When introducing AMC’s "Breaking Bad" cast and creator Vince Gilligan at the Television Critics Association Press Tour this year, AMC pres Charlie Collier called it a “bittersweet occasion.” He thanked Gilligan specifically for his “remarkable vision and immaculate execution.” The motivation for bringing the cast to TCA stems from the critics themselves, Collier said, who were the first to champion both Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
 
Asked whether Gilligan had a clear vision early on regarding lead character Walter White’s conclusion he replied, “I can’t remember exactly what my original intention was.” The idea was to take Mr. Chips and “turn him into Scarface,” he said. “But that leaves a lot of wiggle room.” Bryan Cranston joked that “everyone will be satisfied with the ending, where we hug it out.” On a serious note, Cranston said he embraced the opportunity to play up Walt’s profession as a teacher. “The overwhelming impact of apathy that’s facing [teachers] every day has to chip away at that passion,” he said. And at 50 years of age, the character was “beaten down a little bit…That’s where it started for me. His emotions were calloused over by depression.” So when it erupted, he wasn’t prepared for that emotion.
 
While all the actors brought depth and personality to their roles, Dean Norris, who plays Hank on the show, was exceptional in that regard. “I hate to admit it, he was a bit of a mechanical construct in the first episode,” said Gilligan. But just knowing Norris “enriched my ability to write him,” he said. Bryan Cranston told critics that he prefers not to know too much about the script ahead of time. “It wouldn’t help me to know,” he said. In fact, just a week before they shot the final episode, he and co-star Aaron Paul read the script together—an event which was filmed in an upcoming documentary about the history of making the series. There will be “a lot of footage from the early days,” Gilligan informed critics.
 
On whether there will be a Saul Goodman spinoff, Gilligan remarked (speaking for himself rather than a particular company), “It is my fervent wish that there will be [one],” but “it’s for powers bigger than me to figure out if can come to fruition." Bob Odenkirk, the actor who plays Saul, would be all in. “I’d do it in a second,” he said. “If Vince wrote it, it’s going to be awesome.” But ultimately “the spinoff for me is having been on this show,” he said. The experience thus far is “all I would ever need.” On creating the ending, Gilligan said, “I was really nervous about coming to the end of this thing for a year straight.” But he’s proud of how it turned out. “I think most folks are going to dig the ending… you be the judge.”
 
In other AMC news, the net greenlit 2 new scripted series, “Halt and Catch fire” and “Turn,” the first time in network history that 2 series have been greenlit concurrently. Both will air in 2014.

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