Breaking Bad : a fence to stop pizzas on Walter White’s roof
Breaking Bad fans still have this image in mind : forced out of his home by his wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), Walter White (Bryan Cranston) throws out of anger a pizza on the roof of his house. A key moment but not so easy to capture. “When you read the script, you don’t think about the trajectory, the dimensions, the height of the roof or the weight of the pizza. It was huge and at the time I wondered how I would manage to throw it up there”, recounts Bryan Cranston. But the actor lived up to his character. “First shot ! It was one of these great moments when the scene is almost too perfect to be true. But it was”, recalls the showrunner Vince Gilligan.
So perfect that since it was broadcasted in the second episode of the third season, in 2010, fans have fun reproducing it. Except that, in real life, it’s not amusing at all and eventually infuriated the homeowners, who were forced to take drastic action to put an end to this.
Since the broadcasting of Breaking Bad, their small house located in the neighborhood of San Gabriel in Albuquerque (New Mexico, United States), has become a real place of pilgrimage for many fans of the show. Dozens of them travel there each day, by their own means or on one of the Breaking Bad RV Tours operated by professional guides in a camper identical to the one used by the famous Heisenberg.
At first, the owners observed this parade amused, the husband, Louis Padilla, even sometimes took time to tell visitors about a few anecdotes from the shooting, but the situation slowly deteriorated when rude fans started ignoring that this was private property : ringing the bell to ask to close the garage so that the picture would be identical to the series, stealing rocks from the landscape to bring back a souvenir, nasty comments when the owners told the visitors that they were on their property and above all repeatedly throwing pizzas on the roof to imitate Walter White… The inconveniences were adding up for the residents of 3828 Piermont Drive NE.
Vince Gilligan's intervention
In 2015, Vince Gilligan had intervened to ask fans to show obvious respect to the homeowners : “The house that served as a backdrop has become an attraction, he declared. I don’t think real fans are responsible but the woman that lives there and her husband are the most lovely people and they deserve to be treated better than this. There is nothing original, or funny or cool about throwing pizza on this lady’s roof who has nothing against people taking pictures or visiting the neighborhood respectfully.”
"We have had pizzas until we are sick of looking at pizzas"
But unfortunately, this didn’t translate into facts. “We have had pizzas on the roof, on the driveway… We have had pizzas until we are sick of looking at pizzas”, confirmed at the time the owner Fran Padilla on NPR radio. “I will sit outside with a shotgun in a rocking chair. You know, like Granny from Berverly Hillbilies”, she said joking, referring to this old popular American show (1962-1971).
You may be a good sort, after a while, it’s just not funny anymore. “We get the impression we can’t leave the house anymore, because each time we do, something happens and it’s often nonsense”, explained her daughter, Joanne Quintana, to the local news website, Kob 4.
The many signs reminding that this was private property and asking tourists to stay on the street were not obeyed. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The owners have just installed a 6-foot iron fence to regain some peace. “We don’t want to live confined, but we are forced to stay inside even we haven’t done anything wrong”, regrets Joanne Quintana.
And clearly, this wasn’t enough to stop rude fans. Some of them didn’t hesitate to climb the fence to take pictures… Evidently, a wall isn’t always the best solution.