‘Breaking Bad’ has been breaking the internet since its release. But did Bryan Cranston earn lesser than Aaron Paul in ‘Breaking Bad’? Keep reading to find out.
It’s never easy to talk about money at work, and it’s especially challenging for performers on successful TV shows. With a few notable exceptions, most performers endure wage disparities due to a variety of factors, as was the case in AMC’s smash hit ‘Breaking Bad’s’ two lead actors. Even years after the series finale, Bryan Cranston (Walter White) and Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman) remain close friends. But did their substantially disparate wages ever become a point of contention between them?
- Did Aaron Paul earn less than Bryan Cranston?
- Their bond is more than the pay disparities
Did Aaron Paul earn less than Bryan Cranston?
Walt and Jesse are a dynamic duo that fans of the show can’t imagine a world without. Though their relationship is skewed, they need each other to cook meth. Walt is a chemistry teacher at a high school who has the technical know-how to produce pure meth.
Jesse, on the other hand, is a seasoned dealer who connects Walt with those who can help him move his merchandise. Without the other, neither of them would be successful. Despite this, showrunner Vince Gilligan claims that Jesse’s character only made it past season one due to the chemistry between Cranston and Paul.
“It became pretty clear early on that that would be a huge, colossal mistake to kill off Jesse”, Gilligan said during an interview. “But the idea was … I didn’t know how important Jesse was [going to be].”
Considering how popular ‘Breaking Bad’ was, neither Cranston nor Paul had exorbitant salaries compared to other contemporary actors. Cranston earned $225,000 per episode by the end of the series, according to Business Insider.
Paul, on the other hand, was paid $150,000 per episode. Their earnings for ‘Breaking Bad’s’ final season were $3.6 million and $2.4 million respectively. It’s a pittance compared to what Walt and Jesse made selling blue meth. Acting, on the other hand, has the advantage of being both legal and far less dangerous than drug dealing in Albuquerque.
Their bond is more than the pay disparities
Of course, there are financial benefits to being the lead actor on a hit show in addition to the base salary. While Cranston was already a well-known figure in Hollywood, his role as Heisenberg aided him in making the transition from comedic roles like ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ to more serious roles like his most recent film, ‘Your Honor’.
And it meant national recognition for Paul, which led to more job offers, including the highly anticipated made-for-TV sequel ‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’. He, too, grew as a result of the experience. “At the beginning of my career, I was not great. Even at the beginning of ’Breaking Bad’ – I was OK, I got the job”, Paul told The Guardian in a 2019 interview. “But I grew so much as an actor. Everyone saw it.”
To separate Paul and Cranston, who are still so close, would take a lot more than unequal pay. The two collaborated on a liquor brand called Dos Hombres Mezcal, which helped them earn even more money as a team. What’re your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments down below.