ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — How many Emmy Awards can you fit on a Vespa scooter? Bryan Cranston, a lifelong motorcycle rider, is leaving his Harley-Davidson in L.A. and bringing a new Vespa scooter when he returns to Albuquerque in August to shoot the coming season of “Breaking Bad” at Albuquerque Studios.
But if everything goes right Sept. 20, he may have to rig up a new basket to carry home a second Emmy Award.
Cranston and co-star Aaron Paul found out Thursday morning that both were nominated for Emmys. After taking home several awards last year, the TV series filmed in Albuquerque has again been nominated for five Emmys this year. The series, which airs Sunday nights on AMC, was nominated by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for one of the premier awards, Outstanding Drama Series, as well as Outstanding Cinematography for a One-Hour Series and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series
Last year, Cranston won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, and this year he’s nominated again. He may be joined, however, on stage by Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse Pinkman and was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series.
“Breaking Bad” is set in Albuquerque and follows Walter White (Cranston), a high school teacher turned drug kingpin and meth dealer who runs a drug ring with Pinkman (Paul).
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Paul said from Cranston’s L.A. home, three hours after learning of his nomination. “I’m so unbelievably honored to even be talked about. I’m losing my mind.”
Paul, though, said he’s been lucky since he first found “Breaking Bad,” even if the premise seemed so far out that he didn’t think AMC was serious when he auditioned. “When I walked in the room, I was a huge fan of the script,” Paul said. “And I was like, wow, will AMC really do a show like this? I was so impressed.”
But his nerves calmed when he started talking with series producer Vince Gilligan, who was behind “The X-Files.” Gilligan remembered him from a guest role on the “X-Files.”
” ‘Oh, my God,’ he said, ‘You played Commander Winkey.’ That was my nickname in college,’ ” Paul said. “That broke the ice.”
At the time, AMC hadn’t started making its own shows, and Paul wasn’t sure whether the show was going to be picked up.
“I thought it was so different and off the wall,” he said “At first, I was like, I wish I was in L.A.; it makes things easier.”
But, he said, he’s grown to love Albuquerque and said that he can’t imagine “Breaking Bad” anywhere else.
“It’s a huge part of the show,” he said.
If he wins, it would make “Breaking Bad” one of the few shows on the air with two Emmy winners.
Cranston has been nominated a few times, the first time for playing the dad on “Malcolm In The Middle” and won his first Emmy last year for “Breaking Bad.”
“That first time you get nominated, you’re thinking, ‘You’re kidding!’ ” Cranston said. “It’s one of those surreal moments. You don’t know how it feels until it happens.”
“What’s tough is getting one the first time,” he said. “After that, you’re on their radar.”
Cranston said he’s thrilled to be nominated again, but that the biggest deal is the Outstanding Drama nod.
“Individually, it’s great,” he said. “But what is really important is that we have a chance now to tell our story for four, five, six years. It will make people aware.”
“Breaking Bad” will return to Albuquerque Studios during the first week of August to begin shooting its third season.
The next season will kick off with a Cranston-directed episode, which he said won’t leave too much time for riding that Vespa.
“I’m going to be knee-deep in work,” he said. “I do know that (“Breaking Bad”) has reached a pinnacle where my wife knows I’ve been lying. About what? I don’t know. My brother-in-law, the DEA agent, is getting close. Legally, I’m feeling the pinch.”