New Mexico unveiled larger-than-life bronze statues of the meth dealers from the popular “Breaking Bad” TV series in Albuquerque on Friday.
The TV show ran from 2008-2013 and depicted how a desperate and terminally ill high school chemistry teacher turned to meth cooking and drug dealing. Actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, who starred in the show and are depicted in the statues as their characters, attended the unveiling.
The show’s director, Vince Gillian, helped fund the statue but acknowledged that some may view it as sending the wrong message amid a nationwide opioid crisis.
“In all seriousness, no doubt some folks are going to say, ‘Wow, just what our city needed.’ And I get that,” Gillian said, according to Fox 13. “I see two of the finest actors America has ever produced. I see them, in character, as two larger-than-life tragic figures, cautionary tales.”
Republican State Rep. Rod Montoya criticized the statue, but clarified he is a fan of Cranston.
“I’m glad New Mexico got the business, but really?” Montoya said. “We’re going down the road of literally glorifying meth makers?”
Nevertheless, state leaders are banking on the film industry to reduce unemployment rates. New Mexico currently has the highest unemployment in the country.
New Mexico offers up to 35% rebate for state spending on film projects.