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Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul tapped for lead in Need For Speed movie

Aaron Paul Breaking Bad
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Dreamworks has announced that Aaron Paul has signed an agrement to star in the upcoming Need For Speed feature film, scheduled to hit theaters on February 7, 2014.

Though Paul has appeared in a few films (most notably Mission Impossible III), and has spent the past few years as co-lead of one of the best series on television, this will mark his first attempt at playing a leading man. Still, Electronic Arts executive vice president Patrick Soderlund has faith in Paul’s abilities. “Aaron Paul is a rising star,” he said. “A great choice for the film lead. We’re looking forward to announcing the rest of the actors that will bring this racing franchise to the big screen.”

As for what that actually entails, the announcement goes on to claim that the film will be “in the tradition of the great car culture films of the ’70s while being extremely faithful to the spirit of the video game franchise.” That’s a bit vague, but it seems safe to assume that this particular car culture film will skew more toward the Fast And The Furious franchise than toward Drive. Presumably being faithful to the spirit of the video game franchise means that at some point our protagonist will be chased by the police.

While Aaron Paul joining the film is undeniably great news, the rest of the confirmed crew for this project leaves us a bit less excited. Director Scott Waugh has very little experience with actual films, and his only real big screen directorial effort to date has been Act Of Valor, that pseudo-fictional action flick that was sold entirely on the fact that it starred real Navy SEALs. Prior to that film, all of Waugh’s notable work has been as a part of a stunt crew. Admittedly, he did work on car films during this time, but those movies aren’t exactly hallmarks of the genre. Some of you may have seen the relatively recent Italian Job remake, but how many of you saw Torque or Biker Boyz?

The script, in turn, was written by brothers John and George Gatins. For the most part, both Gatins brothers are producers, though John wrote the script for 2011’s Real Steel. Whether that gives you more hope for this video game adaptation hinges entirely on how much you enjoyed what was effectively a film adaptation of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.

Still neither of the Gatins has created anything truly objectionable, so they do little to temper our excitement for Aaron Paul leading this movie. The announcement claims that while this film won’t be based on any particular Need For Speed game, it will be based on the franchise as a whole, which is a perfect set up to cast Paul as a small time crook who gets in over his head in a world of high-stakes crime. Replace Breaking Bad’s blue meth with exotic cars, and Paul can basically play his Jesse Pinkman character in this movie as well. Barring any massive directorial missteps or studio interference, that might just be all you need for a quality video game movie.

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Earnest Cavalli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Earnest Cavalli has been writing about games, tech and digital culture since 2005 for outlets including Wired, Joystiq…
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