Cranston ‘Proud’ of How ‘Breaking Bad’ Ended26 Nov, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey
LOS ANGELES — Bryan Cranston would have happily kept playing Walter White in “Breaking Bad” for another year or so, helping the show rack up more primetime Emmys and worldwide praise.
But “Breaking Bad” had to end when it did, the way it did, the 57-year-old actor said.
“We had a great group over six years,” Cranston said, speaking Nov. 25 after a special screening of the documentary No Half Measures: Creating the Final Season of Breaking Bad. “I think what most of us will miss the most is the intimacy that you create working with people like that. You invest in each other, trust each other and create something that was memorable for audiences and yourself.
“In a way I'm kind of sad that we don't have another year to go. But it's better to be finished and proud. This show was able to make it through 62 episodes because of the fan base.”
It’s that fan base that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment caters to Nov. 26 with the Blu-ray Disc release of Breaking Bad: The Complete Series, a monster gift set that packs in more than 55 hours of bonus features and commemorative memorabilia selected by series creator Vince Gilligan, all in a collectible barrel (a replica of the one Walter White used to hide his money in). Tops among the bonuses is the two-plus hour documentary, an inside look at everything that went into the making of the final season, which finished airing in September.
“‘Breaking Bad’ not only has become one of the most acclaimed dramatic series in the history of television, but it has also developed a large and ferociously loyal fan base,” said Lexine Wong, senior EVP of worldwide marketing at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. “So, on the occasion of the release of Breaking Bad: The Final Season, it was very important for us to provide these consumers with a product equal to their expectations. I think that SPHE has met this challenge by providing an abundance of real value added features to help alleviate the ‘withdrawal’ that many fans are experiencing with the end of the series.
“These include, among other things, a brilliantly clever alternate ending to the series and, exclusive to the Breaking Bad Complete Series barrel gift set, a fascinating and hugely entertaining two-hour documentary on the making of the final season.”
The 16-disc set includes all the bonuses from previously released seasons (including retailer exclusives) a Los Pollos Hermanos apron, a collectible booklet with a letter from Gilligan and a commemorative “Breaking Bad” coin designed and created by Gilligan exclusively for the set. Season five bonuses include cast and crew commentaries for each episode, uncensored and extended episodes, four featurettes, an alternate ending, a gag reel, deleted and extended scenes, episode of “Inside Breaking Bad” and a confession from Walter White.
During the panel discussion Nov. 25, Gilligan agreed with Cranston that the series was meant to end when and how it did. That didn’t make him any less sentimental about the experience.
“I couldn’t be more proud of it. I think it ended at the right time. I’m sad that it’s over, for personal reasons, because I don’t get to hang out with these guys as often as I used to,” Gilligan said. “I feel grateful. That’s the one word: grateful.”
Gilligan made note of the various theories fans had about the show — that it was all a dream being among his favorites — but stressed that he stayed away from Internet “Breaking Bad” discussions because it was “emotionally healthier.”
“But you wind up hearing stuff anyway,” he admitted.
Cranston, who said he was amazed at how far-reaching the series’ fan base is (listing off Fiji, Iceland, Spain and Australia) said it was the writing of “Breaking Bad” that made it so successful.
“Over 35 years that I’ve been doing this professionally, I think the thing I’ve really honed in on is the ability to identify well-written material,” he said. “That’s probably the best thing I do. When I read [Gilligan’s] script I just knew, if we were lucky enough to get it made, that this was going to be something special.
“None of us could have ever … guessed that this was going to be a hit.”
Other panelists included actors Dean Norris (Hank Schrader), Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman), RJ Mitte (Walter White, Jr.) and Lavell Crawford (Huell). Notably absent from the panel was actor Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman).
“He was misbehaving on the car ride over, so I had to leave him by the side of the road,” Cranston joked.
Odenkirk noted that the show gained traction toward the end because of Netflix, with new fans binge-viewing previous seasons before tuning in live for the latest episodes.
“The show took off because of the type of show it is. People talk about it, share it with their friends, play it on Netflix, streaming, and that was a big kick for it,” Odenkirk said.
And as for the anticipated “Breaking Bad” spin-off, “Better Call Saul”?
“You’ll have to ask that guy over there, Vince, who’s writing it,” Odenkirk said. “It's a mystery to me and I'm excited to find out what these guys cook up."
To see images from the event, click here.