Aaron Paul wasn’t eager to jump back into another television series after completing his run on “Breaking Bad.” It wasn’t that he had anything against doing TV, but he was concerned about finding a worthy follow-up after being on a show heralded as one of the greatest programs in the history of the small screen.
Then, he was sent the first two scripts for “The Path,” a new drama debuting Wednesday, March 30, on the streaming service Hulu. It’s the story of family involved with a controversial cult that follows a movement known as Meyerism.
“I read them, and I just could not ignore the material. It was just so gripping, just so beautifully written and well done,” Paul says.
His character, Eddie Lane, is dealing with a crisis of faith when he begins to have doubts about things he previously accepted as truth. His wife, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan), has always been a believer, but she too begins to see cracks in her faith.
To create the cult, series creator Jessica Goldberg took bits and pieces from a variety of religions and mixed in her own thoughts about what a person in pain would be seeking. Those who follow Meyerism have to climb the rungs of a ladder to be ready for the fall of man. Each rung is labeled: receptive, initiate, servant, student, scholar, shepherd, explorer, reflective, mender, augur and protector. Goldberg imagines the movement as what appears to be an ideal faith that hides dark elements. That approach has given her a wide range of stories.
“This show really came out of a more personal experience for me. Few years ago, I had the double whammy of losing a parent and getting divorced in one year, and sort of found my little universe that I deeply believed in suddenly felt like Plato’s cave story where everything just felt like this is the world of shadows,” Goldberg says. “It comes from that personal experience that, unfortunately, most of us have in our life where we wake up one day and the ground you stood on is no longer ground anymore. That’s really the leaping off point of the show for me.”
Paul is best known for his work on “Breaking Bad,” but he also had a recurring role on another series with deep religious tones in “Big Love.”
“I find religion sort of fascinating. There’s an endless amount of religions out there, and everyone, as humans are just desperately trying to find their questions,” Paul says. “I am definitely drawn to that sort of story. When I read this, I was just blown away.”
The Idaho native came to the project with a full understanding of scriptures. His father was a Southern Baptist minister who made him read the Bible multiple times. He jokes that his family has gotten over his moving to Los Angeles to be an actor.
Monaghan too was attracted to “The Path” because of its religious examinations, such as how far a person will go in the name of religion. She likes that the series presents events that seem to be positive but then turn dark.
A lot of the darkness will come from Hugh Dancy’s✔ character of Cal Roberts, the unofficial leader of the Meyerist Movement. The British actor comes to the series after starring in another dark shows, “Hannibal.”
Dancy’s not just drawn to characters with dark sides, but he likes taking on roles where the characters are complicated. He’s convinced he’s taken the right “Path” to play such a role.
- 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, March 30, Hulu