On the Cover: 'Breaking Bad' Stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul

Inside TV's most twisted show

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul of 'Breaking Bad' on the cover of Rolling Stone. Credit: Peter Yang for Rolling Stone

Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul get loose in Rolling Stone's new cover story, which hits newsstands on Friday, August 3rd, and goes behind the scenes of one of TV's all-time great shows. The story, written by Brian Hiatt, also profiles show creator Vince Gilligan, who one crew member calls "a complete and total control freak." "I fear for the day when this is over," says Gilligan. "I honestly fear that this will be the highlight of my career. And you don't want it to be!" Here are some of the story's highlights:

Cranston lost his virginity to a professional at age 16 while on a "teen police explorer" trip to Europe: "Beer is a nickel, and the hookers are cheap – it was 24 guilders, which I think was $8, to get laid. We're all writing home to our parents for more money, 'We're having such a good time, Mom and Dad! Please send more money! We promise to pay you back! We've got to protect the citizens from the hookers!'"

Cranston says that the rage he expresses as Walter White comes from his parents' messy divorce: "I have some anger issues," he says. "There was alcohol abuse. And there were broken lives. There were two broken people. It was ugly. I didn't see my father for 10 years."

 Cranston feared that he was going to lose the part of Walter White to Steve Zahn, who was up for the role: "If Steve Zahn did Walter, we'd go, 'Oh, my God. Steve Zahn is the guy! Can you imagine anybody but Steve Zahn doing it?' And you wouldn't be able to."

Unlike his character, Aaron Paul is against drugs – with the exception of pot. "The first time I actually felt it, it was around Halloween time, and I ate an entire bowl of Reese's Pieces and I couldn't stop laughing. It was incredible," he says. "Now I rarely smoke." He has a medical-marijuana card, though, which he says he actually uses for medicinal purposes: "If I go to the dentist, I'll get an eighth. I am against pills. I don't even take Advil. I think pot 100 percent should be legalized." 

Paul had a girlfriend who became a meth addict, an experience he draws on for the show. "It went from coke and then it escalated to meth. Meth is the one that grabbed, like, nails-deep into her soul and slowly just ripped it out. She was this beautiful being, turned to this hollow shell."