Better Call Saul has been one of the most highly anticipated shows of 2015 since it was first announced, and the first episodes have not been a disappointment to fans of its predecessor, Breaking Bad. Its success has come, in part, from giving those of us with fond memories of Walter White a few familiar faces, but it’s also because the new show is paying homage to its roots with some gorgeous, haunting landmarks.
Director Michelle MacLaren, who worked on Breaking Bad and has also put in time on The Walking Dead and Game Of Thrones, says that for the second episode–which gives us a look at Jimmy’s (Bob Odenkirk) ability to smooth-talk–they wanted to take the characters to a place most of us will instantly recognize, even if it wasn’t the easiest place to shoot (Caution: potential spoilers).
“The big scene in the desert was challenging because it was so long. We had to shoot it over two days. When you’re out in the desert, you are constantly changing your position as the sun changes. You have all these people with no real landmarks other than the mountains. We kept moving the cars and the people as the light moved. That’s a challenging thing to do when you’re doing such an emotionally dramatic, intense scene. It was close to where we shot the “Say My Name” episode. We shot a lot of stuff out there. We called that our backlot. It wasn’t far from the “Salud” episode, when we went to Mexico with Gus Fring and the guys are driving through the desert in the car when they are blindfolded. It’s beautiful desert out there, and you can use it for a lot of different things,” MacLaren told The Hollywood Reporter.
Better Call Saul takes place six years before the world of Breaking Bad, which makes it nearly impossible to bring back all of our favorite characters, but a couple have made their way into the first episodes already. Star Bob Odenkirk says there’s a lot more work for him to do this time around, but he’s aware that it’s going to take a lot of work to keep this show distinctly separate from the first while keeping elements that fans will love and relate to.
“The workload is exponentially, by a factor of one thousand, greater. I mean, my part in Breaking Bad wasn’t that large. I would fly in, do my part, and go home sometimes the same day. Flew to Albuquerque, shot, and then came home. This time, I moved there for four and a half months and there were whole weeks where I was in every scene. So yeah, very different. I had to work harder by a lot.”
Better Call Saul airs on Monday nights at 10 p.m. on AMC.
[Image Via AMC]