The Los Angeles Film Festival’s “Cooking a Contemporary Classic: A Conversation with Breaking Bad” on Saturday evening featured show creator Vince Gilligan and seven of the show’s stars: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Dean Norris, Jonathan Banks and Bob Odenkirk. The AMC show’s fifth season debuts July 15 after its big screen premiere at Comic-Con (for the geeks, they say). The LAFF panel’s audience could have used a bit more of a sneak peak to go along with the conversation led by moderator Robert Abele (a brief series recap and an intense scene from the end of season 4 was the only footage shown). The whole cast is funny and charismatic, but Cranston is undoubtedly the king.
Topics ranged from Gilligan’s time writing and exec producing “The X Files” (Cranston appeared in an episode, planting the seed in Gilligan’s mind that would lead to him playing Walter White) to why we are currently in a “Golden Age” of American television. Norris says it’s the big TV screens dictating more cinematic content, while Cranston adds that original content no longer has a home at studios and that indie filmmaking is also drying up. Why? Becasue thirteen-year-old boys are the only ones going to theaters, they joke. They pose the question of which comes first — the audience or the content?
The cast happily takes some of that credit for the success of “Breaking Bad,” and touts the series as being one of the best of all time thanks to its focus on story. They know the audience for the show isn’t huge by network standards, but say that fans are those that really appreciate good writing and the fact that no other show has ever witnessed its protagonist become its antagonist in quite this way.
Watch the panel and a teaser below: