes to it “until it doesn’t feel natural anymore.”
- 6:45 – There was room to play around with improvisation, but most of the dialogue you see on the screen comes from the script.
- 7:30 – The final season of Breaking Bad starts shooting at the end of March. It will start airing in July.
- 8:00 – Though it is more satisfying to wait until the scripts come, he does try to pump the writers for information on what’s coming up beforehand.
- 9:00 – It’s sad to close the chapter on Breaking Bad with this final season, but it’s great that they get to end on their own terms.
- 9:35 – Talks about Quad, based on a true story of a man who becomes a quadriplegic. Also Decoding Annie Parker, another project based on a true story of a woman who develops cancer.