Bryan Cranston starred in Breaking Bad as Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who transforms into a ruthless kingpin in the local methamphetamine drug trade. What started as a means to help his family financially after being diagnosed with cancer turned into a hunger for power and control.
The thriller drama quickly became a fan favorite and even led to the spin-off series Better Call Saul, a lighter-themed take on the life of Walter’s hilarious but cunning lawyer, Saul Goodman.
In what could be considered a full circle moment, this spin-off show of Breaking Bad ended up inspiring Bill Hader’s Barry, a show about a hitman who wants to put his criminal history behind him, in contrast to White’s desire to only get deeper into the messed up world of the drug trade.
How Bryan Cranston’s Breaking Bad Spin-off Inspired Bill Hader’s Emmy-Winning Show
Bill Hader who made his name as ‘the impressions guy’ on Saturday Night Live and through cameo appearances in comedy movies like Superbad, finally got the opportunity to realize his full potential in 2018 through the sitcom Barry.
Apart from playing the titular character, a mentally unstable yet incredibly sharp assassin who eventually falls in love with acting, Hader also wrote and directed the show. The hilarious take on a criminal’s desperation to get away from his old life earned a staggering 54 Emmy nominations throughout its run.
Interestingly, the inspiration for the highly acclaimed show came after Hader visited the set of Bob Odenkirk‘s Better Call Saul, the show that gained popularity for mixing humor with extreme violence. The main characters of Breaking Bad’s spin-off (Jimmy McGill and his alter ego Saul) and Barry (Barry Berkman) are also eccentric anti-heroes.
While talking about his show, Hader also explained what he was looking to achieve through the show.
“From the start, I said, ‘I want to explore the version of the disease that’s in Barry, that’s also maybe in everybody. That thing that makes us keep making bad choices, so let’s explore that?’ And people would say, ‘OK, but, umm, it’s a comedy, right?’” he told The Guardian.
Apart from exploring the psyche of a hitman, Hader perfectly utilized the platform to showcase his acting prowess, winning the 2019 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.
Why SNL Alumnus Bill Hader Refuses to Sign Autographs
Thanks to his brilliant comedy sketches and impressions at Saturday Night Live for eight seasons and then an all-round contribution in Barry, Hader has not only become one of the regular names in the nominated lists of sought-after television awards over the years, but he has also enjoyed a significant rise in popularity.
However, fans of Hader have to return empty-handed whenever they approach him for an autograph. Explaining the reason behind the same, he stated on the Happy Sad Confused podcast:
“I used to sign stuff, and then one time I saw somebody and they had their kid come up to me to sign a BB-8 thing and it was three in the morning. I was leaving the Inside Out premiere and then we went to an after-party thing and it was super late and this guy kept his kid up all night. [He] was like, ‘Go over there so he’ll sign it so I can sell it online.’ I was like, ‘That’s f-cked up.'”
After that incident, Hader stopped signing merchandise for fans. Ironically, this is exactly what his character Barry would perhaps love to do after becoming a successful actor.