I became the cinematographer for Breaking Bad when Adam Bernstein, who directed two episodes, threw my name in the hat and Christina Wayne from AMC called me to offer me the job. She said, “You’ve come highly recommended, we think you’re the guy for the job, come to New Mexico.” I’d been travelling a lot and I was looking not to travel anymore, so I said, “I’m not interested” and hung up the phone. My wife was walking by and I told her it was Breaking Bad and she said immediately, “Call them back and tell them to hold off on calling anyone else.” I asked them to send me the first season, sat down with my wife and from the first shot of the pilot — a pair of pants falling through the air and landing on the road — my jaw dropped. I said, “Oh my god, this is filmmaking.” I also told my wife, who was trying to get me to stay in New York, that she’d done a bad thing, because I was going to do the show and go to New Mexico. She told me she knew what she was doing.
In my initial discussions with AMC, we talked about the quality of the show and how the look should support it. I told them that what I would do would be something dark and evocative. They put me on the phone with Vince, told him my plan and he said, Absolutely. He said he trusted me and I told him, You don’t know me well enough to trust me. He vehemently contradicted me. [read]