It’s almost time for AMC to debut the final few episodes of Breaking Bad, and since there is arguably no other show on television as tense as this one, the wait to see these final few episodes has been nail-biting. Thankfully, the network brought the cast and creator to Los Angeles for one final TCA presentation for critics, LA TV Insider Examiner included. It was a time to say good-bye but with more emotions than spoilers.
“I can’t remember exactly what my original intention was,” showrunner Vince Gilligan admitted about the end for Walter White (Bryan Cranston) when he was conceiving the show.
“I knew that franchise of the show…as I pitched to Sony Television and AMC Network, I used these sort of charming, try to be charming, idea of ‘We’ll take Mr. Chips turn him into Scarface.’ And we abided by that for six years, but having said that, it leaves a lot of wiggle room and a lot of room for changing up the plot…I was really not able to see the forest through the trees for a lot of the time during the first few years.”
Cranston echoed his leader’s sentiment, noting that they never used to discuss where the show was going to end up because it was “just too big a subject.” Instead, Cranston shared he was often left “holding on” week to week, just like the viewers at home were.
Once upon a time, Walt was just a simple teacher and family man, and those two parts of him were his biggest passion, per Cranston (“It was the only chance in the show not surrounded by muck and mire that he truly excelled, that he had a gift,” he said).
“The overwhelming impact of apathy that he was facing every day had to chip away at that passion and desire, and I think he was just at a point, now 50, where he was kind of beaten down a little bit. It’s now taking its toll; he was in a bit of a depressed state when we started the show. He could have been Mr. Chips years ago, but now he’s not,” Cranston said.
He joked: “Walt has a large reservoir of good to be shared with everyone, and he spreads his joy over the last eight episodes, literally, with everyone.”
But more seriously, he noted that where we found Walt in the pilot was such a specific, dark scenario that caused him to go down an even darker path, but it’s not all of who he is. It’s who he became based on the combination of elements in his life at the time.
“I really believe that everybody is capable of good or bad. We’re all human beings; we’re all given this spectrum of emotions, as complex as they are, and based on your DNA and your parenting and your environment, the best of you can come out or the worst of you. If given the right set of circumstances or dire situations, any one of us can become dangerous.”
Of course, just how dangerous Walt became– and was revealed to be to Jesse (Aaron Paul) changed not only him but his relationships. Since the wool was finally completely off Jesse’s eyes, he is now “terrified” of the man and “just wants nothing to do with him, so he just wants to try and stay out of the business, if he can,” Paul said.
“Jesse was just on a constant search for some guidance in his life. He didn’t want to admit it, but he was searching for a father figure in some way because his parents gave up on him years ago, and he found that in Walt, and then that came out in his wanting to protect children…He wanted to protect them because he didn’t feel he had that protection as a child.”
Oh how things have changed, right? For as many amazing hours of television Breaking Bad gave us on AMC, though, there is still one other very special part of the story that deserves to be told: the making of such an incredible piece of television. And don’t worry, AMC had the foresight to know that would be in demand.
As the series was winding down with its final eight episodes in product, a regular fixture on set was a man named Stu Richardson who had always shot and created the various behind-the-scenes featurettes for the season DVD box sets. The reason he hung around more and more, per Gilligan, was because he was putting together a special two-hour half-history of the series, half-behind-the-scenes documentary for the complete series Blu-Ray. None of the cast had seen it yet, but Gilligan confirmed that it was incredible, compiled of material Richardson had from being a part of the process for years, as well as obtaining specific things now that he knew what kind of a longer-form project he was cutting.
“Aaron and I read the last script together, and that will be in the documentary,” Cranston said.
“He has really outdone himself,” Gilligan added. “It has lots and lots and lots of behind-the-scenes material, and it is really good!’
Breaking Bad returns to AMC on August 11th 2013 at 9 p.m.
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