Steven Soderbergh On Breaking Bad Movie

‘You’d clean up if you showed the last two episodes in cinemas’

It’s no secret that Steven Soderbergh is, (a) turning his hand to television, and (b) a huge fan of Breaking Bad. What’s less well known – and watch us joins the dots here – is his idea for a Breaking Bad movie. It’s a notion first mentioned by Side Effects cast member Jude Law when he came by for an Empire webchat earlier this year, and when we sat down with the erstwhile movie director, it was something we had to ask him about.

“I thought it would be really cool”, explains Soderbergh, “to have the final two episodes of the show as a movie that aired the Friday after the penultimate episode. You'd sell that during the season – ‘See the season finale in theatres!’ – and just run it for a week, but I feel like you’d clean up. It’s never been done before.”

As an idea – and Soderbergh has never formally pitched it to BB creator Vince Gilligan or his co-producer Mark Johnson – it may, who knows, resurface as his TV showrunning career takes shape. The appeal of marrying TV and cinema, and of overseeing less indiscriminate marketing than the type he feels Hollywood is prone to, are obvious for Soderbergh. “You make the rule that the only money we’re going to spend selling [the theatrical release] is on ads during the show. It’s [in cinemas for] one week, then you can download it”, he adds, “but for the fans to have a communal viewing experience that week, that’d be super-cool.”

As a neat piece of synchronicity, Side Effects and Breaking Bad share a character name: Jonathan Banks. Coincidence or tribute, we wondered? “No. I don’t think (Side Effects writer) Scott Burns even watches the show.”

If you’re a fan of Breaking Bad – or Steven Soderbergh – you’re in luck. The new issue of Empire, on sale now, has lengthy retrospective pieces on both. There’s also a Breaking Bad spoiler podcast with Walter White himself, Bryan Cranston, to wrap your ears around, and a chunk of news from Vince Gilligan on Season 5 and the possibility of a Saul spin-off show. Magnets, bitch!