Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Aaron Paul-Idaho Native Makes Mark in Hollywood
Idaho native Aaron Paul quipped that he could wear his Sun Valley Film Festival Pioneer Award as a belt buckle.
Sunday, March 17, 2019


Aaron Paul was in such a hurry to make his mark on the world that he was born on the bathroom floor of his family’s home in Emmett, Idaho, as his terrified mother tried to juggle his early birth with his three sleeping toddlers.

Paul, born Aaron Paul Sturtevant, never stopped rushing to get somewhere.

He moved to Hollywood at 17 where he won three Emmys for his role on “Breaking Bad.” And on Friday he received the Sun Valley Film Festival’s Pioneer Award, which honors trailblazers in the film industry, following a screening of his new movie “The Parts You Lose.”

Aaron Paul plays a fugitive who shows a young boy the empathy his father doesn't in "The Parts You Lose" expected to be released this summer. COURTESY; The H Collective

Paul endeared himself to Sun Valley audiences following the screening of the movie as he fielded questions with his director Christopher Cantwell just hours after they’d learned that Samuel Goldwyn would be distributing their film this summer.

And he took the seat in a Coffee Talk before a full house at the Argyros Performing Arts Center Friday morning, waving to his 13-month-old baby in the audience and pointing out his parents and other relatives who had made the journey to see him talk.

Paul told the audience that he got his first taste of acting in church plays at his dad’s church, then sat back and waited for actors to attend career day at his eighth-grade class in Boise. No actors joined the parade of firefighters and doctors. But that didn’t deter him. He signed up for his first acting class in eighth grade, cajoled teachers into letting him on stage with older students at Centennial High School and began saving his spare change to move to Hollywood.

“I asked my parents if I graduated early if I could move to Los Angeles and they were so supportive. I graduated at 17—now I can’t believe my parents let me do that.”

Aaron Paul presented a dapper figure in his cap.

Paul moved to Hollywood with $5,000 in change. But commercials didn’t cut it and he is parents had to cover three straight months of rent. Even a part in Bill Paxton’s HBO series “Big Love” brought him only $500 an episode.

But he loved what he was doing.

Paxton, a past Sun Valley Film Festival honoree who recently died of an infection following heart surgery, was "the most beautiful, warm loving guy," Paul said. "He counted his blessings every day--he was a magical human being."

Paul fought for his role on "Breaking Bad," enamored by the "beautiful script."

Variety, a longtime partner of the Sun Valley Film Festival, presented Aaron Paul with his Pioneer Award. The formal presentation took place at a dinner.

The show was one of the first binge watching series on Netflix..

It was "Breaking Bad's" Mark Johnson who referred the script for "The Parts You Love" to him. Immediately, he was drawn to the story of the bond between a young deaf boy and a fugitive hiding out in an abandoned barn on the boy's family farm.

"I don't mind playing nice guys, but I always gravitate towards complex characters. I like to try to bring a heart to everyone but I did play one man so evil I hated it. I won't do that anymore."

"The Parts You Won't Lose" is a beautifully filmed, thoughtful and absorbing look at a dysfunctional family and the unexpected consequences of the boy's relationship with the fugitive, who is played by Paul.

The filmmakers' nationwide search for an actual deaf boy caught the attention of a young Canadian boy who sent a tape he'd made of himself unbeknownst to his parents. One problem: He used Canadian Sign Language, rather than American Sign Language. But that problem was solved with the use of an interpreter 24/7.

Now Danny has a You Tube channel.

Although the story was set in North Dakota, it was filmed in Manitoba, Canada, amidst vast flat farm fields punctuated by century-old barns so old no one knew when they were built.

Paul said he's never been colder than he was shooting the film during the Manitoba winter, particularly inside the barn with its concrete floors.

"The crew look as if they were embedded in Antarctica. When celebrated when the temperature got up to zero. And in the beginning of the movie--that's a frozen river I'm lying on."

In the movie it's supposed to be North Dakota snow, said Director Christopher Cantwell. But you see Canadian snow and a Scandinavian sound tech provided the sound of Scandinavian snow.

The ending was unscripted, Paul said. They had planned ending with a confrontation between the boy and his father. But the end, with its sound of silence, said everything they wanted to convey very powerfully.

Paul said he was thrilled to premiere the film at the Sun Valley Film Festival in his home state, which he returns to often.

"Thank you for showing up. It's really a blessing," he said. "Uneducated people say, 'Oh, it's all about potatoes.' Hey! just go outside and walk around!"

"I come back to Idaho all the time. It's such a blessing escaping from the chaos of L.A. Don't get me wrong--I love California. But Idaho is such a sanctuary. And I feel so alive in nature," added Paul, whose grandparents have a cabin in McCall.

Paul is currently working on Apple's "Are You Sleeping?", about a New York Times reporter who is fired for stretching the truth. Disgraced and alone with her thoughts, she begins seeking to uncover the truth about a young man who has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a neighbor on Halloween night.

Paul said he also is working on the sci-fi drama series "Westworld."

"Bojack Horseman," an animated series about a slacker on which he's offered his voice, has also gained a following.

"It started out as a six-page script. We have so much fun."

 Having a 13-month-old has Paul wanting to do more projects close to home.

"She's adorable, also scary. They grow up so fast!" he said. "I'm an emotional human being, and now my heart is outside my chest running around."

"In the meantime, I'm blessed to be a top tier-talent," he said. "here are some amazing writers out there. I let them guide the trip, and I'm just happy to be aboard."


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