Tip your hat to the old, before diving into the new!
Billboard lawyers must have three things in common: an ill-fitting out-of-fashion suit worn over a horrendous shirt & tie combination, a cheesy slogan and a dubious educational background. If you’re Saul Goodman, you have a fourth ace in the hole…your own show.
Better Call Saul, is a spin-off of Vince Gilligan’s master work Breaking Bad. What started as a joke, is now a reality and TV is better for it. Like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is helmed by Vince Gilligan and set in Albuquerque, NM. The show opens six-years prior to HS chemistry teacher, Walter White, breaking bad.
Better Call Saul is not surprisingly getting good reviews. Almost screw-up proof given the show’s award-winning pedigree, fans hope Saul gives them a reason to visit his practice weekly for seasons to come.
Better Call Saul begins Sunday Feb 8 & Monday, Feb 9 at 10/9c on AMC in a special two-night premiere event. Can’t wait that long for your Vince Gilligan fix? Chew on these amazing factoids while you wait.
50. Major Networks Passed on Breaking Bad
Vince Gilligan and Sony Pictures Television pitched “Breaking Bad” to Showtime, TNT, HBO and FX. FX bought the series, but balked after reading over the first script. At the time the network was loaded with hit shows featuring anti-heroes (The Shield, Nip/Tuck and Rescue Me.) John Landgraf, FX President decided the network had enough. Instead, FX began working on a pilot called Dirt featuring Courtney Cox — it failed miserably.
Gilligan also remembers a TNT exec saying, “If we bought this we’d be fired.” No word if they actually were.
It wasn’t the worst business movie in entertainment history though, as Decca records passed on the Beatles.
49. Vince Gilligan Didn’t Know Weeds Existed
Vince Gilligan says had he been aware of the Showtime series, Weeds, he never would have created Breaking Bad. Coincidentally, most meth heads wouldn’t have tried crystal had they been aware of weed.
Other than the drugs of choice, there were a multitude of other differences between Weeds and Breaking Bad. Beleaguered high school chemistry teacher, Walter White’s motivation for turning to crime is to provide for his family after being diagnosed with cancer. Weeds, Nancy Botwin decides to sell herb because it’s impossible for a beautiful woman to find work otherwise.
48. The DEA Needed To Consult On Meth Lab Seen
The DEA consulted on what footage to include and exclude in the meth cooking process so that those taking notes at home would not produce meth. It worked as our attempts turned out to be wastes of time.
In the Breaking Bad book “Alchemy” one of the show’s directors, Michelle MacLaren, recalls on an on-set adviser made calls to a less-than-legal source for pointers on making the cooking scenes look authentic. When asked who the source was, the adviser told MacLaren, “You don’t want to know.”
Few meth heads and real-life cooks noticed the skipped steps as they obviously couldn’t complain, and were more than likely to out of it to notice.
47. Real-Life Teachers Tried To Break Bad
Following the popularity of the show, five actual educators across the country were arrested for the attempted production and distribution of meth. One was a cancer patient to boot. The only good takeaway from this is that they didn’t die in a hail of gunfire via Walt.
William Duncan, a chemistry teacher from Texas, was busted for slinging his own home-cooked meth within school grounds. In 2011, 74-year-old mathematics professor, Irina Kristy, was busted for operating a meth lab out of her Boston home. A North Carolina teacher’s assistant and meth producer, Marc Hodges was nabbed after purchasing 1,000 cases of matches, used in the production of meth. Boston teacher, Steven Doran, was busted dealing meth. Doran had with stage 3 cancer. In the most bizarre coincidence, a thriving meth dealer in Alabama was arrested in 2008 for his booming meth business. He was neither a teacher nor cancer patient, but his real name…Walter White.
46. Breaking Bad Has Turned Albuquerque Into A Tourist Destination
Albuquerque has seen a tourism boom due to many of the shows shooting locations, homes and landmarks. Makes perfect sense. Why else would Albuquerque see a boost in tourism? “And if you look out your window to the left, folks, you’ll see more sand.”
Breaking Bad was originally meant to be shot in California but the location was ultimately changed to Albuquerque due to serious tax-breaks provided by New Mexico’s states film production policies. The move has brought millions into Albuquerque in the form of numerous tours and a wide array of Breaking Bad themed products such as; blue-meth candy, a local brewed Heisenberg “dark” beer, blue-meth iced doughnuts, and custom-made Heisenberg Pez dispensers.
45. Bryan Cranston Was Once On Power Rangers
Bryan Cranston’s acting resume is loaded, including appearances on Seinfeld, X-Files, and most impressively, the Power Rangers as Twin Man. The Emmy’s have a daytime category, but no syndicated Japanese voiceover categories. Other wise our boy, Bry, no doubt, would have been a shoe in.
Slightly resembling a Cylon Centurion from Battlestar Galactica mixed with elements of Ace Frehley’s Space Ace persona, Twin Man still manages to look like a total douche. The good news is, so did the rest of the Power Rangers. While both BB and PR brought in millions worldwide, there is no doubt, Cranston as Heisenberg was far cooler, better dressed and more menacing.
44. Matthew Broderick, John Cusak Almost Played Walter White
John Cusack and Matthew Broderick were sought to be originally cast at Walter White, but both declined. Ferris Buehler a drug dealer? Lloyd Dobler a chemist? Thankfully both actors were either busy working on other projects, otherwise Heisenberg could have ended up Heisenbueller.
Cusack and Broderick are both incredibly talented in their own right. But Cranston was born to play Walter White. Bryan Cranston can also crank up the evil when he needs to. Broderick on the other hand has made a career out of more milquetoast roles. John Cusack is film actor. A not-had-a-hit in ages film actor, but a sole silver screener nonetheless.
43. The Pizza Toss Was Done Perfectly The First Take
Walt’s famous frustrated pizza toss onto the roof of his house landed perfectly right side up on the first take. The crew was thrilled. The pizza place that made a ton of pies for the anticipated numerous takes must’ve been pissed. In a scene that Vince Gilligan called a “one-in-a-million shot,” Bryan Cranston managed to throw the pizza onto the roof perfectly.
So while no animals were harmed in the making of any of the episodes of Breaking Bad, a perfectly good pizza was wasted. What are these guys on, meth? A fan re-created the pizza toss on the very house used at the White’s home. The real-life owner wasn’t pleased, but came to realize the huge popularity of the show.
42. X-Files and Breaking Bad Are Forever Connected
AMC decided to cast Bryan Cranston as Walter White after seeing an X-files where the actor co-stars as a racist terrorist on the X-Files. Oh yeah, and after Cusack and Broderick passed.
Prior to creating Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan’s most accomplished work was as a writer and producer on the sci-fi series, The X-Files. Cranston first met Gilligan when he starred as a racist roofer in a Gilligan penned episode tiled ‘Drive’. Oddly enough, Cranston looks far more racist with his bald head as Heisenberg, than as a white racist as the Marlboro Man.
41. The 2007-08 Writer’s Strike Saved Jesse Pinkman’s Life
Aaron Paul’s character, Jesse Pinkman, was to die in Season 1, but thanks to the 2007-2008 Writer’s Guild Strike, Gilligan realized Jesse was an essential part of the show and decided to keep him on.
Other positives that came out of the Writer’s Strike: millions lost in film production, a realization that writers are people too, and huge upswings in the picket stick business. Up until the strike, writers didn’t make residuals from repeat episodes. Good thing for Gilligan, they do now.
40. Bryan Cranston Came Up With The Whitey Tighty Idea
It was Bryan Cranston that suggested the ‘tighty-whities’ Walter wears in Episode 1. Making nerds around the world feel justified in their misguided choice of undergarments.
For the episode Cranston was given the option to wear sweatpants. Not only did the actor wisely eschew the pants, but he also chose the iconic underwear. By choosing the white bread, generic drawers, Cranston visually translated Walt’s early innocence, vulnerability and naiveté. It is unclear if Cranston’s decision boosted sales of ‘tighty-whities’, but men with muffin tops and crappy RVs breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
39. Jesse Was Almost Named Dupree
In the original script, Jesse Pinkman was named Marion Alan Dupree and went by Dupree. Dupree sounds like a talented basketball star or rapper. Jesse had little talents if any, thus making a cool name not a good fit for the character.
Jesse was a perfect choice as Breaking Bad, often a nod to old Westerns, recalled Jesse James; a troubled young man who chose a life of crime to support himself. Thankfully, that’s as far as the BB went, as Jesse Pinkman doesn’t end up being shot in the back by a friend.
38. Moustache Man Is Buddies With Dean Norris
The most notable extra on the show was Robert Sanchez, a retired fireman who also competes in facial hair competitions. Known as the ‘moustache man’, Sanchez was most often seen in the background of the DEA offices listening to Hank update his team.
How did Sanchez get the gig? He’s a golfing buddy of Dean Norris, the actor that played Hank. How many mulligans and drops did the guy have to Norris for the role? We’ll never know. On top of his unique facial hair and playing golf with Norris, it also helped that Sanchez knows Steven Michael Quezada (Agent Gomez) through softball.
So, to be an regular extra it helps to have a standout look and know the stars.
37. Standup Comedians Have Tons Of Bit Parts
A number of bit parts on Breaking Bad are played by established comedians. Bill Burr, Lavell Crawford and Javier Grejeda are regularly booked in clubs around the country.
The reason for the casting decisions are more than just a coincidence. “If you can do comedy you can do drama,” Vince Gilligan has said. “It doesn’t necessarily flow the other way.” Javier Grajeda (Gus Fring’s cartel kingpin, and the drug lord who put Danny Trejo’s severed head on a tortoise) also has stand-up in his background. Bryan Cranston himself was a struggling comedian before he found his way as an actor.
36. Bob Odenkirk Created Mr. Show
On top of Breaking Bad having a number of comedians in its cast, Bob Odenkirk, who plays Saul, is the co-creator of the comedy sketch hit, Mr. Show with comedian David Cross. Sadly, Cross never appeared on Breaking Bad as he would have been a perfect meth-head of outrageous client of Saul’s. Perhaps we’ll see him on Better Call Saul.
Bob Odenkirk has long been nabbing gigs on hit shows. He played a bumbling sheriff on Golden Globe winning, Fargo this year. Hopefully, Odenkirk’s plate will be full for a long time to come as Saul will be another hit for Gilligan and FX.
35. Walter’s Lotto Ticket Coordinates Lead To A Studio
Walt brilliantly hides the GPS coordinates for the buried $80 million on a lotto ticket. This is also the location where Hank and Gomez are also buried. The GPS coordinates(N 34, 59′, 20″, W 106, 36′, 52) don’t actually lead to money, but are rather the location of Q Studios in Albuquerque, where Breaking Bad and other Hollywood fare are shot.
It’s cheap. If you discount it, they will come.
34. Jesse Pinkman Is The Second Most Important Character
Jesse Pinkman is the deuteragonist of Breaking Bad, that is the second most important character on a show or a work of fiction. Once again, Skylar White has to get her heart broken, even by this slide show.
Think slide shows are click bait or a wast of time? Think again. Not only did you just learn a new vocabulary word, but it could very well be a Jeopardy answer someday that nets you a pile of cash.
33. Walter White’s Pork Pie Hat Was A Necessity
Heisenberg’s pork pie hat was not a decision by wardrobe, but rather of necessity to keep actor Bryan Cranston’s bald head from being exposed to the New Mexico sun and desert cold during shooting sequences. And that of course is the exact same reason many other fans around the country bought theirs.
The hat, now such a pillar of the Heisenberg persona, makes it hard to picture Walter White’s alter-ego without it.
32. ‘Ari’ Inspired Saul Goodman
Bob Odenkirk’s inspiration for playing Saul came from his own fast-talking, notorious agent, Ari Emanuel . Emanuel’s mannerisms also influenced, Jeremy Piven’s portrayal of ‘Arie” in the HBO show, Entourage.
Customarily agents in Hollywood normally stay behind the scenes. Emanuel, however, is the exception given his outrageous persona and legendary dealings amongst Hollywood’s elite. Judging by the photo above, Emanuel is not only a fan of chewing gum, but of himself.
31. Giancarlo Esposito Nearly Turned Down Gus Fringe Role
One of the most shocking scenes in Breaking Bad (and that is saying something) is when Gus Fring brutally dispatches of his assistant with the help of a razor sharp box-cutter. His message to Walt and Jesse is loud and clear: I am not to be f%#%$d with. Also, I value my yellow Oxford button downs, thus prefer wearing a hazmat suit when slicing an employees jugular. The famous box cutter scene took 26 takes.
Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Fring was initially offered a few guest appearances. He wanted more and was going to walk away from the role, until Gilligan offered him 11 episodes for Season 3. Fring became one of the series most haunting characters on the series. Esposito, cemented his reputation as one of the best actors in the business, and apparently the props department ended up being one of the largest purchasers of fake blood.
30. Bryan Cranston Cried After Jane’s Death Scene
Walt turns numerous dark corners in Breaking Bad. Watching Jesse’s girlfriend, Jane OD and choke to death on her own vomit, was one of his most dastardly and unforgivable. Bryan Cranston cried for 30 minutes after the above scene. The actress, Krysten Ritter, who lost a future paycheck must’ve cried more.
According to Anna Gunn, who played Skyler White, Cranston cried for 15 minutes after filming the scene. in which Walt let Jesse’s girlfriend Jane Margolis die. Cranston said to properly emote Walt’s own horror at his actions, he pictured his own daughter as Jane. Ritter revealed her vomit was actually a mix Mylanta with oatmeal.
29. That Creepy Pink Bear Was Custom Made
The famous pink teddy bear in Walt’s pool fell from the one of the airplanes involved in the crash caused by Jane’s grieving father over her death. The bear, a symbol of the many heartbreaking fallouts of Walt’s actions makes other brief cameos throughout the series.
Gilligan and company could not uses a commercially sold bear due to legal reasons and had prop master Mark Hanson go to work. Hanson hired a local company in New Mexico to design the bear. While effective, Mickey Mouse would have been perfect, signifying the death of America’s fatuous relationship with cartoon characters and make believe animals, or in this case the death of Walter’s fictionalized version of himself.
28. The Waking Dead Helped Create Gus Fringe’s Death
Gus Fring’s death is one of the greatest kills in the series. It took months of modeling and digitizing by Walking Dead make-up artist Greg Nicotero to make Giancarlo Esposito’s blown off face to look real. A 3D model of Esposito’s head was made and then digitally blended with the actor’s real dome. The reveal is spectacular and breath taking. The shot first shows Fring exiting the hospital room looking normal and straightening his tie. The next shot is of Frings hollowed out ocular cavity and torn and burnt flesh.
It took months to pull of the effect. We’re still trying to eradicate the imagery from our minds. If meth mouth is hideous, meth head is bloody disgusting.
27. Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston Appeared In All 62 Episodes
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are the only two cast members that appeared in all 62 episodes. Makes perfect sense at both were key components to the shows plot, arc and narrative. An episode of Breaking Bad without Walter White, would be like the Oklahoma Thunder without Kevin Durant, or the evening news without, wait, who watches the network news anymore?
Know this, now Walt or Jesse in an episode of Breaking Bad would more annoying than Skylar’s constant moping.
26. Bogdan Might Be The Most Interesting Man In The World
Walt’s boss at the car wash, Bogdan, is played by Marius Stan. Stan came to acting late and has a PhD in chemistry. Let that be a lesson kids. Blowing your money on education is a waste of time. Be an actor instead.
Stan’s eyebrows are not only a trademark of the actor, but reportedly have their own agents and stylists as well. In fact, his eyebrows took different limos to the set each day. Imagine being an actor and scoring your first gig in Breaking Bad right out of the gate.
25. Breaking Bad Logo Has Nothing To Do With Meth
In the title (Br)eaking) (Ba)d, the two chemical abbreviations are for Bromine and Barium. Neither are used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, “crystal meth.” No. We do not know this first hand. Bromine and Barium are chemical elements with various uses, none of which we will describe here in an effort not to bore the $hit out of you.
Using chemical abbreviations in the title sequence is another perfect example of Vince Gilligan and his teams creativity and attention to detail. Since the show began the look and style has been knocked off and lampooned. There is even a Breaking Bad logo generator.
24. Vince Gilligan Vouched For Bryan Cranston Thanks To X-Files
Vince Gilligan penned an episode of the X-Files in which Bryan Cranston appeared. Gilligan vowed to work with Cranston again someday in the future. What does this mean? Unlike Liz Taylor, Vince Gilligan does not break vows.
AMC had reservations about Cranston as they only recognized him from Malcolm in the Middle To convince the execs, Breaking Bad creator, Vince Gilligan showed them the The X-Files he wrote and produced in which Cranston plays a troubled racist with a head that may explode any second. They were sold. The men were re-united, a show was launched and the awards came rolling in.
23. Jesse Pinkman Was On The Price Is Right Once
Before he was rich a film and TV star, Aaron Paul appeared the Price is Right. It was January 3rd, 2000 and the hopeful actor was dressed like a blind person. Paul overbid on his showcase by $132, or three small bags of blue crystal.
Bob Barker signed off that day classically asking viewers get their pets spayed or neutered, while Paul no doubt felt he had been kicked in the balls. It didn’t matter. A few years later he would land a role on one of the greatest television shows of all time.
22. Toys R Us Hates Breaking Bad
Action figures are the pinnacle for TV shows hitting iconic status. The Walter White/Heisenberg action figure was pulled from Toys R Us shelves after a mother in Florida complained about the figurine’s accessories; a duffel bag full of cash, a bag of crystal blue meth, and some ungodly nut-hugging black jeans. A mother in Florida? What are the odds? The National Enquirer wouldn’t exist without Florida.
Both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul tweeted their tongue-in-cheek outrage regarding the scandal. The toy manufacturer loved it. The dolls became instant must-haves for fans and collectors. Once again another diss, however, to actress Anna Gunn. There is no Skylar doll.
21. Blue Meth Is Now A Real Thing
A show about the manufacture and illegal drug wouldn’t be complete without prevalent use of that very drug. Rock candy was used in place of meth when characters appeared to smoke it on the show. It was not inhaled, as sugar is bad for you no matter how partake. Hollywood, full of fruits, nuts and health-obsessed phonies.
In truth, any chemist, scientist or candy maker can tell you trying to smoke rock candy is stupid. When heat is added to the candy it is reduced to a sticky sludge of simple sugars. The smoke is a combo of water and CO2. Not a worthy buzz, yo.
20. Saul Goodman’s Name Is Clever Wordplay
Saul Goodman’s name is a play on Saul Good, get it? “It’s all good.” Bod Odenkirk’s slimy lawyer’s real name is James “Jimmy” Morgan McGill. The reason for his alias is two fold: 1) a creative marketing tool for billboards and ads 2) McGill no doubt has his own share of baggage and a probable rap sheet. Not good things to have attached to your name if you’re passing yourself off as a public servant.
Other aliases that would’ve worked: Idress Badd, Buddy N. Need, Jack Azz and Scruffy Q. Hemmerhoid. Jimmy, claims he chose to be Jewish, Saul Goodman, “…for the homeboys who want a member of the tribe.”
19. Breaking Bad’s Body Count Is 270
Shows about illegal drugs, bad guys and a dude in a black hat, must include plenty of murder. Gilligan and his team came up with a number of creative kills during the life of the series. Acid baths, bombs and plenty of guns.
If you include the 167 victims in the plane crash, the body count for the series is 270. The deliberate murders on the show number 98, 56 of which are by gun shot. 1 by ATM.
Insufficient funds, bitch! In the episode, Spooge, attempts to open a stolen ATM to pay Jesse. Spooge ends up arguing with his girlfriend while working on the machine. The unnamed girlfriend makes a withdrawal, of Spooge on this mortal coil.
18. The Acid Bath Scene Is Bogus
With a high body, the characters on the the show had to use various creative means to dispose of the corpses. One of the ways was using hydrofluoric acid to dissolve the bodies. Approximately five bodies were dispatched this way. Most famously a corpse in Jesse’s bath tub where the acid actually eats through the entire floor.
The television show Myth Busters did a “Breaking Bad Special” where they dispelled the myth that acid can eat through wood and porcelain. Aaron Paul was on hand to assist in the experiment.
17. Dean Norris Has Tuco’s Grill In Real Life
After he kills Tuco, DEA agent, Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) is awarded Tuco’s mouth grill as a memento from his team. The grill is encased in Lucite. Hank is troubled by this on the show and ends up whipping the gift into the river.
In real life, the grill is one of the props Norris kept from the show. The others? His DEA jacket, the nameplate that was on Hank’s DEA desk, and the ax that nearly decapitated his character signed by the cast. Another grill was made for Tuco from the show was auctioned off.
16. Heisenberg Was A Real Life Chemist
The name Walt gives to his alter ego, “Heisenberg”, is a tip of the hat to Werner Heisenberg, a theoretical physicist from Germany who won the Nobel Prize for developing the theory of quantum mechanics. This is another example of the painstaking detail Gilligan and his team put into the show. Walt could have gone by Big Chief Nasty Ass and been just as bad, but Heisenberg took the menacing crime lord to the next level.
Werner Heisenberg died of cancer of the kidney’s and gall bladder in his home. Walt’s Heisenberg died in a hail of gunfire in a makeshift meth lab.
15. The White Supremacy Meth Was Re-Used on Purpose
Most of the meth lab equipment at the white supremacist compound is the same equipment from the RV that Walt and Jesse cooked with during the early part of the series. This is more than just the set designers being thrifty, but rather knowing super fans would be vigilant in their study of the show and its details.
If you know anyone that was into the show at that level. Cut them out of your life immediately.
14. Saul’s Law Diploma Is Way Bougus
The diploma in Saul’s law office shows him as earning an MA in political science from the law school of the University of American Samoa. The diploma is of course bogus. There is no University of America Samoa and Saul’s alias is printed on the diploma instead of his character’s real name, James McGill.
The diploma was just one of many of the allusions to Saul’s legitimacy as a lawyer. Hi strip-mall office also had wallpaper featuring text from the U.S. Constitution and plastic neoclassical columns imitating those found on many U.S. government buildings.
13. Jesse and Walt Jr. Never Appear Together
Throughout the entire run of the series, Walt Jr, and Jesse never once appeared in a scene together. While no specific reason is cited, it is more than likely symbolic. Walt’s relationship with both Walt, Jr. and Jesse shows the duality of his character. A loving father to proud of his son and his accomplishments, and a surrogate father trying to keep his never do well son out of trouble.
Jesse is hampered by his lack of education and own drug addiction. Walt has cerebral palsy and suffers from a distanced relationship with his less than truthful parents. On a side note, RJ Mitte (Walt Jr.) does have cerebral palsy like his character, but can walk without the aid of crutches.
12. Aaron Paul Used To Be An Usher at Universal
As a hopeful actor in the late 1990’s Aaron Paul worked as an usher at the Universal Studios Movie Theater in Hollywood. Like many struggling and hopeful thespians of his ilk, Paul lived in ramshackle studio apartments with roommates, went to every audition he could and more than likely subsisted on his fair share of Ramen.
Or course, Paul who has worked as an actor for 17 years, is seen by many in the media as an overnight sensation. Sure, it’s that easy kids. Move to Hollywood. Your dreams will all come true.
11. Bryan Cranston Is An Ordained Minister
For a part time job in college, Bryan Cranston became an ordained minister. Of all the jobs a college student can take on to make more money, being an ordained minister seems like it would be one of least popular. Though it would be a nifty little thing to have in your wedding album, a picture of a young hirsute Heisenberg officiating your nuptials.
Most of Cranstons’ early acting was on stage in small and regional theates. He started gaining momentum after some voice over work and ads, later becoming Jerry Seinnfeld’s dentist, on the juggernaut sitcom, Seinfeld.
10. Walter White Was Born and Died On the Same Day
Walt’s character was born and dies on the same day, September 7. Using literary analysis I’m guessing the man truly came full circle, from good to bad to resigned to, ah, nevermind. It’s been a long time since college. I can’t read my old notebooks due to beer and coffee stains.
A 2012 study in the journal Annals of Epidemiology analyzed over 2 millions deaths. It found people are 14% more likely to die on their birthdays as they get older due to heart attacks, falls, seizures, strokes and suicides. Walt may not have died by his own hand literally, but figuratively it can be argued that resigned from life when he knew there was no other way out. Thus his longing look of admiration at the meth lab he built before he is gunned down.
9. Walter White’s Gas Mask Is The Same
The gas mask that Walt holds and muses on in his final seconds of the finale is the same one from the pilot. Okay, okay. As much as we want to continue to believe this was due to vigilant detail and by the show’s creators it may very well be due to something much simpler: proper storage techniques by the prop team and frugality of the show’s creators.
Still, it this was done intentionally, it was another master stroke from one of the most detailed and character rich shows of all time.
8. Dean Norris Wanted To Kill Off Hank Way Early
Dean Norris (Hank) wanted to get killed off earlier in the final season so he could shoot a comedy pilot. Wow, talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. The role of a lifetime on the show of a lifetime and dude wants to go shoot a comedy pilot? Is this man on meth?
At Gilligan’s urging, Norris stayed on board. The show’s powerful season wouldn’t have been complete without his commanding presence and character arc. Norris never did the comedy pilot, but did end up getting a featured role on CBS’ Under the Dome, the series based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.
7. Real Life Pregnancies Were Worked Into The Story
Betsy Brandt (Hank’s wife) was pregnant during season two. Various techniques were used to keep her belly covered during filming. Conversely, Anna Gunn’s character was not pregnant in real life, though her character was. Padding was used to create Gunn’s, aka Skylar White’s baby bump.
The producers would do pick-up shots using Brandt’s bare belly to fill in for Skylar’s bare belly. More than just a money-saving move on stand-ins. The trick also kept filming moving faster. Subsequently, the shot of Jesse’s herpes were the actual herpes belonging to actor…nah.
6. The Salamanca Cousins Are Really Twins
The two Salamanca cousins are really twin brothers, Daniel and Luis Moncado. Luis acted before. Daniel on the other hand was in a gang. Luis however, seems to be more of the tough guy as his eyelids are tattooed. ‘F&# is’ inked on the right eye lid and you is inked on the left. The skin is so thin on the eyelid they had to use spoons to keep the needle from damaging the Luis’s eyes. What does this prove? Luis is super bad ass. Also, the twins tough-guy persona is real.
The casting agency hired Luis first. When they found out he had a twin brother they brought Daniel in to audition as the other cousin. After some tutelage from his brother, Daniel got the gig. Their silence on the show makes them even more of an evil presence.
5. Saul Goodman’s Past Is Fascinating
Saul Goodman’s back story is as fascinating as it is humorous. One of the great joys about Better Call Saul will be learning more about this nefarious character. One of the things that is alluded to in Breaking Bad, is that Saul, the crooked lawyer and courtroom charlatan that he is, not surprisingly had a number of wives.
Of all the great lines Bob Odenkirk gets on the show as Saul. This is one of the series best: “I caught my second wife screwing my Stepdad. OK? It’s a cruel world, Walt. Grow up.”
4. Badfinger Re-entered Charts After Breaking Bad Finale
Despite protests by others working on the show, Vince Gilligan selected and insisted “Baby Blue” by Badfinger as the song to be played during the series’ final scene. Stylistically and lyrically it was perfect: Guess I got what I deserved – Kept you waiting there too long, my love – All that time without a word – Didn’t know you’d think that I’d forget or I’d regret – The special love I had for you, my baby blue.
After playing at the end of show’s finale. “Baby Blue” re-entered the Billboard charts more than 40 years after it was first released. Dear Mr. Gilligan, Thanks! Love, Badfinger
3. Jesse Only Refers To Walt By His Real Name Twice
Jesse only refers to Walt by his first name in two episodes. The rest of the time, Walt/Heisenberg is Mr. White. There are numerous reasons for this :
1) Walt was Jesse’s former chemistry teacher and it is a habit.
2) The formality is meant to show distance in Walter and Jesse’s relationship. Jesse doesn’t know where Walt lives, anything about his family, or Walt’s motivation for cooking meth.
3) Jesse call’s Walt Mr. White out of respect it shows Jesse does value Walt and appreciates his knowledge of science and chemistry.
4) As bad as he may be, Walt is a father figure to Jesse in many ways, a tutor, a teacher, Mr. White.
2. Wendy Was Mistaken For A Real Life Prostitute
The actress, Julia Minesca, who played Wendy the prostitute was mistaken for a real one by a hopeful john who wandered onto the set. As a method actor, Julia serviced the man for…no wait. Members of the crew noticed and starting yelling for Julie to walk away.
While Minesca convincingly played a burnt out meth addict, she is in fact an attractive and healthy actress. She has run countless marathons, the Germany Ironman and the Hawaii Ironman six times. Respect!
1. Bryan Cranston Has A Breaking Bad Tattoo
Bryan Cranston got a Breaking Bad tattoo on the inside of his finger once the show wrapped. During the final day on set in Albuquerque, Bryan and Aaron were having a goodbye drink at a hotel bar when they were joined by other crew members. They decided to get tattooed by a set decorator who moon lighted as a tattoo artist.
Cranston’s wife Robin Deardon was shocked by the decision. Of course, her surprise paled in comparison when she saw the small hat Cranston had made to put on his little Heisenberg. We kid, we kid. Tattoos on actors are nothing new. Many of the cast of the Lord of the Rings trilogy got matching tattoos to mark their time together making the film.
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