‘Breaking Bad’ statues unveiled in Albuquerque

On Friday, in Albuquerque, a convention center was set up to celebrate the award-winning legacy, entertainment, and TV series “Breaking Bad,” where Bronze statues of Jesse Pinkman and Walter White, who played their own gritty roles in the city, were installed. These statues commemorate the mythical methamphetamine cookers.

The artwork, contributed by Gilligan and Sony Pictures, was revealed in the company of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and “Breaking Bad” actors Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and director Vince Gilligan.

The real-life challenges of crime and drug addiction in Albuquerque, along with the emerging renaissance in filmmaking throughout New Mexico, played a significant role in contributing to the creation of the prequel series “Better Call Saul” and its ongoing show set between 2008 and 2013.

Gilligan acknowledged that the sculptures of “two fictional, notorious meth dealers” may not be universally beloved in New Mexico.

Walter White and Jesse Pinkman statues from “Breaking Bad” in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“I see cautionary stories and larger-than-life tragic characters in them. I see two of America’s finest actors ever produced. Gillian said that I get it and I needed to say ‘Wow’ to express what our city is going through, without a doubt, with complete seriousness.”

“Still a fixture on Netflix, “Breaking Bad” follows the fictional trajectory of Paul, a high-school science teacher, as he becomes involved in the violent world of meth distribution and production, filled with plot twists and cliffhangers.”

Statues with Aaron Paul and Bryan Crantson.
Some New Mexico residents believe the statues are glorifying the state’s already struggling drug problem.

While guiding fans on tours of former filming locations in Albuquerque, merchandise such as T-shirts and souvenirs featuring the iconic lead characters of the show are prominently showcased, including a replica of the meth lab inside an RV.

In the past three decades, New Mexico has long struggled with addiction, as evidenced by the deaths linked to drug and alcohol overdoses, exceeding 43,000. Furthermore, Albuquerque currently faces a record-breaking surge in homicides.

2020 in deaths overdose drug of causes leading the as opioids prescription and heroin surpassed fentanyl and meth from deaths overdose surging.

Keller heralded the positive economic impact of “Better Call Saul” and “Breaking Bad” on Albuquerque, jokingly calling it “Tamale-wood” and acknowledging that it brings delight and dollars to the city.

Aaron Paul greeting fans.
Aaron Paul is ecstatic to see fans as he attends the unveiling of the “Breaking Bad” statues in downtown Albuquerque.

Keller stated, “Although the narratives may be fabricated … Occupations are genuine each and every day.” “The metropolis is also a persona. … We identify with ourselves in numerous manners, both positive and negative.”

Rep. Rod Montoya, a Republican from Farmington, said that he admires Bryan Cranston as an actor, although he brings the wrong kind of attention to the statues.

“I’m pleased that New Mexico received the business, but honestly?” Montoya expressed. “Are we really going in the direction of glorifying manufacturers of meth?”

Bryan Cranston with fan.
Bryan Cranston stops to take a selfie with an excited fan during the unveiling of the “Breaking Bad” statue.

He also questioned the logic of the tribute after Albuquerque in June 2020 removed a statue of Spanish conqueror Juan de Oñate.

A protester was wounded in the shooting incident that occurred during the demonstration, as activists attempted to dismantle the bronze sculpture in condemnation of Oñate’s cruel actions towards Indigenous peoples around five centuries ago.

In a state with the highest joblessness rate in the country, politicians in New Mexico, including Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, have placed their aspirations on the movie sector to enhance economic prospects.

“Recently, the TV and film industry in New Mexico hit a new production peak with the series “Stranger Things” on Netflix. Drawing projects from the state, recent video projects have contributed to a record-setting in-state spending of $855 million for the fiscal year ending in June.”

In the year 2019, the amount of incentive payments reached a peak of $148 million. The state of New Mexico provides a refund ranging from 25% to 35% of expenditures made within the state for video production, which assists both big and small filmmakers in financing their projects.