‘Higher Name Saul’: Walt and Jesse Scene Defined by Director
After their “Higher Name Saul” cameos have been teased by the show’s co-creator Peter Gould before the start of the sixth and final season, Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have been lastly again as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman Monday night time.
The 2 Emmy winners reprised their roles for the primary time on the “Breaking Unhealthy” prequel, only a few years after they shared the display screen briefly in “El Camino: A Breaking Unhealthy Film.” After followers theorized about when Walt and Jesse would present up, they have been launched throughout a flashback to “Breaking Unhealthy” Season 2 Episode 8, an episode titled “Higher Name Saul,” which launched Bob Odenkirk’s character.
That 2009 episode of “Breaking Unhealthy” was additionally the primary time we heard the names of the characters Lalo and Ignacio, however on the time they have been simply throwaway traces from Saul and by no means addressed once more. Now, these traces have new that means, as “Higher Name Saul” has unraveled the lawyer’s messy involvement within the lives of Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) and Ignacio “Nacho” Varga (Michael Mando) all through six seasons.
Thomas Schnauz, the author and director of Monday night time’s episode, revealed to Selection that there was by no means a concrete plan for Cranston and Paul to seem in “Higher Name Saul,” however their schedules aligned throughout manufacturing for Season 6. He additionally explains why he didn’t have Jesse say “bitch,” teases a brand new persona for Saul within the last two episodes and defends why they didn’t do a lot de-aging on Walt and Jesse, who’re reprising a “Breaking Unhealthy” episode shot 13 years in the past. (Paul, now 42, jumps again into the function of latest high-schooler Jesse.)
What was it like having Cranston and Paul again in character within the RV?
It was a loopy, time-warp flashback. All people slipped again into it like we have been doing all of it alongside. Bryan and Aaron received proper again within the roles with little or no course wanted. Earlier than they received to Albuquerque, they requested for a overview of the place the characters’ heads have been on this timeframe. They went by means of a complete vary of feelings over a number of seasons, and that is very particular to Season 2. I informed them it was set on the earth of Season 2 Episode 8 between the kidnapping and their Jimmy In-‘N-Out (Jimmy Daniels) scheme.
Bryan and Aaron have been solely out there collectively at a sure time. We had this very small window, so although this was Episode 11, I needed to write it approach earlier, and we shot it whereas Vince [Gilligan] was taking pictures Episode 2. Our workforce recreated the RV set and put it on stage on airbags so it wouldn’t transfer.
Was there at all times a plan for Cranston and Paul to seem in “Higher Name Saul”?
We didn’t actually have a plan. We didn’t know for positive if we have been going to deliver again Walt and Jesse. A part of the best way of constructing ourselves really feel higher if we hadn’t executed it was telling ourselves, “Walt got here again in ‘El Camino’ with Jesse. That exists, so if we don’t get to it in ‘Higher Name Saul,’ that’s OK.” However I feel all of us desperately wished them to come back again sooner or later for some cause. We didn’t understand how or why, however lastly after we received speaking about these later episodes, we thought we must always. The parallels between what Saul Goodman was going by means of when he chased after Walter White and when Gene is chasing after these scams he’s doing in Omaha, it felt like time to flashback to these scenes and handle the Lalo query.
Had been there any conversations about de-aging them?
There’s solely a lot you are able to do earlier than it begins trying ridiculous. We don’t do a ton of de-aging on the present. There’s a little bit little bit of stuff on the fellows’ faces to take a couple of traces out right here and there, however aside from that, Aaron shouldn’t be going to appear to be an 18-year-old child or nonetheless outdated Jesse was throughout this time interval. Giancarlo [Esposito] and Jonathan [Banks], as you’re watching “Higher Name Saul” you form of neglect how they seemed again then, till you begin chopping scenes backwards and forwards and also you notice, “Jonathan, who I’d’ve imagined appears to be like very a lot the identical as he did in ‘Breaking Unhealthy,’ appears to be like very completely different within the scenes again to again.” I do kind of dread individuals chopping this scene into the world of “Breaking Unhealthy” and attempting to match the best way they appear then and now, but it surely’s not one thing you’ll be able to fear an excessive amount of about. It’s what it’s. We’re telling a narrative and you’ll roll with it otherwise you begin choosing at: “He appears to be like a lot older than he did within the authentic scene.” We determined to go for it, and I’m glad we did.
We received Jesse calling Walt a “dick” within the episode. Had been there every other basic Jesse traces you wished to incorporate?
The temptation is to get him to say “bitch.” How can we do a Jesse scene with out saying “bitch”? It simply felt like as I used to be writing the scene — it felt pressured. I used to be glad to get “dick” in there, however “bitch” felt like a bridge too far.
Francesca mentioned the DEA discovered Jesse’s automotive close to the border. Was that Todd’s El Camino or Skinny Pete’s Ford Thunderbird?
That was Skinny Pete’s automotive that Badger drove off and left for him to throw the scent off. That’s the automotive they discovered, and [the cops] assume he went to Mexico. Alaska is the place he really is.
So issues are nonetheless good for Jesse?
Issues are nonetheless good for Jesse as of the episode you’re watching.
Did you shoot any precise dialogue for the scene with Saul calling about Kim within the cellphone sales space?
Sure, there’s a scene written. What he really says, it is going to be addressed in a future episode. We’ll know some extra particulars of what’s spoken about. As a result of we had simply gotten a really lengthy cellphone name with Francesca, we determined, “Will we need to do one other cellphone name?” Then we began speaking about the way it’d be fascinating to not hear the small print of no matter information he heard about Kim and depart that for later. One thing upset him — we don’t know precisely what — however we’re going to see how he offers with that ache.
As Gene, Saul actually resembles Walter White with the mustache. How intentional was it to have him channel Walt in that approach?
We didn’t deliberately strive to attract any visible parallels between how he and Walt seemed. The Gene look was established within the teaser for Episode 1 [of “Better Call Saul”], that’s simply what it was. It’s humorous that he does give a Walt vibe with the best way he appears to be like. A few of the traces I used to be writing, they echo Walt attempting to remain in management. Two guys struggling to keep up energy after these threats — you couldn’t assist however have parallels between them.
We see so many alternative variations of Saul all through the present: Jimmy, Gene and now Victor. Will we get a brand new persona of Saul within the last episodes?
I’m hopefully not giving something away, however I really feel like we see a complete new character sooner or later. There’s a model in a future episode the place Bob walks on display screen and it appears to be like completely different than we’ve ever seen him earlier than — and it’s nice.
This interview has been edited and condensed.