‘Breaking Bad’ Star Aaron Paul Speaks on ‘Surreal’ New Mexico ‘Rocky’ Statue of Walter White, Jesse Pinkman

by Craig Garrett

Not many tv characters have statues erected in their honor, but that’s the case for Aaron Paul’s Breaking Bad role, Jesse Pinkman. On July 29th, two bronze statues of mythical methamphetamine cookers Walter White and Jesse Pinkman were installed at a convention center in Albuquerque. This was to celebrate Breaking Bad and all that it achieved in the local entertainment industry.

The unveiling attracted cast members from the show, including stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul. Also on hand was series creator, Vince Gilligan. The showrunner attempted to put the surreal experience in context.“In all seriousness, no doubt some folks are going to say, ‘Wow, just what our city needed.’ And I get that,” Vince Gilligan said to the AP. “I see two of the finest actors America has ever produced. I see them, in character, as two larger-than-life tragic figures, cautionary tales.”

Now that a few weeks have passed, Aaron Paul is weighing in on the bronze statues. “Honestly, I don’t even know what to say or think about that,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. When looking at the bronze statues of Walter and Jesse, it’s tough not to think of the famous Rocky Balboa statue from Rocky III. “It’s all so strange to me. I think it always will be, but it’s great.”

Breaking Bad was a hail mary for struggling actor Aaron Paul

Aaron Paul will always hold New Mexico in high regard. To him, the Land of Enchantment represents a crossroads in his life. “New Mexico has such a special place in my heart and in my soul,” he said. “Heading out to Albuquerque and starting that journey, I was at the lowest point in my career, with lots of ups and downs prior. I really needed Breaking Bad to be somewhat of a success just so I could survive. I don’t want to seem melodramatic, but that’s really where I was at.”

Knowing the statues stand as a monument to the show that saved his career is mind-blowing to the actor. “And now, the fact that we ended the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul universe with these statues is surreal to me,” Aaron Paul concluded.

Meanwhile, the Breaking Bad statues aren’t sitting so well with some folks. Albuquerque talk radio host Eddy Aragon recently expressed his outrage to Fox News. Aragon thought it was hypocritical to take down a historical statue some felt was problematic only to erect fictional characters in its place. New Mexico removed a monument to Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate due to his treatment of Native Americans.

“Now we have brand-new statues,” Aragon told Fox News. “Now we’re putting fictional characters out in front. We have Jesse Pinkman and, of course, Heisenberg, and we have now erected statues and our progressive mayor from the city of Albuquerque has stood behind them. We’re funding those, so it’s OK to go get rid of real historical figures and now, somehow it’s even better, to [have] fictional, drug-dealing figures.”