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Vince Gilligan on Being 'Spoiled,' Wanting Enough Lead Time on Future Projects

TELEVISION: Vince Gilligan
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Vince Gilligan

The "Breaking Bad" creator says his agents are still working on a studio deal, says a possible Saul Goodman spinoff would be more comedic and calls websites offering pirated content a double-edged sword.

LONDON – "I have been very spoiled by Sony and AMC" with a lot of time for outlining and writing the final season of Breaking Bad, creator Vince Gilligan said here Tuesday. "I feel I need that now. I don't want to not have that lead time in future projects."

During a meeting with press in the British capital before he gives a master class at the annual Edinburgh TV Festival later this week, he said that despite Sony's spoiling, he has yet to decide which TV studio he'll sign a new overall deal with. "My agents are working away trying to figure out a deal," he said. "There are a couple of possible studios." He didn't comment further.

THR previously reported that current studio partner Sony and Warner Bros. Television are key players courting Gilligan.

On Tuesday, he also reiterated that he "would like to see a spinoff series centering around our Saul Goodman character," played in Breaking Bad by Bob Odenkirk. He said he would like to get that going with a studio and network and then let writer Peter Gould, who created the character, run the room.

"It's possible we could open a writers room this year," Gilligan said when asked by THR how soon the show could be set up, highlighting that his representatives are working on details while he is in Europe. But with his experience of having a year to outline the final season of Breaking Bad and three to four weeks of setting up plot outlines per episode, he said the show may not air right away. "I'm spoiled now and need the time to figure out the stories before we actually start shooting them," he said.

Asked if the potential Goodman spinoff could be shorter than an hourlong drama, Gilligan said "the best guess at the moment is it would be an hour long." After all, "turning it into a 30-minute sitcom wouldn't feel quite right and authentic to me," he explained.

While his writing team put "as much humor as we could" into Breaking Bad to lighten the darkness, a spinoff would be much more comedic, he explained. While Breaking Bad had around 80 percent drama, a Goodman show could be 75 percent comedy, he said.

"Saul is so much fun to write for," Gilligan explained when asked why the Goodman character seemed most appealing for a spinoff. "It's pleasurable to put words in the mouth of Saul Goodman."

Gilligan also discussed how online streaming sites like Netflix helped Breaking Bad expand its AMC audience. "We benefited from nearly perfect timing in terms of Netflix and streaming on demand," he said. "I don't claim we deserve that. It may have just been dumb luck. But I'll take it." He quipped that without online help, Breaking Bad may have been canceled after season two or three.

Asked if websites offering content illegally without the proper licensing also contributed to the show's popularity, Gilligan said that was true, which is what makes such sites "a double-edged sword." Without going into a deeper discussion, he said: "There has been a pro and a con."

Discussing a Breaking Bad remake in Colombia, Gilligan said "I heard they are up to episode six and working away on it." How involved is he in it? "I really hate to admit that I'm very uninvolved," he said, highlighting that he was deep into the work on the final episode when production started.

He sent a consultant for the first episode though and said he will look forward to "watching it as a fan."

Asked if he would like to see other international remakes, Gilligan said: "I'd like to see it remade everywhere … I'm greedy."

Questioned on the pros and cons of bringing Breaking Bad to an end, He said: "This has been the greatest job of my life and probably will be." But Gilligan also acknowledged that living with Walter White in his head for 24 hours for years "can be detrimental."

The Breaking Bad lead character is "a hard guy to carry around," he said. "You start to inadvertently see the world through Walter White's eyes. That has caused me some unpleasant moments." Concluded Gilligan: "As sad I am that the show is over … being able to scrape the remnants of Walter White away has been probably a healthy thing."

The final season of Breaking Bad is now available on Netflix U.K. with new episodes released every Monday. Seasons 1-5 are available here on Blu-ray, DVD and Netflix U.K.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai