This man was sitting across from me on the subway, holding what appeared to be a spine. I asked if he was a chiropractor. “I’m a lawyer,” he said. “I’m coming back from court.”
"How’d it go?" I asked.
"Not too good," he answered, laughing. "My client lied to me. She told me she didn’t go back to work after her injury. Turned out that wasn’t true."
Then another man who was sitting nearby joined our conversation. He began to tell the lawyer about his own legal problems. He was apparently involved in a personal injury lawsuit of his own, stemming from a fall he took from the top of a bunk bed, during a stint at a rehab facility.
As the man unloaded the details of his case, the lawyer heard him out, giving sympathetic nods and doling out vague expressions of support. The man left thinking that the lawyer agreed with him 100%.
The lawyer and I got off at the same stop. After we left the train, I asked: “So what did you think about that man’s case?”
"It’s awful," he said. "But I didn’t want to break his heart."
THE WRITER OF OZYMANDIAS, MOIRA WALLEY-BECKETТHow did you end up working on Breaking Bad?
I came on board in Season 2. I was obsessed with the show after watching it in Season One. I was working on another show at the time and the writer’s strike hit and suddenly I had all this time on the picket line and I just couldn’t stop thinking about Breaking Bad.
So I wrote a spec script and my agent was like, “Don’t fucking do that. That’s ridiculous. You can’t write a spec script on a show you actually want to work on. You have to write a spec script of some other cable show and then I can get it to Vince Gilligan’s producers.
But I can get kind of crazy obsessive like that and I just had the need to write it. I had the characters voices stuck in my head.
On the very day I was being offered a job on a network show my agent got me a meeting with Melissa Bernstein, one of the producers on Breaking Bad, basically just to shut me up. I went in and met her and I mentioned that I’d written a spec and she was like, “Really?” She was completely shocked and said that Vince would be so thrilled to know that someone loved the show enough to write a spec.
I felt like a goofy fan girl (which I was) and when she asked me “What’s it about?” I just sort of pitched it out.
I guess she liked the pitch because she was like, “Wow. Can I read it?” and I said, “I’m pretty sure there’s like six reasons why not.” And she looks me in the eye and says, “Can I read it?”. It was a Vegas moment. A gamble.
At this point I’m getting offered another job that afternoon and I haven’t finished Act 4 of the Breaking Bad spec. I told her she could read it and I’d get it to her the next morning.
So, I went to the job interview. They offered me the job. I went home. I finished Act 4 that night. I sent it to my agent the next morning, a Friday. He read it. He sent it to Melissa. Melissa read it. She sent it to Vince.
Come Monday, I’m sitting by the phone thinking, “What’s going to happen in my life?” And the other show is going, “Okay, we made the offer when are you going to counter? What’s happening?” and we’re like, “Just a second.” I didn’t hear anything all day. It was the world’s longest day, let me tell you.
Finally, at 4 o’clock that Monday afternoon I get a call. “Vince Gilligan wants to meet you.”
So I jumped in my car and raced across town and… it was kismet. He uttered the best sentence ever to me. With his sweet Virginia accent, he says, “I don’t know how you did that. I don’t know how you knew the characters so well, but my intention is to offer you a job — I just don’t know if I have a job to offer.” And I was like, “I’ll TAKE IT!” and he’s like, “Wait, wait, wait you better talk to your agent. Because we don’t even have a pickup and I don’t know what’s going to happen.”And I was like, “I’ll TAKE IT!”
So I turned down the other job and I waited. I waited for over 6 weeks to hear if there was even going to be any more Breaking Bad at all.
Finally, they got picked up for Season Two and I’ve been on the show ever since.