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Breaking Bad Actors Inspired by Addiction

The show's leading men channel their troubled pasts into their drug-abusing characters.

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Cranston and Paul have their own twisted
histories. Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman

08/02/12

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Ever wonder how Breaking Bad actors Bryan Cranston (who plays Walter White) and Aaron Paul (who plays Jesse Pinkman) are able to deliver such loaded performances week after week? The actors have admitted they draw from their own personal experiences of loved ones who abused alcohol and drugs. When getting into character, Cranston says he thinks about the alcohol abuse in his family that led to his parents divorcing. "I have some anger issues," he tells Rolling Stone. "There was alcohol abuse. And there were broken lives. There were two broken people. It was ugly. I didn't see my father for 10 years." Meanwhile, Paul's character of Jesse, a meth dealer, hits painfully close to home because a former girlfriend of his suffered from meth addiction. "It went from coke and then it escalated to meth," says Paul. "Meth is the one that grabbed, like, nails-deep into her soul and slowly just ripped it out. She was this beautiful being, turned to this hollow shell." And while this acting method could potentially cost the actors some cash for therapy, it seems to be benefitting their careers. Cranston has won three Emmys for his work on the show and been nominated for two Golden Globes, while Paul picked up his own Emmy in 2010.

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