Paul was born September 12, 1973 in Glendale, California and grew up in San Fernando Valley. Starting as early as a baby, Paul was noticed as Pampers commercial star. Knowing that appear on TV was what he wanted, teenage Paul took some guest role appearances in TV series. The first one was “Highway to Heaven” (1984) where he became a mentally challenged youth for three episodes. Next came “Throb” (1986) as Diana Canova's son for a year before being replaced by Sean De Veritch. Feeling that it was time to move on to bigger screen, Paul starred in a rather insipid movie titled “Monster in the Closet” (1987).
For the next nine years, he continued to make brief appearances in various series while dividing his energy for school too. In 1998, he appeared in two movies “Meet the Deedles” and “Pleasantville”. The former was a 'thumb-down' but the later was a success. It was such an experience for Paul as he played opposite two rising stars, Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire. He was indeed amid climbing his own way to fame. Featuring in “Varsity Blues” (1999) as a football jock and in “She's All That” (1999) as Freddie Prinze Jr.'s heartless rival provided him a bridge to an even more intense character as seen in “The Skulls” (2000). The movie that was directed by Rob Cohen presented him as a member of mysterious fraternity in a college.
After “The Skulls”, time was flying for Paul. Pinned by Cohen again, he got his first adult role as detective Brian O'Conner in “The Fast and the Furious” (2001) opposite Vin Diesel. Despite the little expectation of becoming a hit, this movie struck the audiences as a stimulating and adrenalin-pumping movie. It was based on an article about Japanese late night racing. The plotline was not so complex and the action worth a praise. The following year the movie received some awards. Paul and Diesel won an MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team while the same awards nominated Paul for Breakthrough Male Performance. Cohen was by that time a top director, Diesel was a potential star and Paul was a runner for leading roles.
Once gaining the fame, Paul was the main actor of some of his next movies. In “Joy Ride” (2001), he teamed up with Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski as three youths trapped in the game of a psychopath. And then tailing its previous movie's success, he was once again Brian O'Conner in “2 Fast 2 Furious” (2003). This time without the presence of Diesel, Paul was showered with the spotlight. Subsequently, he was still craving for more adventure, but in a different kind of way. In “Into the Blue” (2005), Jessica Alba and him played a group of divers that were about to hunt for treasures but ended up being hunt instead.
After the role in the latter flick, Paul hadn't scored any big movie again but he became the producer of two of his movies “The Death and Life of Bobby Z” (2006) and “Bottom's Up” (2006). Finally, together with Anthony Hopkins as Ernest Hemingway and Meg Ryan as Mary Hemingway, his career was expected to reach its peak when he appeared in “Papa” (2006). Upon reading the offer he knew right away that he should do it. “It's not about working anymore, its about doing work I can be proud of.”