Breaking Bad stars, creator reveal the one story they always wanted to see
Breaking Bad covered a lot of groundbreaking ground in five seasons, as we watched a cancer-ridden chemistry teacher named Walter White mutate before our eyes into a terrifying meth kingpin, all under the guise of providing for his family before his death. Of course, there were only so much alarming action, harrowing heartbreak, and caustic comedy that could be stuffed into 62 episodes of AMC’s acclaimed drama, leaving a few story possibilities relegated to the wish box. While speaking to EW for the cover story that reunited the Bad cast, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and creator Vince Gilligan reached deep into the recesses of their brains and pulled out a dream scenario that remained, well, just that.
Shall we start with a wild WW scenario? That would be Walt (Bryan Cranston) and prostitute Wendy (Julia Minesci). “It was just all in my fantasy,” explains Cranston. “I thought, “Well, if we’re exploring not just his transformation occupationally, emotionally, why not have him go a little off? There was a thought: What if he has this wild affair with Wendy or someone? I thought that would be interesting in the exploration of losing himself…. There was that scene when [Jesse goes] to that drug den and we are walking though and everybody is messed up — that kind of sensibility where you go so deep. My character might display it in a different [way].”
Paul, meanwhile, had a less tawdry idea percolating for his character, who had partnered up with Walt to create the meth empire. While Jesse had a memorable and highly awkward dinner with Walt’s wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), “I was waiting for the time that Jesse was going to meet Walt Jr. [RJ Mitte],” says Paul. “I remember that scene when Walt is in a sleep deprived state, exhausted, falling asleep and he calls Flynn by Jesse’s name. That was just so heartbreaking and Flynn was confused, but he had no idea what that really meant at that time.”
Gilligan says that the possibilities of Jesse meeting Flynn and of Walt having an affair were bandied about in the writers’ room, but those stories never panned out. He did, however, find allure in a different kind of self-destructive story for Walt, more akin to Jesse’s descent. “The other thing we talked about was: Should Walter White ever try his own product?” says the creator. “He’s so proud of the product. What would happen if he tried it? Would he like it? Would he get hooked on it?”
Alas, the more Gilligan explored the notion of this chemist getting high on his supply, the less organic it felt, especially given Walt’s personality. In doing research on meth-manufacturing psychology, Gilligan read stories of former meth cooks who got into the business “because they loved the product — or they quickly came to love the product,” he says. “A lot of the recovering ones we talked to or read about said that they became hooked on the process of cooking, as some heroin addicts become hooked on the process of getting a needle ready. It just seemed to us that it was enough that Walt was hooked on the power and the chemistry — and the process. It would’ve muddied the waters if he started using the drug, because this was a man who never had control in his life, and suddenly he’s got control. Why mess up a good thing?”
Meanwhile, Betsy Brandt — who played the well-intentioned, high-strung Marie, wife of DEA agent Hank (Dean Norris) — had two specific hard-edged wishes. She was hoping that Marie would have the opportunity to use some salty language, and the actress even lobbied Gilligan & Co. for a cuss. “We were allowed one f— a season to say,” she explains. “And I was like, ‘This is why…’ I would make a case as to why Marie should be granted that.” In addition, given Hank’s line of work, she always wanted Marie to showcase her own shooting skills, however good or bad they might be. “If it turns out she’s actually a really good aim with the gun, I think that’s great,” she says. “If it turns out she thinks she is but she’s a total mess, I would be happy. If Vince wants to write that, we could shoot it on his phone — just for us. I would do it. I would buy something purple. I would do it in a heartbeat. I would’ve loved for her to get in on some of the action.”
To read more from the cast about EW’s Breaking Bad 10th anniversary reunion, tread not-so-lightly over here.
To see the epic Breaking Bad reunion photo along with a cast portrait gallery, head over here.
Walter White descends into the criminal underworld.