Walt's car is a well-used 2003 Pontiac Aztek, repainted a pale non-factory dull-green chosen by series creator Vince Gilligan perhaps to mimic a faded original paint job and thus symbolize Walt's previous bland existence. The windshield has been broken and replaced several times due to catastrophes both great and small, all traceable to Walt's descent into the drug world. Though Pontiac's Aztek was widely derided as ugly, overpriced and beset with quality issues (it never met sales quotas), it has built a loyal following for its versatility and is considered something of a good used-car deal - a deliberate analogy maybe to Walt's survival skills in his dangerous second career. The show's production keeps at least 2 Azteks equipped for different filming situations.
The actor who portrays Walter Jr. in the series (RJ Mitte), actually has cerebral palsy like his character on the show. However, his real life affliction is much milder than his character's, and he had to learn to walk with crutches and slow down his speech to play the part.
Characters and their values are represented by the colors they wear. Skyler is usually dressed in blue and Jesse in yellow and red (when he is in recovery, he wears gray). Walter wears green because he is stuck between his family and the drug trade. When the Whites' daughter is born, pink is introduced to the spectrum. Similar color patterns show up during the series. The DEA agents, Hank and Gomez, wear orange, representing police. Marie is usually in purple and many of the other doctors on the show are seen in it as well. And Jane, the recovering heroin addict, wears black.
The title of the series is spelled using the chemical symbols for bromine ("Br"), and barium ("Ba"). Chemical symbols from the periodic table of the elements also appear in every name in the opening credits: a single capital letter, or letter-pair with only the first letter capitalized (in line with scientific convention), shown in a differing color.
When characters on the show are smoking meth, they are actually smoking sugar or rock candy but do not inhale.
Bryan Cranston (Walter), Anna Gunn (Skyler) and Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman) have guest starred in "Seinfeld" (1989). Anna played Jerry's girlfriend in "The Glasses" (Season 5). Bryan made his first appearance as Dr. Tim Whatley, a dentist whose conversion to Judaism annoys Jerry when he realizes Tim only converted so he could tell Jewish-themed jokes, a year later, in "The Mom and Pop Store" (Season 6). Bob played Ben Galvant in "The Abstinence" (Season 8); Elaine is dating Ben because she thinks he is a doctor, but Ben reveals he hasn't passed his medical boards yet and proves inept in a real-life health crisis. Once Ben does become a doctor, he breaks up with Elaine and explains, Saul Goodman-style, that the point of becoming a doctor is to end up dating someone who was out of his league before he became one. Larry Hankin appeared on "Seinfeld" too and was co-creator Larry David's first choice to play Kramer. Other "Breaking Bad" actors who appeared on "Seinfeld": Nigel Gibbs, Mark Harelik and Jessica Hecht.
Walter White's alias, Heisenberg, is a tribute to Werner Heisenberg, who formulated the uncertainty principle, which states that it is impossible to determine simultaneously both the position and velocity of an electron or any other particle with any great degree of accuracy or certainty.
In the beginning of each episode, the chemical formula C10H15N along with the number 149.24 and the word "Meth" can be seen just before the title Breaking Bad appears. C10H15N is the formula for methamphetamine, which has the molecular weight of 149.24.
Before working together on Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan had already cast Bryan Cranston against his usual type in "Drive," an episode of The X-Files that Gilligan wrote in which Cranston played a white supremacist with an infection that made his head explode if his car's speed dipped below 50 miles per hour. Gilligan has said their collaboration in this episode convinced him that Cranston was the only actor who could portray Walter White as they had a hard time finding someone who could portray a sympathetic villain when casting "The X-Files" episode.
Lead actor Bryan Cranston stated in an interview that the term "breaking bad" is a southern colloquialism and it means when someone who has taken a turn off the path of the straight and narrow, when they've gone wrong. And that could be for that day or for a lifetime.
On the season one DVD audio commentary, Vince Gilligan revealed that Jesse was originally going to die by the end of season one. However, they changed their minds after seeing Aaron Paul's performance.
Betsy Brandt was pregnant during season two. Whenever she reached the point in the pregnancy that Skyler was supposed to be, the producers would do pick-up shots with her as the fake bare belly on Anna Gunn.
During filming, the introduction of Wendy the prostitute was briefly interrupted when a non-actor attempted to pick up actress Julia Minesci, mistaking her for a prostitute.
Several actors from this series have made guest appearances on David E. Kelley's legal drama The Practice, all dissimilar to their character's on Breaking Bad: Anna Gunn played a district attorney who was not keen on breaking the law; Giancarlo Esposito played an African American who was wrongly accused of murder; Mark Margolis played an Italian American wrongly accused of being a mobster.
Steven Bauer (Don Eladio) and Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring) who play enemies in the show, previously starred together in the show South Beach, the movie Doing Hard Time (2004) (V) and in a production of the play "Balm in Gilead" which also starred Breaking Bad actor Mark Margolis (Hector Salamanca). Bauer and Margolis also acted alongside one another in another drug-related project Scarface.
Jonathan Banks and Steven Bauer who both play criminals in the show, played partners working for the New York District Attorney's Office to investigate the drug underworld in the show Wiseguy.
On the Breaking Bad podcast, Creator Vince Gilligan revealed that Mark Margolis (Hector "Tio" Salamanca) was initially intended to become the main antagonist from Season 3 on, however they eventually decided to upgrade Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring) from guest appearances into the series' main antagonist instead.
Vince Gilligan said in an interview that, retrospectively, having season one shortened due to the writer's strike actually helped him because he had planned to evolved Walt into evilness faster to conclude the season in a shocking way. With the strike, he could write the evolution gradually.
In 2005, after Showtime, TNT and HBO rejected the initial pitch for "Breaking Bad" FX stepped in and immediately began development on the pilot, but eventually passed on the project in favour of the Courteney Cox show "Dirt" in a bid to draw more female viewers.
Samuel L. Jackson showed up unannounced during filming on the Pollos Hermanos set one day, dressed in his Nick Fury outfit from The Avengers. Both productions of Breaking Bad and The Avengers were happening on the same studio lot, and Jackson wanted to be an extra during the scene being filmed. The producers denied his request to appear as Nick Fury on the show.
According to Dean Norris, while shooting the first half of season 5 he got a job offer to play one of the leading parts in a sitcom. Norris, knowing Breaking bad was ending and thinking more about providing for his family, suggested to Vince Gilligan the idea of killing Hank in those first eight episodes, arguing it would be shocking and unexpected. Gilligan refused, saying he very much needed Hank for the second half of the season.
Gus Fring was originally supposed to appear in only three or four episodes. Giancarlo Esposito was asked to return for seven episodes in season three. But Esposito refused to return unless he could appear in more episodes. He ended up appearing in 11 episodes in the third season.
According to Giancarlo Esposito, he based his performance as Gus Fring on Edward James Olmos's performance as Lt. Martin Castillo in Miami Vice. He noticed that Olmos was very quiet and still but suggested an inner turmoil. Esposito guest starred on that series three times.
A main plot point of Breaking Bad concerns the main character, Walt, being a bona fide chemistry genius. Marius Stan, who plays Walt's impressively-eyebrowed boss at the carwash Bogdan, in real life is an actual chemistry genius. He has a PhD in Chemistry, and still works in that field. Breaking Bad was his first foray into acting.