Eerie … A scene from the finale of Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Cranston as Walter White.Breaking Bad crew and cast, including Bryan Cranston (centre left) next to Aaron Paul (in yellow), at the Hollywood Cemetery. Photo: Michael Idato
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It seems fitting that the final episode of the dark series Breaking Bad would be screened in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Cemetery; a magnificent, sprawling gothic necropolis whose tombstones record the who’s who (or used to be) of Tinseltown’s A-list.
The show’s creator, producer/writer Vince Gilligan, and its cast, including Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, gathered on a stage surrounded by diehard fans, friends and the gods and ghosts of Hollywood.
“You have changed history,” Aaron Paul said to the show’s producer Vince Gilligan. “You have changed television. I cannot begin to thank you for giving me a career.”
Paul described his co-star Bryan Cranston as his mentor. “Without him I would not be the actor I am today,” Paul said.
Cranston paid tribute to the show’s crew.
“We were together for 13 or 14 hours a day,” he said. “These are our family members. The crew are the unheralded heroes of our show.”
The gothic backdrop, and those luminous ghosts whose star is diminished but never extinguished, set the stage for what may go down in history as the biggest TV finale since the end of M*A*S*H. On more than 25 hectares of landscaped memorial park are the remains of Cecil B. DeMille, Peter Finch, Fay Wray and Rudolph Valentino. Even Terry, the cairn terrier who played Toto in the Wizard of Oz, is buried here.
The special event was organised by one of the show’s stars, Aaron Paul, with the proceeds going to his wife Lauren Parsekian’s anti-bullying non-profit organisation, The Kind Campaign.
Last episode ever of Breaking Bad. It would not be possible without all of you. Thank you all for the amazing ride. Love you Vince!!!!— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) September 30, 2013
“@Provennoble100: @betsy_brandt The End Of An Era. :'(”. So true. XO— Betsy Brandt (@betsy_brandt) September 30, 2013
As the sun set on the Hollywood hills behind the cemetery, the total funds raiused had reached US$1.8 million.
When tickets for the event went on sale on September 4 they sold out within minutes. The guests were not the first to see the episode – that honour went to fans on the US east coast, which is three hours ahead – but they did get to see it with the cast and crew.
The final episode, 75 minutes long with commercials, was preceded by a special screening of the pilot episode. After the screening, members of the cast and crew answered questions from guest host, American talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
Gilligan revealed the producers considered a range of ways to finish the series.
“Our six writers considered just about every possible outcome with this thing. This was the one that felt right,” he said.
Cranston said the cemetery screening was the first time many of the cast and crew had seen the final episode.
“I saw it in a very unfortunate situation, [when] we did the DVD commentary and I was watching and going silent,” Cranston said. “It was a strange way to see it for the first time.”
The event was organised so Gilligan and the cast could take their final bow for a television series which, despite a modest kick off in 2008, had become one of the most critically-acclaimed TV dramas of all time.
Well, this is it. The last episode ever of Breaking Bad. Thank you for sharing this ride with me. Without you we never would have lasted.— Bryan Cranston (@BryanCranston) September 29, 2013
Let’s do this bitch!!! Get ready everyone for some madness.— Aaron Paul (@aaronpaul_8) September 29, 2013
In the short space of five years it has become the benchmark by which other dramas are now measured.
Among the VIP guests at the cemetery screening were actor Ewan McGregor, Netflix boss Ted Sarandos, porn icon Ron Jeremy, and music legend Marilyn Manson.
Vince Gilligan. Creator of Breaking Bad. Thank you. You’ve changed my life http://t.co/pahkIBlMPp— dean norris (@deanjnorris) September 29, 2013
Breaking Bad party in NYC! Me, Michael Slovis, Andy Vogeli, and the rest of the family. #mariegaritaspic.twitter苏州美甲美睫培训/lWvbo1Wytu— Betsy Brandt (@betsy_brandt) September 30, 2013
Michael Idato is reporting from the Hollywood Cemetery in LA.
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