10 Things You Might Not Know About BREAKING BAD - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About BREAKING BAD

Say my name, says Geek Dave.

With a new Jesse Pinkman centric spin-off movie arriving soon, we go back to the origins of Breaking Bad for ten things you might not know about the acclaimed television series. Including how Jesse nearly didn't make it past season one!...

1. Breaking Bad was created by Vince Gilligan, who had previously spent several years writing for the Fox series The X-Files. Gilligan wanted to create a series in which the protagonist became the antagonist.
Television is historically good at keeping its characters in a self-imposed stasis so that shows can go on for years or even decades. When I realized this, the logical next step was to think, how can I do a show in which the fundamental drive is toward change?
He added that his goal with Walter White was to turn him from Mr. Chips into Scarface.

The concept emerged as Gilligan talked with his fellow X-Files writer Thomas Schnauz regarding their current unemployment and joked that the solution was for them to put a "meth lab in the back of an RV and [drive] around the country cooking meth and making money".

2.  The show title is a Southern colloquialism meaning, among other things, "raising hell", and was chosen by Gilligan to describe Walter's transformation. But, according to Time entertainment, the term has a broader meaning and is an old phrase which...
...connotes more violence than 'raising hell' does ... The words possess a wide variety of nuances: to 'break bad' can mean to 'go wild', to 'defy authority', and break the law, to be verbally 'combative, belligerent, or threatening' or, followed by the preposition 'on', 'to dominate or humiliate'.
Perfectly summing up Walter White.

3. Gilligan cast Bryan Cranston for the role of Walter White based on having worked with him in the "Drive" episode of The X-Files. Cranston played an anti-Semite with a terminal illness who took series co-protagonist Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) hostage.

Gilligan said the character had to be simultaneously loathsome and sympathetic, and that...
Bryan alone was the only actor who could do that, who could pull off that trick. And it is a trick. I have no idea how he does it.
However, the Network officials over at AMC, who had commissioned the series, were initially reluctant with the casting choice, having known Cranston only as the over-the-top character Hal on the comedy series Malcolm in the Middle. So AMC approached actors John Cusack and Matthew Broderick about the role. When both actors declined, the executives were persuaded to cast Cranston after seeing his X-Files episode.

4. Cranston contributed significantly to the formation and development of the Walter White persona. For instance, when Gilligan left much of Walter's past unexplained during the development of the series, the actor wrote his own backstory for the character. Cranston also repeatedly identified elements in certain scripts where he disagreed with how the character was handled, and went so far as to call Gilligan directly when he could not work out disagreements with the episode's screenwriters.

Before filming began on Breaking Bad, Cranston gained 10 pounds to reflect the character's personal decline, and had the natural red highlights of his hair dyed brown. He collaborated with costume designer Kathleen Detoro on a wardrobe of mostly neutral green and brown colors to make the character bland and unremarkable, though as the series progresses, Walter White's wardrobe changes and he starts wearing more and more black or dark-colored clothing. Cranston also worked with makeup artist Frieda Valenzuela to create a mustache he described as "impotent" and like a "dead caterpillar".

Cranston has said he was inspired partially by his elderly father for how Walter carries himself physically, which he described as "a little hunched over, never erect, [as if] the weight of the world is on this man's shoulders."

5. Aaron Paul's casting was also initially questioned by AMC, as the Network felt Paul looked too old and looked too much like a "pretty boy" to be associated with meth cooking! Even Gilligan himself was reluctant but reconsidered Paul's skills after seeing his audition and recalling he had also had guest starred on The X-Files episode "Lord of the Flies".

6. AMC ordered nine episodes for the first season (including the pilot), but the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike meant that only the first seven were filmed. It's a good job too as within the original nine-episode arc, Gilligan had planned to kill off either Jesse or DEA Hank Schrader, as a "ballsy" moment to end the season on.

When the run of episodes was reduced this death was eliminated, which Gilligan found to be a net positive given the strength of acting that both Paul and Dean Norris brought to these roles through the seasons.

7. The writers strike also helped to slow down production long enough for Gilligan and his writing team to readjust the pacing of the show, which in the original arc had been moving too quickly.

The intended climax to the first season would have seen Walt 'break bad' by being behind the death of either Jesse or Hank. Gilligan felt slowing this transformation down, and still having Walt as more protagonist than antagonist at this early stage of the series, would go on to be a far more rewarding experience for the series and the viewer.

8. Gilligan originally set Breaking Bad in Riverside, California, but at the suggestion of AMC, Albuquerque was chosen for the production's location due to the favorable financial conditions offered by the state of New Mexico. Once Gilligan recognized that this would mean "we'd always have to be avoiding the Sandia Mountains" in shots directed toward the east, the story setting was changed to the actual production location.

And a nice nod to the 'actual production location' appears in the series. The coordinates that Walt hid on a Lotto ticket (N 34, 59′, 20″, W 106, 36′, 52), which sadly proved fatal for Hank, don’t actually lead to $80 million in cash, or even a few plastic barrels, but rather they point straight to Q Studios in Albuquerque, where the series was shot.

9. Although Breaking Bad tells the fictional story of Walter White, a struggling and depressed high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with stage-3 lung cancer, who together with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) turn to a life of crime by producing and selling crystallized methamphetamine, there have been cases of life imitating art.

In 2013, William Duncan, a chemistry teacher from Texas, was arrested for selling home-cooked meth within school grounds. He's not the only one as in 2011 74-year-old mathematics professor Irina Kristy was caught running a meth lab from her Boston home. Then in 2013, Stephen Doran, a Boston teacher with stage 3 cancer, was found dealing meth and arrested.

But there's a much more shocking case as although Breaking Bad premiered in January 2008 and Gilligan and Co. had no knowledge of the events, a meth dealer had already earned a place on Alabama''s Most Wanted list. His name - Walter White!

The real life Walter White was subsequently arrested not long after series one of Breaking Bad had finished. He was then caught breaking the terms of his parole and re-sentenced in 2013, the same month Breaking Bad aired its final episode.

10. Breaking Bad ran for 62 episodes. The 62nd element on the periodic table is Samarium, an isotope of which is used to treat various forms of cancer, including lung cancer.


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