The good news is that “Breaking Bad” is coming back soon-ish. The second half of this last season premieres on August 11. The bad news is that there are only eight more episodes in the entire series and then we’ll have to say goodbye to these wonderful characters, sort of. Saul Goldman is probably getting his own comedy spin-off, which should be bizarre and interesting. I imagine we’ll see some other familiar faces on that show, which is also from the mind of BB creator Vince Gilligan. There are rumors that the spin off will be a prequel. That way, several now-deceased characters can be featured.
Also good news: Bryan Cranston is getting a ton of work and is being lauded seemingly everywhere. Here we have him looking hot on the cover of August GQ in a nice suit and some well-maintained scruff. I don’t care how old he is (57, not bad) I so would. I just adore the guy. GQ has a very nice profile of Cranston on their website. They detail how he got his start in acting (by taking a random elective class in college) and they also talk about how he scored the role of Walter White in Breaking Bad. Creator Gilligan advocated for Cranston, and Gilligan speaks at length in the piece about the character and about the potential direction the show will take this season. Here’s some of GQ’s article. They also have a hot 70s-themed photoshoot of Cranston.
Bryan Cranston on how he first envisioned Walter White:
“I actually thought of my father, how he stands hunched, burdened. We didn’t have Walt stand erect until he became Heisenberg. I said, ‘I want his mustache to look impotent. I want people to look at it and go, Why bother?’ I thought he should wear clothes that blend into the wall: beige, sand, taupe, khaki. His hair should be a mop. Nothing’s remarkable about this man.”
on Walter White’s transformation:
“What happened to Walt is something I related to, if I’m truly honest with myself. I’ve come to realize that I think everybody is capable of that. If you came into a condition where you were under tremendous stress. And if I knew what buttons to push that threatened you and yours… You could become an extremely dangerous person.”
on having violent urges of his own:
“I had one girlfriend I wanted to kill.”
It was a woman he dated after his short-lived first marriage. She was a drug addict, terriblyunstable, and she followed Cranston to New York when he left L.A. to work on the soap opera Loving. She stalked him, leaving messages on his answering machine: “I’m gonna kill you. I’m gonna cut your balls off. I’m gonna have your dick sawed off.” Finally, one day, the woman showed up at Cranston’s Upper West Side apartment, banging on the door.
“And I envisioned myself killing her. It was so clear. My apartment had a brick wall on one side, and I envisioned opening the door, grabbing her by the hair, dragging her inside, and shoving her head into that brick wall until brain matter was dripping down the sides of it. Then I shuddered and realized how clearly I saw that happening. And I called the police because I was so afraid. I was temporarily insane—capable of doing tremendous damage to her and to myself.”
on how he’d like to see Breaking Bad end:
“I had notions. Like, ‘What if he created this toxic world around him and, because of his actions, everybody he loved died and he had to stay alive?’ But then I’d think, ‘He’s wrought so much, he has to die. Doesn’t he?’ But if he dies, what does he die of? Maybe he dies of cancer. After all this other danger! But my true answer of how I wanted it to end, my honest answer, is this: however Vince Gilligan wants it to end.”
Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan on Cranston’s on-screen presence:
“He’s telepathic. I can’t tell you how much dialogue we’ve cut out of this show over the years in the editing room, stuff that we wrote and really liked, that when we got to the editing room and wesaid to ourselves, ‘You know, we don’t need this line. It’s not necessary, because I see exactly what he’s thinking.’ ”
on his inspirations for the show’s ending:
“I keep coming back to M*A*S*H. From the first episode, these people sit around and say, ‘All I want to do is go home.’ So of course they all get to go home in the final episode. Sometimes the best moment in a TV show is an unpredictable moment, but sometimes it’s actually being predictable.”
There’s a cool surprise at the end of the article, about a small tattoo Cranston got in honor of the show. You can read about it on GQ. There’s also another segment I wanted to share, where Cranston revealed that a specific scene got to him emotionally. Spoiler for season two follows
Do you remember when Walt watched Jesse’s girlfriend Jane die from a drug overdose and did absolutely nothing to save her? The character, played by Krysten Ritter, was trying to blackmail Walt. When Walt went to Jesse’s apartment to “help” him, he witnessed Jane choking on her own vomit. Instead of intervening, Walt coldly watched Jane take her last breath and left, problem solved. In GQ, Cranston reveals that he was very affected by that scene and that he cried afterwards. “There was one point where I was going through the range of Walter’s emotions and, involuntarily, I saw my daughter’s face. I must have been conjuring the idea that she was somebody’s daughter, and I saw Taylor’s face, choking.” The fact that Cranston played that scene so well is a testament to how talented he is. He deserves all the awards he’s won and then some.
As for how Breaking Bad is going to end, I want Jesse to win. I want Jesse to realize what’s become of Walter and I want him to be triumphant somehow, even if that means Jesse is the kingpin in the end. I see Walt transferring his moral dilemma to Jesse.
photo credit: Nathaniel Goldberg / GQ.