Things sure have changed since they were the headliners on “Breaking Bad” nearly a decade ago.
While the cat has been out of the bag awhile now about Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul reprising their iconic characters of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman on an upcoming episode of “Better Call Saul,” the hit AMC prequel to “Breaking Bad,” the pair revealed some details about just how secretive their last trip back to Albuquerque was more than a year ago to film their parts for the show, which has just five episodes remaining.
The two joked that friend and former castmate Bob Odenkirk, who played their attorney on “Breaking Bad” and is now the lead character Jimmy McGill, a.k.a. Saul Goodman, on “Better Call Saul,” has become far more demanding than when they were working so closely with him nearly a decade ago.
“Odenkirk insisted,” Bryan Cranston explained, tongue in cheek. “He said, ‘This is my show. This is what you will do.’ I was like, ‘Wow. He’s really changed.’ ”
In a wide-ranging interview this past week with the Journal, Cranston and Paul were talking about their planned upcoming visit later this month to Albuquerque – the home base for filming and the setting for the past 15 years for both “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul.” The two were complimentary as ever about the city and how it became such a valued and vital character itself in both shows.
While Cranston and Paul didn’t reveal details of just how their characters might work into the Saul storyline as it wraps up its sixth, and final season, IMDB.com has already updated both actors’ filmography pages showing they will appear in episode 10 on July 25.
That is four days before the pair will have bronze statues installed at the Albuquerque Convention Center (the statues were commissioned in 2019 by show creator Vince Gilligan and donated to the city), and on July 30 the two will be appearing at Isotopes Park to, among other things, host a silent auction of personally donated items from the show with proceeds going to two New Mexico-based charities: the New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers and the Children’s Cancer Fund of New Mexico.
“We’re excited to be back (in Albuquerque). We really are,” Paul said. “Because the last time we were back, we had to keep it secret, you know? We were locked inside of our rentals.”
Cranston added details about just how top secret the mission was for their filming of their parts in the show – secrets the show later decided to unveil in the spring ahead of the start of the final season.
“We were asked to keep it a secret forever,” Cranston said. “We were flown in under the darkness of night. We took this plane and they went to a certain private section of the airport there. And then we took like two steps out of the tarmac and into an SUV. They move us to an Airbnb – a duplex. He had the top floor. I had the bottom floor and we were told you can’t leave.”
They were there four days, the duo said, adding all wardrobe checks were done in the home they stayed in and they only left to show up to the site of filming and went straight back when done, even walking laps around the living room for exercise.
“It’s so funny that because this was supposed to be a big surprise, a big secret,” Paul said, as he and Cranston chuckled. “Then all of a sudden they announced that we were doing it, so why did they keep us in a prison? Seriously, they were just messing with us.”
In September 2016, coincidentally at an appearance of his own at Isotopes Park on a night the team held a “Better Call Saul” Night promotion with a jersey featuring Odenkirk’s face, as the TV attorney, on the front, Odenkirk was asked if he thought Cranston and Paul would ever make an appearance on the prequel.
“See, I think you’re going to see Jesse,” Odenkirk said, then reaching back to the character’s interactions on “Breaking Bad” for reference. “Jesse knew about Saul. He saw him on a TV commercial, but honestly, it felt like he had somewhat of an understanding of Saul. So, I think there’s a better chance we’d see Jesse.
“On the other hand, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the guys who run this show and write it, they go wherever the story want to take them, so if they decide they want to see a scene during the years or story of ‘Breaking Bad,’ I think they might do such a thing. And then we’d see Walter. I think Bryan would be game for that.”