AT LACMA Wed 7.24.2013

Backstage Video from the Live Read! Elvis Mitchell and Jason Reitman Talk Breaking Bad

“Thank you for the fly, the pool, the plane, the train, the flower, the bacon, the bell. Thank you.” Director Jason Reitman declared his gratitude to Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan at last night’s Live Read for making a show that obsessed fans and fawning critics will argue is the best in the history of television. As Reitman put it, “it makes our days better, gives us something to look forward to and leaves us wanting more.”

Elvis Mitchell and Jason Reitman talk Breaking Bad

The Live Read of the pilot script was the first-ever summer edition of the Film Independent at LACMA series, curated by Elvis Mitchell, and it was an especially cool way to celebrate the countdown to the final season (sniff), which premieres August 11. But what really made the night special was a surprise appearance by original Breaking Bad cast members Aaron Paul, Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt and RJ Mitte, who, along with series creator Gilligan, showed up and whooped it up with the crowd.

It was a rare treat as the scripts typically chosen for Live Reads are classics from decades past, so the actors who originated the roles, as Jason quipped “are usually dead by now.” At the end of the performance, all five original cast members leapt to their feet to give a standing O to the Live Read cast: Rainn Wilson (Walter), Mae Whitman (Jesse), Paul Rust (Walt Jr.), Annie Mumolo (Skyler), Ellie Kemper (Marie) and Chi McBride (Hank).

The original cast of Breaking Bad with the Live Read cast

The show is so known for its darkness and relentless intensity, the Live Read was a great reminder of how funny it can be. Even the narration, which you’d never know unless you read the script, is filled with humor. Reitman, who always delivers the Live Read narration, cracked up several times over lines like “Apparently there’s no mighty oak springs from whence the acorn lies.” — a reference to Walt’s inability to get aroused by his wife’s sexual advances; “For those of us who grew up watching The A-Team, this is that scene they’d always do where the A-Team builds a tank or a jet plane out of spare parts. Same feeling, same energy except here, our guys are making highly illegal drugs.” and a reference to Walt’s “shit-ball Aztek.” But perhaps the biggest laugh of all came when the ratty Winnebago made its maiden voyage to the desert to cook.

Mae Whitman & Aaron Paul

Nothing but cows. Got some big cow-house way over that way, like two miles. But I don’t see nobody.


JESSE (shrug)
Where they live. The cows. Whatever, man. Shit yeah, let’s cook here.

Mae was fantastic as a female Jesse. With the hood up on her hoodie and arms crossed in defiance, she nailed those signature “Yo’s” and proved to be a hilarious foil to Rainn’s deadpan Walter. Mae later tweeted: “Best night of my life with my heroes BITCH”.

By Pamela Miller / Grants & Website Manager