Sculpted by artist Trevor Grove and cast in bronze by American Fine Arts Foundry, the figures depict Cranston's Walter White—a New Mexico-based high-school science teacher-turned-crystal meth cook—in his bald Heisenberg phase, holding his infamous bowler hat, and Paul's Jesse Pickmam—White's former student turned business partner—in his signature hoodie and jacket combo. The statues were commissioned in 2019 by Sony Pictures Television.
Both stars were in attendance for the unveiling ceremony along with other members of the Breaking Bad family, including Dean Norris (who played DEA agent Hank Schrader) and the show's creator Vince Gilligan. Several cast members of Better Call Saul—a prequel series also created by Gilligan—as well as the mayor of Albuquerque Tim Keller, were also in attendance.
At the ceremony, Gilligan said he recognized that the statues of "two fictional, infamous meth dealers" could be controversial, but insisted the tribute was well-deserved.
"In all seriousness, no doubt some folks are going to say, ‘Wow, just what our city needed.' And I get that," the showrunner said. "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."
Cranston, 66, and Paul, 42, starred on the AMC for five seasons from 2008 to 2013—both earning Primetime Emmy Awards for their gritty performances. The co-stars famously paid homage to their roles by both getting Breaking Bad tattoos on the last day of filming to commemorate the final episode; Cranston's ink consists of the show's logo on his right ring finger, while Paul's tattoo reads "no half measures" on his biceps.
"It's the 'Br Ba' logo. And someone said, 'If you put it there no one can see it,' and no one can see it," Cranston told E! News while showing off his tatt in 2013. "And I said, 'I can see it.' So every once in a while I catch a glimpse of it and I see that logo from Breaking Bad and it makes me smile."
Since the series wrapped, Cranston and Paul have remained close friends, recently reuniting at a Las Vegas event in April and appearing together in the 2019 film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. Also that year, the actors launched their signature mezcal, Dos Hombres.
"We had the time of our lives while shooting Breaking Bad and truly built a very special bond," the two shared in an announcement for their liquor brand. "Knowing that we couldn't share the screen for quite a while, our thoughts turned to a new project."