At a panel at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul talked about why he speedily jumped back into the TV realm and the connection his new show, “The Path,” has to his past as the son of a Baptist preacher.
“I wasn’t really looking to jump back into TV this quickly, but my reps called and said, ‘You must read these first two episodes,’” Paul said. “I read them and I just could not ignore the material. It was just so gripping and so beautifully written and so well done.”
“The Path,” from executive producers Jessica Goldberg and Jason Katims, explores the lives of members of a fictional cult as they struggle with matters of belief, faith and power. Paul said that, as was the case with his “Big Love” character, he’s attracted to characters who struggle with big ideas about belief and redemption.
“I find religion sort of fascinating,” Paul said. “There’s an endless amount of religion out there, and everyone, as humans beings — people are just trying to find” answers to their deep questions. “My father was a very intense Southern Baptist minister. I had to read the Bible multiple times. I know the scripture. I am definitely drawn to that sort of story. I read this and I was just blown away my character. He is having some sort of doubt — in the pilot, he’s really searching for his questions to be answered, to find a truth.”
His family, despite their religious roots, supported him moving to Los Angeles at 17 to pursue acting, he noted. “I was surprised they let me go,” he said, but they were behind him all the way.
“They had faith,” suggested co-star Michelle Monaghan.
“Yes, they had faith!” Paul replied.
Goldberg noted that the religious group in the series, which premieres March 30 on Hulu, is not based on any existing religion or cult, but is a mixture of various belief systems. “I grew up in Woodstock, New York, where there are tons of seekers. It’s very crystal-y. I grew up interested in that.”
“We also call it ‘a movement,’” said Goldberg, who explained that members of the cult don’t use that word. “We try to think of the way the characters do. we wanted to invent my sort of ideal faith, and of course, with any faith, there’s a dark side too.”
There’s definitely a downside in the movement depicted in “The Path.” As cast member Hugh Dancy said, “I think it was Stephen Colbert who said, ‘If you’re wondering if you’re in a cult, you’re in a cult.’”
Watch a teaser from “The Path” here: