After five years as one of the most acclaimed dramas on television, on August 11th “Breaking Bad” will return for the first in its final batch of eight episodes. To celebrate the occasion creator Vince Gilligan and the cast have been taking one last victory lap to connect with the fans who helped to keep the show on the air despite modest ratings. In NYC this week alone, Film Linc is doing a week long marathon of every season of the show (topped off with special cast Q&As for their favorite episodes), Gilligan sat for an extended Q&A at the Museum of the Moving Image (which has also just opened an exhibit of props and artifacts from the show titled “From Mr. Chips To Scarface: Walter White’s Transformation In Breaking Bad” which will run through October) and Gilligan and some of the cast stopped by the Apple Store in Soho before Gilligan and the entire principal cast (Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, R.J. Mitte, Bob Odenkirk) landed at the Times Center last night for Times Talks: A Conversation with “Breaking Bad” Cast and Creator, an extended conversation moderated by NY Times columnist Dave Itzkoff.
Though some of the anecdotes may be familiar to diehard fans of the show, it was still a very special evening and a real pleasure seeing how much the cast enjoys each other. Cranston and Paul ribbed each other like siblings and at one point onscreen husband and wife Norris and Brandt both broke out into tears while remembering a particularly emotional scene.
Though the crew were sure to remain tight lipped on any future plot developments, Gilligan did reveal that “Looper” director Rian Johnson (who had previously helmed the episodes “Fly” and “Fifty-One“) will return to direct the third to last episode titled “Ozymandias” which almost certainly has to do with this just released teaser. Gilligan praised Johnson calling him “the next Spielberg or next Michael Mann” and said his upcoming episode might be the best in the entire series. “It may be the best one we’ve ever done…. unfortunately there’s two more [episodes] after that,” Gilligan said wryly.
They also did manage to shed a little light one of last season’s most memorable moments. Since the finale aired last summer viewers have wondered what could’ve possessed Walt to leave the inscribed (and incriminating) copy of “Leaves Of Grass” out on the toilet only to be discovered by Hank in the final moments of the season. For a criminal who had been so careful in covering his tracks it seemed especially careless. “He neither wanted to be caught nor was he particularly arrogant in that moment,” Gilligan said. “He had been out of the business a month when Hank goes into his bathroom and he just was not as cautious as he should’ve been. I think it was a mistake pure and simple that he did that. It’s possible that the book was given to him by Gayle and it’s possible he might not even have realized it was inscribed. But if you said to me it was arrogance or he wanted to get caught, I wouldn’t argue with you.” Cranston added his own take saying, “He used to be a very methodical man, he was a man of science and along with the metamorphosis came this infusion of ego and impulsiveness. So he’s not as thorough as he use to be… and he was a little careless.”
Over the 90 minute conversation the lively panel also discussed what other shows they admire, if Cranston believes that Walt deserves to die and Walt Jr.’s favorite breakfast food. They even acknowledged the popular meme that the series would end with Walt going into the witness protection program only to emerge as the goodnatured father Hal from “Malcolm In The Middle.” You can watch the entire Q&A by clicking the link here. (Sorry, no embed available.)
“Breaking Bad” will return for its final 8 episodes beginning August 11th on AMC.