Breaking Bad makes Smithsonian donation, including Heisenberg hat, gas masks …

12 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Breaking Bad cast visits Smithsonian museum as show’s props join collection.

Good news for Breaking Bad fans: Costumes and other artifacts from the series were added to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on Tuesday.Its collection includes George Washington’s trunk, the top hat worn by Abraham Lincoln on the night of his assassination, and the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner.

‘Breaking Bad’ creator’ VInce Gilligan and stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul share tell us which of the show’s crazy murder weapons deserve their own museum exhibit. So you’d think Cranston would send shivers through the audience when he donned the “Heisenberg” Monday during a ceremony in honor of Sony’s gift. He and the cast of the Emmy-winning AMC drama reunited there Tuesday to donate props to the Smithsonian. “I’m sorry to say it, Air and Space Museum, but another has taken your place in my heart,” laughs the show’s mastermind, a Richmond, Va., native who grew up making regular visits to exhibits in the capital. But don’t book your flight to Washington, D.C., just yet – the Smithsonian says “there are no immediate plans to display the objects.” However, there’s a chance they will be featured in an exhibit on American culture that’s slated to open in 2018. The series made a low-key start in 2008 but came to join the likes of The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men and House of Cards in the binge-viewing, box set pantheon, scooping numerous awards over five seasons.

He was joined by numerous members of the cast, “Breaking Bad” creator and executive producer Vince Gilligan, Sony Pictures Television Chairman Steve Mosko and other Sony executives for the occasion. It followed the moral descent of White, played by Bryan Cranston, a chemistry teacher who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, makes and deals in crystal methamphetamine to support his family. “Artifacts” donated to the museum include two yellow Tyvek suits and gas masks used by White and his former-student-turned-business partner Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) while cooking in their lab, and a small plastic bag of the “Blue Sky” meth they manufactured.

There is also an ID card belonging to White’s brother-in-law Hank Schrader, a drugs law enforcement agent, and a paper cup from Los Pollos Hermanos, a fast food restaurant and front for money laundering in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the tale is set. At Tuesday’s informal and jocular handover ceremony, Cranston walked over to a table displaying the props and put on the black “Heisenberg hat” – an alias borrowed from Werner Heisenberg, the scientist who formulated the uncertainty principle – he wore for much of the series. Cranston, cornered after the event, said he is thrilled with his new project for Amazon, “Sneaky Pete,” which goes into production in February and air in August or September. And then there’s the pièce de résistance: the black hat that transformed Walter White from from a meek, cancer-stricken chemistry teacher to Heisenberg the fearsome drug lord — or as he famously put it, “the one who knocks.” When Cranston was introduced to the crowd at the ceremony, he went straight for that hat and tried it on, explaining, “I wanted to see if it still fits.” He and Gilligan each kept one after Breaking Bad wrapped in 2013 after five seasons.

I’m asked often, do you miss playing this character, and the truth is, after really some reflection, that I don’t because Vince [Gilligan, series creator] and the writers created and crafted such a perfectly designed beginning, middle and end to this journey. Paul’s most prized possession is the one-eyed, burned pink teddy bear that landed in Walt’s pool as the result of a plane crash in Season 2. “They made four, and Vince gave me the one they actually used in that scene,” he explains, adding that it now resides in his living room. We had an aperitif, a nice salad, a beautiful entree, a vegetable side, we had a great dessert and we had a coffee with it and you’re just satiated, and then someone says here’s more dessert. Paul voted for the box cutter Gus used to murder one of his own henchman and the axe, the weapon of choice for the silent assassins known as the cousins.

And which weapon would Cranston put in such an exhibit? “The barrel of hydrofluoric acid that we used to melt people.” He can even picture the tourists saying, “Come on kids, jump in the barrel!” I don’t know if my personage could take another dessert after the sweet ride that Breaking Bad was.” Later Cranston, who last year won a Tony award for his Broadway debut playing president Lyndon B Johnson, toured a gallery devoted to American presidents and first ladies and was informed that Johnson used to drop in at the museum from the White House. A man lost and depressed – it’s a very relatable thing – and how he makes a decision that turns out to be the worst in his life. “But if you asked Walter White if you regret making those decisions, I think he would be hard pressed to change his mind after two years of an exciting life or maybe three years of withering away and shrinking as a person.

I think Breaking Bad showed the world that storytelling can be small or large, you can slow the pace down, people won’t just click off as the prevailing thought was. ‘If you’re not fast paced, they’re going to leave you,’ and they didn’t leave you. I don’t think there’s any more story to tell about Walter White necessarily, but maybe, who knows, some other characters who survive the series may have further that we might decide later that we wish to tell. But right now I really do feel like Brian, I feel like I’m satiated and it was time to push back from the dinner table, as it were.” The loss of both Breaking Bad and Mad Men left some viewers bereft.

But Gilligan rejected the notion that the golden age of US television drama has passed. “I think there are many more great shows to come and I will be very jealous when even more great ones come along and surpass ours but I think it’s all to the good,” he said. “I grew up watching three or four channels and now we live in a world of hundreds of channels and there needs to be content for all those channels.

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