LOS ANGELES - Fresh from the success of "Breaking Bad," Aaron Paul has plunged into a very different role in high-octane action movie "Need for Speed," swapping crystal meth for straight adrenaline.
Adapted from the video game of the same name, the film is Paul's first since he shot to stardom alongside Bryan Cranston in the hit TV show about a chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin.
"I literally started this film the day after I wrapped 'Breaking Bad,'" Paul - who played Jesse Pinkman alongside Cranston's Walter White for five seasons - said before the movie's US release Friday.
"They had a charter plane waiting for me, I got on the plane, flew to Mendocino and I started at 6:30 in the morning the next day," added the 34-year-old.
Paul already had a long list of big-screen supporting role credits. But it was "Breaking Bad," which ended in September, that almost certainly earned him the leading role in "Need for Speed."
In the film, directed by Scott Waugh and produced by Steven Spielberg, he plays Tobey Marshall, an honest mechanic who joins a cross-country race to avenge a friend's death and save his garage from bankruptcy.
The role is in stark contrast to that of Pinkman, who makes and deals in crystal meth in New Mexico.
"That was the goal, to try and do something as far away from Jesse Pinkman as possible. And then my next thing, I wanna do something far away from Tobey Marshall," he told reporters.
"Jesse never really found his footing until he was becoming really who he was toward the end of the series. But Tobey Marshall in 'Need for Speed' is a very strong guy, very grounded and very passionate."