There is a reason the Guinness Book of World Records has stated that Breaking Bad is the highest-rated television show of all time. The show may have only lasted five seasons, but it is five of the best seasons of television out there. With outstanding and acclaimed acting from several sources and writing that keeps you on the edge of your seat, you need to be prepared to clear your schedule once you start watching. Bryan Cranston‘s transformation is as haunting as it is impressive. It is clear that the only thing that may be more addictive than the meth created on the show is the show itself.
What happens when you sit down and rip through a series is that you miss out on a lot of the little cool details that exist about the show. Do you know why Tuco’s storyline ended the way it did or what the writers considered the darkest thing Walt did (and almost didn’t do)? Are you less interested in tracking down some tidbits about the show, especially because it’s been off the air for a little while? That’s totally cool if you are, because I am, and you better believe I have come across some of the coolest facts out there.
How about the fact that the blue meth has also appeared in The Walking Dead and Arrow? There’s no shortage of little pieces of trivia about the series that help make it clear why it was one of the more engaging shows of all time. I assure you after you read this list, not only will you get some really cool background information, but you will also gain a deeper appreciation for the efforts of everyone involved with the show.
Here are 20 shocking things that you never knew about Breaking Bad, but I do warn you, there are spoilers ahead! So don’t go sending Heisenberg after me if you get pissed that something gets ruined in the series for you!
20. Tuco Asked To Be Killed
Wait, what? Someone actually wanted to leave the show? Hard to imagine when you consider the success, but Tuco’s run on the show would have been a lot longer if the executives could have had their way with it. Raymond Clark, the actor who played Tuco, was also working on another show, The Closer, at the time and allegedly stated that the character of Tuco was too physically and mentally demanding to keep up.
Clark stated that he would shoot all of his scenes on Saturdays and Sundays and then he’d fly out, go and shoot all of his scenes for The Closer, and then fly back for another weekend of work on Breaking Bad.
19. The Meth Has Appeared In Other Shows
Well, when you have the best meth around, it is only natural that it would appear in more than just one show, right? Fans of The Walking Dead may notice some of the blue meth in the episode “Bloodletting”. The drugs are found in Merle Dixon’s drug stash, among other methods of getting high. It also makes a brief appearance on an episode of Arrow, when Diggle is caught with a bag that is full of blue meth. While Walter may not make an appearance, there is no doubting that the blue stuff is a homage to one of the greatest characters of all time.
18. Samuel L. Jackson Recorded Monologues
Samuel L. Jackson seems to love putting in an effort for a good cause, and he seemed to love Breaking Bad so why not combine the two? In an effort to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association, Jackson offered several rewards to help entice people to donate. One way that he raised awareness was that he recorded himself saying monologues or different key speeches from Breaking Bad. I’m not too sure how the two things are related, but it definitely increased the awareness of Jackson’s efforts.
17. The Inspiration From Schindler’s List
Thankfully, the inspiration was only an artistic choice when deciding how to shoot a scene. Season 2 opens with little teasers of what is implied to be a meth lab explosion, and the only item that is not shot in black and white is a stark pink teddy bear. The creators cut back to this scene throughout the season, with the bear always being the only color. Creator Vince Gilligan stated that he drew inspiration off of Schindler’s List, which, famously, had a girl in a red coat standout in contrast to the entire black and white film. While Gilligan’s efforts weren’t quite as impactful, it is still great to see where inspiration comes from.
16. Bryan Cranston Has A Breaking Bad Tattoo
You are always told when you are younger that if you are going to get a tattoo, make sure you get something that is meaningful to you. It’s hard to argue that Breaking Bad was not a significant part of Cranston’s life, so it may be only natural to assume that the actor went and got himself a Breaking Bad tattoo. The tattoo is incredibly subtle, as Cranston elected to get the iconic Breaking Bad logo tattooed onto the inside of one of his fingers. Cranston states that he got the tattoo on the final day of filming, as just one more way to try and remember the iconic series.
15. Vince Gilligan Was Offered $75 Million For 3 Episodes
If you are the CEO of Dreamworks, you are able to have some pretty ridiculous offers. Jeffrey Katzenberg went up to Vince Gilligan and offered him and his team an additional $75 million, and all they had to do was film 3 more episodes! Katzenberg stated that if they had taken the offer, that it would have earned them more of a profit than the entire series up to that point.
Thankfully, they disagreed. Katzenberg also had the crazy idea of having the last 3 episodes be released over 30 days, in 6 minute increments. Katzenberg wanted “to create the greatest pay-per-view television event for scripted programming anybody’s ever done.”
Yeah, no thanks! Katzenberg would have wanted anything from 50 cents, to 99 cents per installment of the show.
14. It’s Called Blue Sky
There were a lot of different slang terms used for the meth, but one that seems to have stuck is Blue Sky. This is also the name of a soda company that can be found in New Mexico. While the soda is not quite as addictive as blue meth, it is interesting to know from where the name came. The soda also makes an appearance in the show when Badger is sitting on the bench, prior to him being arrested in the episode “Better Call Saul” and is bought in the episode “Green Light”.
13. SaveWalterWhite.com Is Real
During the show, there is a storyline in which Walter Jr. (sorry, Flynn) wants to create a website to help raise donations for Walt’s treatment. The storyline may not have been all that intriguing to viewers, but you may be intrigued to know that the website mentioned in the show exists in real life. Knowing that people would start searching it, if you search the site, you’ll get redirected to the donation page for the National Cancer Coalition. To make things even better, I bet if you donate money it probably won’t go towards funding a meth dealer!
12. There’s A Reason “Fly” Sucked
Now, you aren’t going to get Vince to admit it, but one of the episodes of the series that may make a lot of fans groan is the fly episode that appears towards the end of the third season. The episode is best known not for some crazy meth deals or high stakes action, but for Walter and his insistent attempt at catching a fly that could contaminate the entire lab. Gilligan mentions that they needed to create an episode that was set in one location because they were over-budget and in order to move production trucks to different locations, it would have cost the studio between $25,000-35,000.
11. The Inspiration Came From A Japanese Film, Ikiru
The film was released in 1952 and directly translates to “To Live”. In the film, a local city worker is hit with cancer but instead of being sad, decides “to live”. Given how often Walt states through the series that he is finally able to let go and start living his life, it is easy to see the inspiration that was taken. Cancer can be an incredibly debilitating thing, but it can also be very freeing. This is an element that the show displays beautifully. That being said, there is probably a lot more crystal meth and mentioning of the word “bitch” in Breaking Bad.
10. There Are Different Versions Of The Show
While you know the classic Americanized version of Bryan Cranston, you may be disappointed if you are checking out the Spanish or Colombian versions of Breaking Bad. The Spanish version features Diego Trujillo as the main character, Walter Blanco. While the series only received 3.5/10 on IMDB, you do have to give them credit for producing 62 episodes. Though if you are really desperate after you binge-watched the American series, you know you’re going to be at least a little tempted. As an added bonus, if you ever needed inspiration to learn Spanish then you may have just found it!
9. RJ Mitte Actually Has Cerebral Palsy
While it is evident that the character has cerebral palsy, you may be interested to learn that the actor who plays him, RJ Mitte, also battles cerebral palsy. The condition is apparently far less pronounced in Mitte than in comparison to the character who he plays. RJ Mitte came out and said that he needed to learn how to walk slower and to slow down his own speech in order to play the character effectively. While there are mixed reactions from audiences about the character, you at least need to respect the actor’s dedication.
8. There Is A Walter White Gravestone
After the series ended, fans were obviously feeling like there was a gap in their life. One way to get closure: why not attend a fake funeral for the departed Mr.White? A charity in Albuquerque attempted to raise funds for those suffering from drug addictions by hosting a fake funeral and allowing attendance for $20. Over 200 people allegedly went up to a cemetery for a real-life Walter White, and threw memorabilia into a vault, which was then buried. This act, while it may seem harmless, greatly upset the family members of those in surrounding graves and a petition was drawn up to try and stop the event. There was a eulogy that was given by Michael Flowers, who was one of the primary set directors on the show.
The funeral allegedly raised close to $11,000.
7. Breaking Bad Was A Common Phrase To Vince Gilligan
One of the first reactions that a lot of people have when they first hear the name Breaking Bad is “what the hell does that even mean?” The series doesn’t do a great job of physically addressing the phrase, outside of Jesse looking at Walter and talking about how all of a sudden he’s gone from this straight-edged teacher and now he’s going to “break bad”? For creator Vince Gilligan, it was just a regional saying from Virginia, where he was born and raised. According to Gilligan (and Jesse) the phrase essentially means raising hell, which Walter most definitely did.
6. Aaron Paul Was Supposed To Last One Season
If you are a big fan of the show, this one may not come as big of a shock, but could you imagine if the series went ahead as planned? Allegedly, it was Aaron Paul’s acting ability and his chemistry with Bryan Cranston that made the creators realize he needed to be kept around. Paul clearly ran with the opportunity and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Supporting Actor in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. As amazing as Cranston’s acting is, it would have lost such a great element if he didn’t have Aaron Paul to help further his efforts. Just goes to show you that sometimes it’s not a bad thing when you have to change your overall plan.
5. It Was Actually Rock Candy
Shockingly, they couldn’t exactly use actual meth, so the creators had to come up with some kind of product to simulate the iconic blue look. It turns out the fake blue meth wasn’t too bad to taste! Aaron Paul states:
“Whenever the blue meth is on set, I am constantly eating it… It’s cotton candy-flavored rock candy. They dye it a little bit, but I don’t care – I just eat through the dye.”
What a champion! At least, it’s definitely going to be better for you than meth, but it’s still probably not going to be the best for your teeth. Let’s hope they have dental coverage built into their contract!
4. Who Else Was Considered For Walter White
There is little doubt that Bryan Cranston is an outstanding actor. If you had any hesitation before he got cast, you certainly shouldn’t after seeing what he did with the role. As happy as you are that Cranston got the role, you should be extra happy that Matthew Broderick and John Cusack didn’t! Both prominent actors were the executives’ first choices to play Walter White. It was Cranston’s role on an X-Files episode, which Gilligan worked on, that helped earn Cranston the audition and, ultimately, the role of Walter White.
An executive stated: “We all still had the image of Bryan shaving his body in Malcolm In The Middle. We were like, ‘Really? Isn’t there anybody else?’” Joke’s on you because if it was anybody else, who knows what the series would have looked like.
3. Bryan Cranston Was Taught How To Cook
If you watch the show, it is clear that cooking meth may not be an easy process. Not to mention that once you cook it, then you have to deal with actually selling and moving it. Thankfully, Cranston only got a lesson on how to cook the meth and not on how to become a drug lord.
In preparation for the show, Cranston met with the DEA and they taught him all the steps. When the steps are shown on the show, they are often put in the wrong order in order to not, y’know, teach viewers how to make meth. While there is no telling if this experience made Cranston a better actor, you better believe that it was a cool perk of getting to play the character.
There is no telling if Aaron Paul became addicted to meth to enhance his acting, but I would guess not.
2. Why Mike Was Created
One of the best characters on the show is Mike Erhmantraut. A former cop turned ‘problem fixer’, Mike provided some added muscle to the series and was part of many iconic scenes in the series. The character would not have come to fruition if not for a conflict with Bob Odenkirk that required the series to create a character to go in and clean up after Jane’s death. The creator and fan base reacted strongly enough to Mike’s character that he was written into a much bigger character as the series started to progress.
1. Jane’s Death Was Almost Not Done
Vince Gilligan has been asked many questions about the show over the years, but one that he seems to always get asked is if there was anything on the show that they almost thought was too evil. While some ideas got thrown away, one that stuck was the idea of Walter watching Jane overdose and not attempt to help. It is easy to see why they had to mull it over; the scene is absolutely brutal to watch and really cements the transformation that Walt had undergone. Vince stated that there was also the idea of Walter giving her a 2nd hit, but it was deemed too heavy by the people at AMC and Sony.