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He’s Got the Need...

On-screen bad boy Aaron Paul may have just wrapped filming for AMC’s smash hit Breaking Bad, but this two-time Emmy winner is keeping his career in full throttle with the ATL-shot racing movie Need for Speed, out March 14. JEZ caught up with the fan favorite at the Metro Atlanta Chamber to talk Hotlanta and life after Jesse Pinkman.

STK, Downtown Columbus and Macon; a private Buckhead estate; and Blue Ridge’s Swan Drive-In Theatre all make appearances in Need for Speed!

Steven Spielberg handpicked you to play the lead role of Tobey Marshall in NFS. Tell us about your relationship with the legendary director.
[The first time I met Spielberg] I had just moved to L.A. from Idaho. I was 17 years old, working in a movie theater at Universal City. Two weeks into working there, we were doing a premiere for Primary Colors, and I was taking tickets. Spielberg was the first celebrity I recognized, and my spine instantly locked up. I almost shook his hand after I grabbed his tickets, and I thought to myself: Oh, my God, I have made it. I didn’t see him for like 15 years, and now we’re working together.

That’s wild! Now he’s a fan of yours. How was your time in Atlanta? Any favorite spots?
I love this city. Ormsby’s is dope—we’re going there tonight if you want to come! Pizza is my favorite and Antico [Pizza] is the absolute best. Also, Steamhouse [Lounge], their crab—oh my God, it’s so good.

We all love you from Breaking Bad. What made you pick a racing action flick as your next gig?
Coming off of a show that was such a cultural phenomenon, I knew I had to be very picky with my next move. The idea of driving around this beautiful country of ours in these crazy-fast machines was very exciting to me. The show was great—I was so blessed to be a part of it, but it was six years of something very heavy. I wanted to jump into something fun! @aaronpaul_8