Sunday night's "Breaking Bad" premiere culminated in an intense garage showdown between Walter White and his DEA Agent brother-in-law Hank Schrader. The scene was the ultimate payoff for fans who have watched Hank investigate the infamous Heisenberg for years, only to discover -- on the toilet -- that the meth kingpin was none other than Walter White.
In a series of interviews, "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan and stars Dean Norris and Bryan Cranston, who directed the episode, discussed what went into filming the tense scene.
"I love the way Bryan, as director and actor, plays the end of this sequence in this garage, as something of a cowboy movie moment. It feels iconic," Gilligan said in a behind-the-scenes video from AMC (above).
Cranston shared his thoughts on directing the confrontation in the same video. "I didn't want there to be prolonged exchanging blows, and this kind of thing. I wanted Hank to feel abject betrayal and pain, so he explodes, but then instead of fighting, he's holding on to me, almost like, 'I want to crush you, and then I want to hug you,'" he explained. "He doesn't know how to manage his emotions at that point. It's sad."
Norris revealed in his interview with Vulture that their confrontation was originally written to be even more "violent and hard," but after a few takes, the actors realized that they needed to add additional layers of betrayal, shock and remorse to their performances.
They re-shot the scene and made a few small but vital changes. After Hank punched Walter and threw him against the garage door, Norris grabbed the back of Cranston's neck, in what he described as a subconscious homage to Michael Corleone's wedding confrontation with his brother Fredo in "The Godfather." And Cranston tweaked Walter's instantly-viral "tread lightly" line into "more of a plea than a threat," Norris described. "It was more like he was saying, 'Be careful.' For real be careful. Like seriously, be careful!"
The final season of "Breaking Bad" continues Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.