A talk with the cast of ‘Need for Speed’

Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) stars in director Scott Waugh’s latest film “Need for Speed.” Paul’s character Tobey Marshall is a blue-collar auto shop owner and underground car racer falsely sentenced to prison and looking to clear his name no matter the cost.Scott Mescudi (rapper Kid Cudi), plays Benny the Army Reserve pilot in the film.

Based off the popular car racing video game of the same name, “Need for Speed” is more than just another action-packed car film. Filled with a strong story that pays homage to the classic and authentic American car culture, Waugh delivers a movie that he describes as a “human, heartfelt story in a crazy, action world.”

The Signal sat down with Paul and Mescudi to talk about their roles in the film.

Aaron Paul and Scott Mescudi star in 'Need For Speed'
Aaron Paul and Scott Mescudi star in ‘Need For Speed’

On filming in Georgia

PAUL: We were fortunate enough to shoot across the entire country. A majority of the time was spent in Georgia. The first part of Georgia was in Macon, Ga., and we all just kind of fell in love with that small town vibe—loved the love of jazz and blues there and we just took over that town. It was nothing but night shoots and we just left as many skid marks as we could.


On being compared to the “The Fast and the Furious” film franchise

PAUL: “Fast and the Furious” and this film are just completely different movies. “The Fast and the Furious” didn’t start the genre, nor will they end the genre. Our director [Waugh], his whole pitch to me when I first talked to him was he wanted to do a throwback to the classic films that really kind of started this sort of genre, such as “Bullet,” “Vanishing Point,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Smokey and the Bandit,”—all of those great, classic car movies where they actually did do all of the driving. That’s why all of these stunts were all practical.

MESCUDI: When people see it, they won’t make that comparison. It’s two separate films. Immediately people aren’t going to be like, “race car film, another race car film.”


On learning how to drive and fly for the film, and doing stunts

PAUL: I have been on tracks before [where] it was just like one day on the track, two days on the track—but nothing like this. But that was the thing: [Waugh] was like, “If you want to do this movie, I’m going to need you to be in the driver seat. I don’t want to lie to the audience; I want the audience to know that you’re actually the one driving,” and with that said I drove a lot but I definitely didn’t do all of my driving.

We had the best stuntmen in the world doing the driving. Jumping over the lanes of traffic—that was not me. Driving off the cliff and being caught by [Mescudi’s] helicopter—that was not me. That was the thing, [Waugh] was like, “I need you to learn how to drive,” so there were a lot of long days spent on the track.

MESCUDI: You have no choice. When you have Scott Waugh in your face, it’s like, “Yo bro, you doing it for real bro.” I was like, “What?” But I was actually asking Scott (for the sequel) to get me in a car for just a second, to let me drive down the block to the store or something.


On growing as actors

MESCUDI: Aaron’s been doing this for way longer than me, so I’m still learning, working with people that I’m learning from. Like every day on set, when I’m in a scene with Aaron, I’m learning. Can’t say it wasn’t intimidating being in a scene with this guy. It was awesome, though. It was all a learning experience and I’m still growing. I do okay. I’m glad people liked the film and some of the stuff I did.

PAUL: And how phenomenal was he? He’s such a natural and just so fun to watch and so fun to be around, but same thing with me: Still lots of growing. I’m still growing.

Being a part of “Breaking Bad,” I was lucky it was kind of just a fluid, easy transition into film, and I’ve been doing film and TV for a very long time. I’ve never really been a part of a huge action film before. I was doing the show for six years.

With film I always gravitated towards the smaller, low budget independent films and maybe that’s because those were the only people who would have me, but I started [Need For Speed] literally the day after the final day of shooting [Breaking Bad].


On why people should see the movie

PAUL: It’s just a fun, crazy, wild, real ride. We’re not lying to the audience. Everything that happened on the screen actually happened, and there is a great story behind it all that I think people will be very surprised with and have a lot of fun with. And this guy is in it (points to Mescudi).

MESCUDI: And it’s fucking awesome. Period.


“Need for Speed” hits theaters on March 14.

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