‘Breaking Bad’ lead actor Bryan Cranston said he was humbled, thrilled and slightly embarrassed to have statues of his character Walter White and supporting actor Jesse Pinkman of Aaron Paul unveiled at inside the Albuquerque Convention Center last week.
The actors were clearly impressed with the detailed work. Superfans warmly welcomed these favorite adopted sons, despite their fictional characters being meth makers and dealers.
The show gets close to real New Mexico’s struggles with drug addiction, crime, poverty and unemployment. Too close for Republican State Rep. Rod Montoya of Farmington, who said the statues get the wrong kind of attention. “I’m glad New Mexico got the deal, but really?” Montoya said. “We are literally going to glorify the meth makers? »
Montoya went on this one. The statues are not tributes to meth manufacturers. The statues honor the residents of Albuquerque. They represent mutual benefit – the success of the show and the wide reach of its impact.
Yes, statue gifts are a little weird. But the statutes were well received as New Mexicans lay claim to this spectacle. And New Mexico became its own gritty, beautiful, and complicated character in “Breaking Bad.” The bright and vivid cultures and colors of the state were shared around the world.
“Breaking Bad” follows White, a high school chemistry teacher who learns he has cancer. White teams up with Pinkman, a former student, to manufacture crystal meth to provide a nest egg for White’s family. The cinematography is shrewd, the writing masterful in the development of the characters, especially the protagonist White. Viewers are conditioned to sympathize with him throughout the story arc that causes White to become irredeemable. White is like a sun with all other characters affected by its light and shadows. Families are falling apart.
Nothing to glorify in this cautionary tale about the consequences of choices and the dark lines of right and wrong. White and Pinkman have deeply conflicting feelings for each other as business partners, friends, and foes. The characters are tragic characters.
Although the show is fictional, “the jobs are real every day,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.
On Twitter, Keller wrote, “The positive impact the cast and crew of ‘Breaking Bad’ have had on our economy and our film industry cannot be understated. The franchise has grossed over $385 million in economic impact, helped elevate local businesses, and employed over 200 locals per episode.
I can’t argue with that. Casting and production calls energized the town. Almost everyone in Albuquerque knew someone who had participated in “Breaking Bad”.
“Breaking Bad” was originally slated to shoot in California, but New Mexico’s film production rebate of between 25% and 35% for in-state spending sealed the deal. For the fiscal year ending in June, these expenditures peaked at $855 million. Colorado offers 20%.
Much of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” was filmed in New Mexico. BJ Novak of “The Office” fame has filmed a lot of “Revenge” in New Mexico. It’s not all of Texas there.
“Breaking Bad” is absurd and darkly funny, and the locals were in on it. For example, “Breaking Bad” donuts at a bakery were topped with sugar resembling the show’s fictional blue meth as a tribute to the end of the series. Everyone has their own taste and sense of humor. Albuquerque loved “Breaking Bad”. “Breaking Bad” loved it right away.
Now streaming on Netflix, the show aired on AMC from January 2008 to September 2013, with five seasons and 62 episodes.
Series creator Vince Gilligan commissioned the statues from sculptor Trevor Grove and, along with Sony Pictures, donated the artwork as a thank you for the town’s hospitality. And the people of Albuquerque couldn’t be happier.