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Comic-Con: “Breaking Bad”

breakingbadcranstonmaskAs if the anticipation for the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad wasn’t already intense, a Hall H panel on Comic-Con’s final day Sunday featured sneak preview footage from the end of the Walter White saga. Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick, calling the AMC series “the best show ever” and announcing that he will be hosting Talking Bad, the aftershow to air after each episode, moderated the panel, which included creator/Executive Producer Vince Gilligan and the cast, including Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, R. J. Mitte, and Bob Odenkirk. Cranston walked the floor before the panel wearing a Walter White mask, surprising the audience when he revealed on stage that he was the mask-wearer posing for pictures with fans. He later put the mask on his mic, leading to Cranston and Aaron Paul speaking into the mask’s mouth and appearing to kiss it, drawing gales of laughter from the crowd.

Cranston said that he believes that “anyone can become dangerous” when the right buttons are pushed, and that sent Walter White “from Mr. Chips to Scarface.” Paul talked about Jesse’s evolution from “lost kid” to Walter’s accomplice to being afraid of White; Gunn compared Skyler’s outlook to Walter’s, thinking she can control the situation even though “each action she takes makes it worse” and believing that somehow things will work out while knowing deep down that they will not. Mitte noted that he has ” spent (his) whole life” on the show, adding “most people have high school… I have Breaking Bad. Hank, Norris said, is “saddled by morality,” trying to do the right thing rather than the expedient thing; Odenkirk called himself “just a big fan of Breaking Bad who got a good seat” before saying the key to Saul is that “he’s good at what he does… He’s funny but he gets stuff done.” Gilligan discussed hiring actors known for comedy to do drama, asserting that comedy is harder to do than drama.

The cast and Gilligan told stories about some of the show’s more memorable moments, including Cranston’s first-take success throwing a pizza onto a roof, and how Gilligan made changes along the way to bring characters like Hector back. Also on the agenda was a discussion of moments the actors recall as changing their characters, including Jesse shooting Gale and Jane’s death scene showing Walter’s culpability. Gilligan, whose turning point was when Walter turned down the Schwartzes’ help in season one, also plugged the new interactive e-book Breaking Bad: Alchemy, which serves as a companion to the series.

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