“Homeland” has won the award for Best Drama Series two years in a row, while Claire Danes and Damian Lewis won for best actress and best actor. It’s a pretty incredible show, even with the elevated craziness of Season 2. And while I don’t think it’s quite as good as “Breaking Bad” it’s hard to argue with these choices.
Actor Steven Bauer is the sort of down-to-earth guy who’s willing to come right out and tell an interviewer that, overall, his career in Hollywood has been “kind of… a little iffy,” so it really does the heart good to see him currently experiencing a bit of an upswing in his success. If you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad” – and, really, why wouldn’t you be? – then you saw him make the first of his two appearances on the show this season, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect: between those episodes lies the Blu-ray release of “Scarface,” where Bauer ably held his own against Al Pacino with his performance as Tony Montana’s brother from another mother, Manny Ribero. Although we only had a short time to talk, Bullz-Eye still managed to get Bauer’s recollections of working on both of these projects.
Check out a sample of our chat with him below and then head over to Bullz-Eye for the full interview.
Bullz-Eye: With “Scarface,” my understanding is that it was a combination of your very authentic Cuban background and your audition that helped you get the part. How did you prepare for the audition?
Steven Bauer: Wow, it was… I’ll tell you what: it was pretty daunting at the time. What I did was… y’know, I read the script, I knew the script and I understood it, knowing that I had very little in common with this character of Manny. Fortunately, I’d met guys like that, so I had something to draw upon. Because I’m the antithesis of Manny. Well, I was then. I probably became more and more like Manny as I got older. (Laughs) But at 24 years old, I was more like Justin Bieber than Manny Ribera! But I had seen those guys, y’know, growing up in Miami. I’d seen guys who were that way, and that’s really what I drew upon. Also, it was the sensibilities of the Cuban who has lost his homeland and is really sort of adrift in the world and looking for any harbor. Landing in the United States is the opportunity to do anything you want to do and be anything you want to be.
BE: Talking about your inherent Cuban-ness, did it ever give you pause at all that so many non-Cuban actors were selected to play Cubans in the film?
SB: Not at all. Will, honestly, it was an amazing coming together of actors, and I for one… well, first of all, who am I to judge? (Laughs) But secondly, there was no room for judgment, because the actors that they chose, beginning with Bob Loggia as Frank Lopez. He did his own work, he did his own research, and he came up with a totally original Cuban character that… I recognized him immediately. He’s that guy who laughs at his own jokes. He’s a big blowhard, y’know? It was a fantastic character that he created. And then Murray Abraham created that weasel of a man, Omar. And the other guys who weren’t Cuban, the guy who played the Bolivian – God rest his soul, Paul Shenar, who passed away years ago – he was fantastic. And he had no knowledge of any Bolivian. But he did tremendous research. And when you look at the whole canvas of the actors that were chosen, they’re all stars. They’re all beautiful, amazing artists. Michelle Pfeiffer, in her second film role ever, she created this beautiful, beautiful character, this haunted girl who’s just completely lost and attached to this power, to this man, and then attaches himself to the other man as soon as he gets the power. And again, the actors who were playing Cubans, they were all… the ones who were playing the important roles in the film, they all did amazing, amazing work. I always, always defend it.
The best show on television returns tomorrow night at 10 PM on AMC. If you’re a fan of the show, enjoy the video above and all the links in this post as you get ready for the start of season 4. If you haven’t been watching, well you’re missing out. You can start watching tomorrow night, but you’re better of setting your DVR to record the first season, and getting your hands on the first three seasons.
The Breaking Bad Fan Hub on Bullz-Eye.com is a good place to start for fans of the show. The fan site is loaded with cast interviews, along with reviews of previous seasons and a link to the Breaking Bad Blog. Will Harris also posted a preview of Season 4.
Is “Breaking Bad” the best show ever on cable TV? Grantland’s Chuck Klosterman thinks so, arguing that it beats out other greats like “The Wire,” “The Sopranos” and “Mad Men.” It’s hard to argue with his top four, though his column gets a little too deep into criticspeak for my taste. I’ll probably stick with “The Wire” as the best show ever on cable, but “Breaking Bad” is catching up with each season.
Time calls it the best drama on television.
Breaking Bad is the kind of TV show that gets described as cinematic, and that’s true in the literal sense: it looks like a movie. The astonishing landscape of New Mexico gives the show a western-film starkness and scale. “When you’re here,” says cinematographer Michael Slovis, “you can’t help but be affected by the size of the sky.” The sets are painstakingly built, especially the superlab: a temple of gleaming metal tanks, painted infernal red, that production designer Mark Freeborn built with the aid of a Drug Enforcement Administration consultant. The lab, Cranston says, is a metaphor for Walt’s compartmentalized worldview: “It’s clean. It’s isolated. He doesn’t like being reminded that he’s part of a messy, bloody business.”
Last year in Time, James Poniewozik offered a nice recap of the last episode and the relationship between Walt and Jesse. Newsweek also gets in on the discussion with some great quotes from Bryan Cranston.
It’s been a long, cold wait for Walter White to start making meth again…so long, in fact, that the actor who plays him – Bryan Cranston, of course – has missed the window of eligibility for this year’s Emmy Awards…but on Sunday night at 10 PM EST, “Breaking Bad” will finally return to AMC.
Season Four of the acclaimed series arrives just on the heels of the network having received countless complaints from irate viewers who felt cheated when “The Killing” didn’t resolve the mystery of who killed Rosie Larsen, but if you’re one of those folks, fear not: while the answer to the question “is Gale dead?” isn’t definitely answered at the precise instant the season premiere begins (although you would be forgiven for thinking that it has been), you’ll have clarification of Gale’s state of existence mere moments after the opening credits conclude.
Mind you, despite all of the discussion about whether or not Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) successfully shot and killed Gale Boetticher (David Costabile) at the end of Season Three, series creator Vince Gilligan has said outright that “it’s not actually meant to be ambiguous. It’s meant to be, ‘Oh my God, Jesse shot poor Gale.” Not that he couldn’t have changed his mind in the interim between seasons, of course, but given Gilligan’s steadfast vision for the series over the course of 33 episodes, there’s little reason to think that he has.
Okay, so everyone remembers that Gale probably got shot by Jesse, since that was the last moment of the Season Three finale, but do you remember where everyone else was at the end of the season? Let’s play a little bit of catch-up, just in case.
When we last left Walt, he (probably) was on the verge of being shot and killed by Mike (Jonathan Banks), as order by fried-chicken impresario / meth kingpin Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), but the stay of execution was temporarily rescinded upon the realization that Jesse might well be in the process of murdering the only other person capable of maintaining the manufacturing of the meth. (Did I ever mention how much I love alliteration?) Victor (Jeremiah Bitsui), another one of Gus’s main men, makes a mad dash toward Gale’s apartment, but as it stands right now, we don’t officially know whether or not he made it in time…except, y’know, we probably do know, which is to say that he almost certainly didn’t.
But I digress.
Elsewhere, Walt’s wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), now knows of her husband’s goings-on (even if she isn’t nearly as much in the know as she thinks she is) and is trying to incorporate her own business acumen into the operation. Utterly in the dark, however, is their teenage son, Walt, Jr. (R.J. Mitte), who spent much of Season Three trying to figure out just what the hell was up with his parents. And can you blame him? After all, he watched his mom kick his father out of the house, demand a divorce, and even call the cops in order to have him arrested, only to see her backpedal. You’d be confused, too.
You’ve also got Skyler’s sister, Marie (Betsy Brandt), whose DEA-agent husband, Hank (Dean Norris), was left a paraplegic after an attack by two very violent gentlemen on a quest to avenge their cousin. When last we saw Hank and Marie, she had just successfully managed to make his groundhog see its shadow…by which, of course, I mean that she gave him a hand job and made his penis stand at attention. Sure, it seems like an easy enough trick, but it was the first time he’d managed it since incurring his injuries, and the fact that Marie made it happen meant that he had to make good on his promise that he’d leave the hospital, head home, and begin further physical therapy. Once Hank’s back on his feet, it’s only a matter of time before he’s also back on the trail of the mysterious blue meth and the man responsible for manufacturing it.
Obviously, we know where Jesse was when we last left him, but prior to that, he’d had a hell of third season. He started off in rehab, and once he got out, he initially managed to stay clean while still continuing to make meth, but after spending a little too long lingering on his conviction that he had become “the bad guy,” he soon began to backslide. In addition to his chemical dependency, Jesse also had his fair share of emotional turmoil, dealing with the death of his girlfriend, Jane (Krysten Ritter) by seeking solace in Andrea, a girl from his drug counseling sessions, only to learn that her 11-year-old brother had been responsible for the murder of his friend and fellow dealer, Combo. Dude can’t catch a break.
The relationship between Walt and Jesse hit some serious highs and lows during the course of the third season, but by the end of the next-to-last episode, it became clear that the two of them have a bond which cannot be broken. What remains to be seen, however, is how Gus is going to handle their continued partnership, not simply because of his lack of respect for Jesse, but also because of the way Walt has transitioned from being a mere manufacturer into someone who clearly has an interest in working his way up the corporate ladder, as it were.
So that’s where we stand with “Breaking Bad” as we enter into the show’s fourth season. Tensions were sky high when we last left the series, and I can assure you that by the time the credits roll on the season premiere, you will feel the same way Giancarlo Esposito felt after he read the script for the episode: a little bit stunned and a little bit shaken.
True, that’s generally how most viewers feel at the end of every episode of “Breaking Bad,” but having already seen this one, I’m going to lay it on the line: the show delivers the “holy shit” moment to end all “holy shit” moments to date.
See you on Sunday, kids.
P.S. Don’t forget to visit Bullz-Eye’s “Breaking Bad” blog right after the season premiere to join in on the post-show discussion. Trust me, there’s definitely going to be a lot to talk about. In the meantime, be sure to head over to our “Breaking Bad” Fan Hub for all the interviews, reviews, and features about the show that you can stand.