“We had an idea we threw around for a while that we were gonna have a big Sikorsky skycrane helicopter, the kind the firefighters use,” Gillian shared on the companion podcast, adding that the plan was for the copter to feature “a giant elephant’s trunk sort of nozzle that hangs down underneath.” The plan, according to the filmmaker, was for one person involved in the heist to open the lid of a tanker kept in a rail yard so the other could suck up the rare meth-making ingredient through the tube “like a giant mosquito.”
The idea sounds laughable (in fact, you can hear another participant laughing in the background of the podcast), but Gilligan says executive producer Michelle MacLaren was kind enough to take it seriously when he presented it. “It is a credit to Michelle and to this amazing crew that when I pitched that to her, that she didn’t just laugh and say, ‘Are you out of your freaking mind?'”
Personally, this visual reminds me less of a prestige crime drama and more of Noo-Noo the vacuum sucking up custard in “Teletubbies,” so I’m not sure I would’ve been as level-headed about it as MacLaren. Then again, “Breaking Bad” had already made plenty of risky moves that paid off before this one; it’s possible that a helicopter heist would’ve been just as gratifying as the version of “Dead Freight” we ended up with.