‘Better Call Saul’ Writer-EP Thomas Schnauz Breaks Down the Momentous “Breaking Bad” Episode

A portion of the hour was secretly shot months before the remainder of the show, according to the scribe.

Thomas “Tom” Schnauz has written more episodes in the Breaking Bad universe than anybody else (apart from Better Call Saul co-creator Peter Gould), and his run on the show comes to a stunning finale with Monday night’s episode, “Breaking Bad,” which is properly named.

The future creator of Breaking Bad and co-creator of Better Call Saul, Vince Gilligan, and Schnauz first met while attending NYU’s film school. They later collaborated on The X-Files and its own spinoff, The Lone Gunmen. Gilligan was inspired to create Breaking Bad by Schnauz’s quip about a mobile meth lab during a mid-2000s phone call. Schnauz later joined the show in season three. His first draught was for the Michelle MacLaren-directed episode “One Minute,” which included Hank’s gunfight with the Salamanca cousins (Daniel and Luis Moncada) and was a critically acclaimed barn-burner that elevated Breaking Bad to a whole new level. Then, in Breaking Bad season 5A, Schnauz created a sensation with his debut film as a filmmaker, “Say My Name,” which bid Mike Ehrmantraut farewell (Jonathan Banks).

The enviable task of reuniting Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) through Better Call Saul’s “Breaking Bad” fell to Schnauz after twelve years and twenty scripts, but due to scheduling, he was forced to write and film their scene inside the fabled RV six or seven months before the rest of the episode’s filming.

We only had a very little timeframe, so I had to compose the scenario well in advance of the “Breaking Bad” 611 script’s real timeline. Additionally, we shot it in April 2021, concurrently with Vince Gilligan’s [season six] episode 2 filming. We finished the sequence in a day and a half when Vince took a break from his schedule, according to Schnauz, speaking to The Hollywood Reporter.

Schnauz also discusses Gene Takavic’s (Bob Odenkirk) troubling actions after his contact with Francesca (Tina Parker) and his subsequent call to what he thinks is Kim Wexler’s (Rhea Seehorn) current workplace in a recent spoiler conversation with THR.

Before the episode began production in earnest, a portion of the return to the Breaking Bad episode “Better Call Saul” was shot inside the Better Call Saul episode “Breaking Bad.” Were the schedules of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul really demanding?

The timetables were exceedingly intricate. They both have demanding acting schedules and had to deal with facial hair difficulties. For whatever he was about to shoot, Aaron needed to have a beard or something. Due to the limited time available, I had to create the sequence much earlier than the original [611] script. Additionally, we shot it in April 2021, concurrently with Vince Gilligan’s [season six] episode 2 filming. So Vince took a vacation from his schedule, and in a day and a half we finished the scene.

Did it feel like old times?

It was indeed nostalgic. We immediately entered it again. Boy, we’re back in the world of Breaking Bad, was all I could think. They were prepared and willing, too. It was purely enjoyable.

Other interim times that you have in mind for Walt and Jesse’s return?

Yes, we discussed every possible option before deciding on this since it seemed like the best way to deal with Lalo. This appeared to be an excellent opportunity to fill in the details surrounding Saul Goodman’s abduction. What do you tell your captors if this occurs? What is the strange, awkward dialogue that follows the kidnapping and the ride back to his workplace where he can get his car? In order to make our lives easier, we debated if it was all happening on the way back, but in the end we agreed that we were not in a moving car. Saul saw what was happening in detail and realised how absurd it was that he was being held captive inside a moving meth lab as soon as they got back into the RV. This simply seemed to be the sweet spot, so to speak. When Walt initially encounters Saul in his office, we already discussed how this is one of the most obvious locations to insert itself. It seemed like something we would want to do because Walt was pretending to be Brandon Mayhew’s (Matt Jones) uncle. However, we discussed a variety of entry points, and the RV felt like the best option.

I’ve always held the opinion that there are many fates worse than death, and it just so happens that Kim (Rhea Seehorn) is now a resident of Florida.

Was her survival something you had in mind for a long, despite the fact that I’m delighted you bucked the prequel myth that characters not seen on Breaking Bad must perish? [The writer’s note: Kim and Francesca’s unheard phone call also points to survival.]

We don’t hear the phone call, but I don’t want to give anything away. As a result, we are unsure of Gene’s instructions. It’s a very distressing thing. He is quite furious about it. Therefore, I think we should wait to find out exactly what happened on that phone call; the specifics will be revealed in a later episode.

As soon as Jimmy finds a solution for Jeff (Pat Healy), he finds out via Francesca that all of his financial assets have been taken. Is that the reason he’s behaving like he needs money so badly even though he’s been able to maintain Gene Takavic’s standard of living just fine?

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