What happened to Jesse Pinkman?
This question lingered in our minds for several agonizing years. There were plenty of fan theories, but the truth was percolating inside Vince Gilligan's mind. And it finally debuted, as a movie, on Netflix, this year. El Camino contained all the answers the audience had been waiting for, but it seemed as if it appeared out of nowhere. Only a few months after we heard it had shot, we got a trailer and the movie.
The set was rife with secrecy, and there were so many cameos and callbacks it's hard to believe things didn't leak. Now, Netflix has decided to give us a behind the scenes look at how this movie came together. Check out this behind the scenes exclusive from Netflix, and let's talk after the jump!
*SPOILERS FOR BREAKING BAD AND EL CAMINO TO FOLLOW*
How do you keep a Breaking Bad movie secret?
Well, Aaron Paul was flown to and from the set in disguises, the crew operated under a different title, and Vince Gilligan provided only one copy of the script. The physical copy of the script was kept under lock and key. Vince had cast members drive to him to read it, all the way up to the shooting date.
The script was masterful. It contained scenes with lots of our old friends and new enemies that even opened the world of the show. Scenes with Jane helped complete a timeline a decade old, and scenes with Skinny Pete maintained and completed the friendship arc between Pete and Jesse.
The scope and beauty of this movie also registered at a different level than an hour of television. This was truly a story only about Jesse. His survival and desire for freedom were at the forefront of the narrative. With everything going so well, it's hard to believe Vince Gilligan ever worried about making such a project. But he knew that that nagging feeling, that nagging drive, had to be satiated.
So how do you make El Camino?
Vince Gilligan knew the secret was to keep it all in the family.
The same crew that worked on Breaking Bad was now working on Better Call Saul. They were between seasons and available, so they were hired to shoot this movie.
A 46-day schedule was assembled. The more room in this feature schedule, as opposed to their usual TV schedule, allowed them to open up from their already masterful TV cinematography to something even more cinematic. They used drones, built massive sets, and strived to make the film feel like a western. Right down to the gun standoffs.
It seems like the biggest challenge of El Camino was recreating the things lost when Breaking Bad wrapped.
Many of the locations were gone and sets destroyed. So the production revisited old footage from the series to help recreate sets and costumes, at times remaking clothing by hand.
They also had to make a lot of wigs. Jesse's hair changed so many times throughout the course of the show, so they needed a wig for every look -- and then they had to shave his head to shoot out those scenes as well. Luckily, they still had some of the giant metal containers from the series' meth lab in storage, so they could rebuild that set. And funnily enough, one of the metal containers had Walter White's bloody handprint on it.
They were going to wipe it off, but Vince Gilligan didn't have the heart to do it. So that Easter Egg is inside the movie.
But Jesse wasn't the only character who needed his life rebuilt...
Don't forget about Todd
Jesse Plemons's Todd is a baddie who has haunted our dreams for years. His lackadaisical way of merciless killing was disturbing on multiple levels. So what do you think his apartment was like?
Well, it did have a body in it. And a ton of snow globes! The snow globes were made by hand, and all featured a scene with some twisted scenario inside it. Vince Gilligan inspected and approved all of them, even though only a few were on camera. (One of which called back to his crush on Stevia's number one fan, Lydia!)
We also heard the yacht rock Todd liked to listen to, which gave him an even creepier vibe. To nail the destruction of Todd's apartment when Jesse looks for the money, they actually built a scale model of the place. The model was built on a sound stage and designed to fit within the full-frame of the camera they used to film the movie.
The camera was hung forty-five feet over the set, so you got a direct line of sight down into the place. The shot was decidedly special and truly steeped us in Todd's absurd world. Plus, the tarantula was nasty.
El Camino was a special movie that took an incredible amount of talented people to pull it off. Perhaps the most telling thing about the behind the scenes featurette is that Gilligan treats all of them with respect, honesty, and love.
The true lesson here is to conduct yourself well, tell a story with true emotions, and the audience will find you. After all, it was a Breaking Bad movie, not a Vince Gilligan movie.