Aaron Paul
Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul is going places in the movies — fast.

The two-time Emmy winner, who co-stars in the new film Smashed, has signed on as the lead in DreamWorks’ upcoming feature film Need For Speed.

Inspired by the hit Electronic Arts video game series, the racing film will be directed by Scott Waugh, who made this year’s Navy SEALs rescue drama Act of Valor. Filming for Need For Speed is set to begin early next year, according to Holly Bario, president of production at DreamWorks. Need For Speed will be in theaters Feb. 7, 2014.

Brothers George and John Gatins concocted the movie’s story, which was inspired by the game series but isn’t based on any one title, with George (executive producer of the comedy She’s Out of My League) penning the final screenplay. John, screenwriter of Real Steel, Coach Carter, and the upcoming Denzel Washington drama Flight, will co-produce Need For Speed with EA’s Patrick O’Brien and Mark Sourian, who is also producing the upcoming DreamWorks comedy Starbuck.

With his final episodes as conscience-plagued meth-maker Jesse Pinkman on AMC’s Breaking Bad airing next year as the series wraps up, Paul is already beginning to transition into movies. He can be seen opposite Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the romantic drama Smashed (which debuted this past weekend) about a hard-partying married couple whose love is threatened when she decides to go sober. (Paul is represented by United Talent Agency and Leverage Management.)

While Need For Speed seeks to capitalize on the same car-culture passion that made The Fast and Furious movies such hits, the presence of an actor of Paul’s caliber suggests the racing thriller may be steering for a little more depth.

At the very least, Paul’s presence could be a magnet that draws in other top talent to the cast.

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