Jessie was never supposed to make it through the first season of Breaking Bad, but Vince Gilligan so loved Aaron Paul’s performance that he decided to keep him around for the long haul. At the tenth anniversary celebration of the show at San Diego Comic-Con, Paul explained how Bryan Cranston used to exploit his fear of being written off with a running gag about Jesse being killed. As Gilligan told the crowd, he thought he was doing Paul a favor when he told him late in the first season that he originally intended for Jesse to die off. It was supposed to give him confidence to know that the work was so good, the show’s creator changed his mind. But instead, it just gave Paul anxiety about when the hammer would drop — an anxiety that Cranston liked to have some fun with.
“[Cranston] came up to me the first time he did it, and he just gives me a really long, exaggerated hug,” Paul explained. “I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And he goes, ‘Hey man. It’s been a fun ride. You read the script right?’ And then he just walks away! I run into the production office and I’m like, ‘Where’s the script?’ He’s like, ‘It’s not available yet.’ I’m like, ‘No, please God tell me!’ And I read it and I was alive still.” But Cranston apparently wasn’t done exploiting Paul’s paranoia just yet. “Then there was another time where they did a fitting and they were like, ‘We need to measure you for the coffin.’ And he’s like, ‘Oh! You don’t know yet! Oh, man!’” At which point Cranston threw his hands up and chimed in with, “Forget I said that! You’re getting cremated. Don’t worry about it.”
So there you have it. Bryan Cranston is both a four-time Emmy winner, and a cruel, cruel man.