How Better Call Saul recreated the Breaking Bad RV and more

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not seen Better Call Saul Season 6 Episode 11 entitled Breaking Bad.

When set decorator Ashley Marsh found out that Better Call Saul would revive the iconic RV from Breaking Bad, she was thrilled. And thankfully, the original “Krystal Ship” had been safely stored on Sony’s property. There was just one problem: the motorhome was “completely gutted inside”.

Now, “Breaking Bad” had always used two “RVs” – a fully functional vehicle for the exterior and driving scenes and a separate sound stage for the interior scenes. To recreate this set for Better Call Saul, Marsh “religiously rewatched” Breaking Bad and took “8,000 screenshots.” With meticulous attention to detail, the team had to replace every beaker, tub of methylamine, round bottom flask, and more. Everything we see in the RV in Better Call Saul was new.

“We had to go back and buy everything,” says Marsh diversity. “We literally just stared at photos until we figured out what those items were.”

To make sure the inside of the RV looked exactly like it did in Breaking Bad, Marsh went in search of a 1986 Bounder—the same model used for the exterior shots—to fit seats, lights, a mini-fridge door, and Collect window coverings. Their search ended with Frank Sandoval, who runs a Breaking Bad RV tour company in Albuquerque. (He also appeared as an extra on Season 5 of Breaking Bad.) After Sandoval signed an “iron nondisclosure agreement,” he was happy to borrow some parts of his Bounder — which takes tourists through Albuquerque to fan-favorite locations of ” Breaking Bad brings – to the Better Call Saul team.

According to Marsh, Sandoval was the only person they could find who had the exact window coverings shown in Breaking Bad. While the typical television viewer would never notice such a minor incongruity, Marsh says that series co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould emphasized that fans will inevitably juxtapose the flashback scenes from Better Call Saul “juxtaposed with the original scenes”. cut together” would be from “Breaking Bad”. “We had to be very aware of how right this had to be,” she says.

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Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul, 2022
Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Excitingly for Marsh, this episode of Better Call Saul shows the interior of the RV in a way Breaking Bad never did: on the move, with Walt and Jesse preparing to go somewhere. This allowed the set decorators, along with Gilligan and screenwriter Thomas Schnauz, to envision how the meth cooking duo would pack their gear for the trip. Photographing the interior in motion, the special effects team placed airbags under the set to make the RV rock back and forth, mimicking a drive through the desert.

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Bryan Cranston as Walter White, Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman – Better Call Saul _ Season 6 Episode 11 – Photo Credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television
Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

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Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad, 2008
© AMC/courtesy The Everett Collection

To reshoot the Breaking Bad scene where Walt and Jesse hold Saul (Bob Odenkirk) at gunpoint in front of a shallow grave, the Better Call Saul construction team dug a grave behind the studios in desert-like terrain while the greens crew brought in dirt.

Working on 2019’s Saul and El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, Marsh had her fair share of set decoration challenges. When “Breaking Bad” introduced Ed the Disappearer (Robert Forster), who runs a witness protection program from his Best Quality Vacuum Shop, the real-life location was a vacuum shop that needed very little modification. By the time they returned for El Camino, it had been completely converted into a furniture store. So Marsh and Rachel Srigley, the set decor buyer, were tasked with converting it back to Best Quality Vacuum, a process that took three months.

“Rachel researched vacuum cleaners to find exactly the same models and the exact same colors,” says Marsh. “We cleaned every vacuum shop in town for all of its parts — anything that was around, just to get the volume.”

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Robert Forster and Aaron Paul in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, 2019
©Netflix/courtesy Everett Collection

Nonetheless, Marsh says the trickiest assignment she had in the Gilligan-verse was decorating the department store geared towards Gene in last week’s “Better Call Saul.” In the episode, Gene orchestrates an elaborate heist for cab driver Jeffy (Pat Healy) into Armani suits, Air Jordans and linen shirts while distracting mall security guards with freshly baked cinnabons.

“It was an empty Sears,” says Marsh, “with literally nothing in it. No rack, no pegs, nothing to hang anything on.”

The team had to import tons of sofas, shelves, furnishings and lamps, as well as “truckloads” of clothing. Meanwhile, Gene’s rhyming instructions for Jeffy (“One, Armani suits and go! Two, Air Jordan shoes for you!”, etc.) served as a guide to designing the store.

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Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul, 2022
Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Tel

It wasn’t the first time Marsh had to start a business from scratch. In fact, between seasons 4 and 5 of Better Call Saul, the Cinnabon where Gene works in Omaha (which is filmed at the Cottonwood Mall in Albuquerque) went out of business. Luckily, the production team was able to purchase much of what was left — tables, chairs, Coke machines, the giant cake blender — but Marsh says they still “had to painstakingly go back and reverse engineer what was missing and put everything back together.” Working with Cinnabon, they were also able to reclaim the specialty oven, dough sheeter and proofers.

“I’m a nerd,” Marsh admits. “Part of the reason I love going back and remaking sets is that you can really dive into and get excited about things that most people would find boring. It’s like playing a big game of iSpy, but on a professional level.” How Better Call Saul recreated the Breaking Bad RV and more

Charles Jones

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