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Breaking Bad

American television series (2008–2013)
Talkin' 'bout some "Heisenberg"
Who owns the market now.
No one knows the man since
They've never seen his face.
The fury of the cartel
Ain't no one escaped it yet.

Breaking Bad (2008–2013) was a critically acclaimed American AMC drama about a 50-year-old high school chemistry teacher, Walter White, (played by Bryan Cranston) who discovers that he has terminal lung cancer. Walter decides to use his extensive knowledge of chemistry to enter the drug trade and produce crystal methamphetamine, using the profits to pay for his cancer treatment and provide for his family after his death. The term to "break bad" is American Southeast slang meaning to turn against one's previously lawful lifestyle for one of criminal acts, usually at the cost of someone else's life or well-being.

SeasonsEdit

CastEdit

About Breaking BadEdit

 
In the beginning, his emotional core was so introverted from looking at apathetic students and his own missed opportunities that he imploded. He loved his family but for the most part it was just about getting by. Then this thing happened, this diagnosis, and a volcano erupted. Now his emotions spewed, they shot out: fear, anxiety, worry, power, thirst, hunger, lust, avarice, hubris … He's feeling everything and he's alive. He hasn't been alive for most of his adult life but now he is, it's just for two years but he's fucking alive. He's ready to go and, in some ways, I don't know if he would trade it." ~ Bryan Cranston
  • In my initial research for a role, I always try to find the emotional core of a character. For Hal in Malcolm In The Middle it was fear. He was afraid of everything and there's a lot of comedy to be mined from fear. With Walt, I had a difficult time. I was trying to get in there and I was getting frustrated.
    Then I realised: 'Oh, I know what it is.' In the beginning, his emotional core was so introverted from looking at apathetic students and his own missed opportunities that he imploded. He loved his family but for the most part it was just about getting by. Then this thing happened, this diagnosis, and a volcano erupted. Now his emotions spewed, they shot out: fear, anxiety, worry, power, thirst, hunger, lust, avarice, hubris … He's feeling everything and he's alive. He hasn't been alive for most of his adult life but now he is, it's just for two years but he's fucking alive. He's ready to go and, in some ways, I don't know if he would trade it."
  • Breaking Bad doesn’t engage you passively. It’s not a show where you can go cook dinner or mix a drink while it's on. You have to be attentive, because your loyalties to these characters are constantly being tested, and that’s where allegiances start to form. People were initially in my camp, because Walter White was initially a sympathetic character, which is part of the planned manipulation from Vince—in his masterful demonic way—to take the audiences down this road as Walt's acts become more egregious and despicable. Some people went with me all the way to the end, they were on board with Walt, and a lot of other people got off the train and assigned their allegiance to someone else—especially to Jesse—because they can’t root for Walt any more. It was a show where we were constantly testing the audience to see how far they’ll go.
  • I had specific ways to get out of character at the end of a day. I would wrap a moist towel around my bald head, and another one around my face, and sit there in the makeup and hair trailer and just allow the day's grime and negative energy to escape. I’d wipe it all off of me, and that helped relieve the burden of carrying around this man’s darkness. Another thing I did every night was call my wife in California and just talk. She didn’t live through 14-hour days of Walter White. She’d talk about what’s going on at home, which helped me get out of that frame of mind and back into Bryan.

DialogueEdit

 
That’s the hook or the bait for the audience: Walt’s humanity, his humiliation as he was scrubbing cars at the car wash, trying to make extra money for his special-needs son; or his passion in the classroom, his desperation to see an interested pair of eyes. ~ Bryan Cranston
 
Is it ever worth it to compromise your morality and your ethics to try to become someone else for financial gain. That’s the crux of character. To me, character in a person is judged by the decisions that are made under pressure. Walt failed that test. ~ Bryan Cranston
Hiatt: Does it disturb you that people are still rooting for Walt?
Cranston: We have a history with Walt. It’s like if you had an uncle you loved, and you found out he was a pedophile. He’s on trial now and you’re conflicted. “I knew the guy, and he never touched me!” Yet he may have done this horrible thing. You don’t know how to feel. That’s Walter White. That’s the hook or the bait for the audience: Walt’s humanity, his humiliation as he was scrubbing cars at the car wash, trying to make extra money for his special-needs son; or his passion in the classroom, his desperation to see an interested pair of eyes.
Hiatt: If you had cancer and only a few years left to live, what would you do?
Cranston: What I’ve learned from living in Walt’s shoes is that you truly don’t know. A lot of people have asked that hypothetical question at dinner parties. “What would you do if you had a year left? What would you do if you had a million dollars?” Well, Walter is living that. It’s not hypothetical for him, and what he’s realized is that it’s day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute sometimes. He made a decision to do something bold, and now the chickens have come home to roost.
Here’s the bigger question from Walter’s perspective: Is it ever worth it to compromise your morality and your ethics to try to become someone else for financial gain. That’s the crux of character. To me, character in a person is judged by the decisions that are made under pressure. Walt failed that test. I understand why he did it; temptation, humiliation, the lack of financial security – all those elements were carefully designed by Vince to put Walt in that dilemma, but he failed to rise above the pressures. When you look at it, you realize that’s the downfall of other people – when you fail that test.
Hiatt: Vince Gilligan says he’s lost all sympathy for Walt. Does he ever think about the misery he’s caused, not only by murder, but by making pounds and pounds of crystal meth?
Cranston: I mean he’s a bright man, so if he slowed down and had time to reflect, he’d probably talk himself out of what he’s doing. And he doesn’t want that. He doesn’t want to know who’s being damaged. “I’m going to follow through with this. I started it. There’s no reason I can’t finish this.” But even he knows he’s not doing it for his family. This is who he is.
SNIERSON: The series has been decorated with so much praise, it’s easy to forget the odds stacked against a show about a terminally ill middle-aged man cooking meth… How aware were you that what you were attempting to do — having your protagonist dramatically change — was radical for TV?
GILLIGAN: Being a student of television, I realized that in most shows, the characters maintained their characteristics throughout the life of the series. I was very desirous of creating a show where the main character changed. I didn’t think of it in terms of being groundbreaking; I mainly worried that because it was a different take on the structure of a show, it would make it harder to get made…. The meth thing was the elephant in the parlor. I remember thinking, “This thing’s never going to fly because the main character cooks meth and we’re supposed to root for him to some degree. We’re going to get all kinds of static from folks who think this is a bad message to be putting out to the world.” These guys [points at Cranston and Paul] and AMC and Sony seemed less overtly worried about it than I was. Everyone else was a bit more courageous than I was, so we went ahead and did it.
PAUL: I remember reading things: “Shame on Sony, shame on AMC for greenlighting a show that’s glamorizing the cooking and selling of meth.” All of that quickly went away the moment we hit the air.
GILLIGAN: It’s pretty impossible to glamorize meth. We didn’t tilt it one way — we just showed it the way it is.
BRYAN CRANSTON: I remember having discussions when we were ready to promote it. “When they’re talking about the glorifying drug abuse and manufacturing, what should we say?” We all came to an idea: “We’ll talk about what the show is really about. It’s about this man’s decision-making.

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