In a surprising revelation, actor Aaron Paul has disclosed that he has not received any residuals from his role in the hit series Breaking Bad, despite the show’s enduring popularity. Paul, who portrayed Jesse Pinkman, made this startling admission while participating in a picket line outside Sony Pictures in California, joining his former co-stars during the ongoing Hollywood strike.
During the picket, Aaron Paul expressed his frustration, stating, “I don’t get a piece from Netflix on Breaking Bad, to be totally honest, and that’s insane to me. He pointed out that TV shows continue to thrive on streaming platforms, with Breaking Bad recently trending on Netflix, highlighting the long-lasting appeal of the series.
Paul emphasized the need for fair compensation for actors, particularly when their work continues to generate revenue for streaming platforms. He stated, “It’s such common sense, and I think a lot of these streamers know they’ve been getting away with not paying people a fair wage, and now it’s time to pony up.”
The strike he participated in was led by SAG-AFTRA, ongoing since July 14 and in solidarity with the Writers’ Guild, which has been striking since May. The unions are advocating for improved residual pay and addressing the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) in production.
Breaking Bad, which debuted in 2008, followed the transformation of a science teacher, Walter White, into a drug lord. While Paul reportedly earned $150,000 per episode, his co-star, Bryan Cranston, who played Walter White, received $225,000.
The series’ immense success led to the creation of the spin-off Better Call Saul, which aired for six seasons between 2015 and 2022.
Aaron Paul’s revelation about his lack of residuals from Breaking Bad has sparked outrage among fans and raised questions about fair compensation for actors in the streaming era. Several other actors have recently called out streaming platforms for their handling of residuals, highlighting ongoing concerns within the industry about compensation and the treatment of talent.