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Since television first came into existence, few casts have been more impressive than that of Vince Gilligan's Breaking Bad, which made household names out of Bryan Cranston, Giancarlo Esposito and others. And while Gilligan had no intentions of ever populating the AMC drama with big-name celebrities, he can now look back and fondly contemplate how things might have gone differently. In particular, he brought up three different A-list stars that he'd have wanted to see in the world of Breaking Bad, starting with an actor who I'd welcome on any primetime series, Samuel L. Jackson.
When we were about halfway through the show, I wish I had known just how much Sam Jackson loved Breaking Bad. I find this out after it ended. When I met him, Sam Jackson said, 'I just wanted to come in and order chicken from Gus Fring! I would have done that!' I said, 'Holy shit! I wish I had known that!'
Now, this would have truly been a reality-shattering moment within Breaking Bad, which never used its actors' star power when introducing them. Even if Jackson had been wearing an eye-catching wig and big sunglasses and a costume unlike those he's used to, he probably still would have been recognized without problems. Especially once he started to talk and place his Los Pollos Hermanos order. "Yeah, give me a number one, motherfucker."
And hey, considering Better Call Saul has already introduced Gus Fring's fast food franchise, it's still feasible for Samuel L. Jackson to take a plane to Albuquerque in order to hook himself up with as much chicken as he wants. There better not be any snakes on that flight, though.
While any potential Samuel L. Jackson cameos were inspired by the actor himself, Vince Gilligan had his own ideas for two highly respectable and lauded Hollywood icons that he might have let into the Breaking Bad fray: pathos-driven comedian Robin Williams and star-turned-director Clint Eastwood. Here's how Gilligan put it to EW:
I might have made an exception for Robin Williams --- that would have been friggin' awesome. Or Clint Eastwood. I have no knowledge of whether Clint Eastwood has ever even seen Breaking Bad, but god knows I would have moved heaven and earth to put him in there. Sam Jackson and Clint Eastwood --- that would have been awesome. I love those guys.
Can anyone out there imagine a world in which Robin Williams was cast as Gus Fring -- presumably not with the full first name Gustavo -- and where Clint Eastwood was playing Mike Ehrmantraut? Jonathan Banks is obviously as fantastic as actor as the show could have landed for Mike, across both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, but there are some easy comparisons to make between his portrayal and some of Eastwood's memorable performances over the years. Hell, he could even play Mike's dad or brother or something, and it would be pure magic.
But for all that he might have wanted to get those Hollywood greats into Breaking Bad from a purely fan-based perspective, Vince Gillian is fine with not having to worry about how it would have affected the creative process. Or if it would have changed how the audience felt. (After all, would Lalo Salamanca's introduction have been as mysterious if Lalo had been played by Sam Jackson?) When asked how he would have used any of the above-mentioned actors, he said this:
I would have been happy for them to do anything at all. would have just said to them, 'What do you guys want to do?,' and we would have figured it out from there. But you know what? It's good you don't get all of your wishes fulfilled, it really is. Because I would have done something like that, and it would have changed the reality of the show. So it's actually better the way it worked out.
There are only two more episodes left of Better Call Saul, which is getting all the more close to the Breaking Bad timeline. Be sure to watch Monday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET. And hit up our fall TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way soon.