Vince Gilligan on Breaking Bad

Interview

Friday, July 01, 2011

Bryan Cranston (left) as Walter White, a meth-cooking high school chemistry teacher terminal lung cancer, alongside his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul, right). Bryan Cranston (left) as Walter White and Aaron Paul (right) as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad (AMC)

"I am amazed that this show is on the air — constantly amazed — because on paper this show shouldn't work," Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan tells Kurt Andersen. It's no wonder he feels that way.

Breaking Bad is the story of Walter White (Bryan Cranston), an underachieving high school chemistry teacher and suburban dad in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He begins cooking crystal meth in desperation, worried about his medical bills and the future of his pregnant wife and handicapped son.  But it gets worse: as the series progresses, Walter spirals downward from a good person making bad choices into a remorseless drug kingpin. "We're taking our good guy and we're making him bad," Gilligan said.

Vince GilliganVince Gilligan (Craig Barritt/AMC)

Breaking Bad has attracted legions of fans, plaudits from critics, and a number of awards, including three best actor Emmys for Bryan Cranston. Breaking Bad begins its fourth season on AMC in July. "I hope you're not afraid of the dark," Gilligan warns fans of the new season, "because the show gets a lot darker at times than it has been in the past."

 

    Music Playlist
  • Breaking Bad Main Title Theme
    Artist: Dave Porter
    Album: Music from the Original Series Breaking Bad

Guests:

Vince Gilligan

Contributors:

Max Bernstein

Comments [4]

A Bewildered Fan from South Bend, IN

Dear Mr. Gilligan,
I recently started watching your show and it has quickly become one of my favorites. I could write all day about what the show has done right, but I would like to take this time to point out one major flaw in episode 4 of season 3, entitled, "Green Light." Now, this episode has clearly derived its name from the final scene of the episode. In this scene, Walter is waiting at a red light and receives a portion of the money that Jesse has earned from a drug deal using Walt's crystal meth recipe. The plot hole does not lie in Walt's reception of the money, but in how the transaction is executed. Victor, one of Saul's henchmen, pulls up to the left of Walt's car in the lefthand turn lane, signals for Walt to roll down his window, and throws "his half" in Walt's car. After doing so, Victor makes and illegal righthand turn in front of Walt's car into what could have been oncoming traffic while the light is still red. Here's my problem: wouldn't it have been simpler, safer, and much more sensible for Victor to pull into the righthand turn lane, signal for Walt to roll down his window, and toss the money onto the empty passenger seat of Walt's car? This way, Victor could make a legal righthand turn and avoid any legal action. I'm confused.

Sincerely,
A Bewildered Fan

Feb. 22 2012 06:52 PM
james gilligan

Dear Vince,

For years I lived in the shadow of another writer and creator named Sherwood Shwartz, who created the show "Gilligans Island". As you know, he died recently rather peacefully well into his nineties. Rather surprsingly,this show survied for 40 years in cable land. It really never went away. Do you know how he came up with the title show? He went through the phone book and found the name to be rather humeruos. I felt sorry for my father, a telephone man,who I know was getting some serious crap back in 1962 as the rest of his family did. Well, here is why I'm writing. It has been a vindication of sorts to share a last name with a clever, edgy show (Breaking Bad) that has slowly pulled me in. So, I want to thank you for that. Does this make sense?.....Jim

Jul. 28 2011 01:41 PM
john from baltimore md

fascinating interview . . . as a fan of the show,
it made for an even more compelling profile.

ottenheimer, john

Jul. 02 2011 02:27 PM
gabrielle from bk

this show is incredible.

Jul. 01 2011 10:35 AM

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