Aaron Paul trades drugs for alcohol addiction in "Smashed"

Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:01pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Aaron Paul, who won his second Emmy last month for playing drug dealer Jesse Pinkman in the dark television drama, "Breaking Bad," trades one addiction for another in the indie film, "Smashed."

Opening at U.S. movie theaters on Friday, the film stars Paul and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a married couple whose relationship is based on a mutual love of alcohol.

While it may sound like familiar territory for Paul after his role as former high-school student-turned-methamphetamine cook and murderer in "Breaking Bad," he prepared for "Smashed" by documenting himself drinking with friends at his home.

"There's nothing worse than seeing an actor trying to play a drunk and it's just so obvious that it's acting," Paul, 33, told Reuters in an interview. "I was excited about that challenge."

"I drank heavily and my friends filmed me," he said. "I wanted to make myself look like I had a problem."

The experience and footage, however, were sobering.

"It's incredible what alcohol does to you; after each drink, you truly change quite a lot, " he said. "I'm definitely a happy drunk. I'm very loud. But it was somewhat painful the following day."

Paul's preparation didn't end there. To create a bond that an addictive, married couple might have, he and Winstead went out drinking and dancing together with the film's director, James Ponsoldt, as designated driver. And he had Ponsoldt document the experience.   Continued...

Aaron Paul raises the Emmy award for outstanding supporting actor for a drama series for his role in "Breaking Bad" at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 23, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni