Vince Gilligan
Gilligan in May 2018
Born
George Vincent Gilligan Jr.

(1967-02-10) February 10, 1967 (age 56)
Occupations
  • Screenwriter
  • producer
  • director
Years active1992–present
Spouse
Holly Rice
(m. 1991)

George Vincent Gilligan Jr. (born February 10, 1967) is an American screenwriter, producer, and director. He is best known as the creator, primary writer, executive producer, and occasional director of the AMC crime drama series Breaking Bad (2008–2013) and its spin-off prequel series Better Call Saul (2015–2022). He also wrote, directed, and produced the Breaking Bad sequel film El Camino (2019).

Gilligan's other work includes writing, directing, and producing some episodes of the Fox science fiction series The X-Files (1993–2002) and co-creating its spin-off series The Lone Gunmen (2001), as well as co-writing the screenplay for the superhero film Hancock (2008). He has won four Primetime Emmy Awards, six Writers Guild of America Awards, two Critics' Choice Television Awards, two Producers Guild of America Awards, a Directors Guild of America Award, and a BAFTA Television Award.

Early life

George Vincent Gilligan Jr. was born in Richmond, Virginia, on February 10, 1967,[1] the son of grade school teacher Gail and insurance claims adjuster George Vincent Gilligan Sr.[2] He was raised Catholic but would later describe himself as "pretty much agnostic".[3] His parents divorced in 1974. He and his younger brother Patrick were raised in Farmville and Chesterfield County, where they attended J.P. Wynne Campus School, the laboratory school run by Longwood College where their mother also taught; Gilligan would later use the J.P. Wynne name for the fictional high school where Walter White teaches in Breaking Bad.[1][4][5]

Growing up, Gilligan became best friends with future film editor and film title designer Angus Wall. His interest in film began when Wall's mother Jackie, who also taught alongside Gilligan's mother at J.P. Wynne, would lend her Super 8 film cameras to him. He used the camera to make science fiction films with Patrick.[6] One of his first films was entitled Space Wreck, starring Patrick in the lead role. One year later, he won first prize for his age group in a film competition at the University of Virginia.[1] Jackie would take Wall and Gilligan to Richmond and drop them off at Cloverleaf Mall to see films, encouraging both of them to pursue a career in the arts. Gilligan later said, "I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for Jackie. She was a wonderful lady and a real inspiration."[6]

Gilligan was recognized for his talents and creativity at an early age. His father described him as a "kind of a studious-type young man, and he liked to read, and he had a vivid imagination". He introduced Gilligan to film noir classics, as well as John Wayne and Clint Eastwood Westerns on late-night television.[6] Gilligan won a scholarship to attend the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts. After eighth grade, he moved back to Chesterfield to attend Lloyd C. Bird High School.[1] After graduating from Lloyd C. Bird High School in 1985, he went on to attend NYU's Tisch School of the Arts on a scholarship, receiving a BFA in film production.[7] While at NYU, he wrote the screenplay for Home Fries and received the Virginia Governor's Screenwriting Award in 1989 for the screenplay, which was later turned into a film.[4] One of the judges of the competition was film producer Mark Johnson, who was impressed by Gilligan and called him "the most imaginative writer" he had ever read.[6] Gilligan also studied holography under Jason Sapan at Holographic Studios in New York City.[8]

Career

The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen

Main article: The X-Files (franchise)

Gilligan's big break came when he joined the Fox television drama The X-Files. Gilligan was a fan of the show, and submitted a script to Fox which became the second-season episode "Soft Light".[9] He went on to write 29 more episodes, in addition to being co-executive producer of 44 episodes, executive producer of 40, co-producer of 24, and supervising producer of 20. He also co-created and became executive producer of The X-Files spin-off series The Lone Gunmen. The series only ran for one season of 13 episodes.

Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and El Camino

Main article: Breaking Bad (franchise)

Gilligan in 2010

Gilligan created, wrote, directed, and produced the AMC drama series Breaking Bad. He created the series with the premise that the hero would become the villain. "Television is historically good at keeping its characters in a self-imposed stasis so that shows can go on for years or even decades", he said. "When I realized this, the logical next step was to think, how can I do a show in which the fundamental drive is toward change?"[10] He added that his goal with Walter White was to turn him from "Mr. Chips into Scarface".[11] While pitching the show to studios, Gilligan was initially discouraged when he learned of the existing series Weeds and its similarities to the premise of Breaking Bad. While his producers convinced him that the show was different enough to still be successful, he later stated that he would not have gone forward with the idea had he known about Weeds earlier.[12]

Breaking Bad received widespread critical acclaim and has been praised by many critics as being among the greatest television dramas of all time.[10] Gilligan has been awarded numerous times for writing, directing, and producing the series. The Writers Guild of America has awarded him four times in straight succession, from 2012 to 2014; three as a part of the Breaking Bad writing team and one individually for writing the episode "Box Cutter".[13][14][15] He also received two Primetime Emmys in 2013 and 2014 for producing the show. In 2014, he won the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for directing the finale of Breaking Bad, "Felina".[16]

In September 2013, Sony Pictures Television announced a deal with AMC to produce a Breaking Bad spin-off prequel entitled Better Call Saul, to focus on character Saul Goodman from the original series, before he became Walter White's lawyer, and to star Bob Odenkirk reprising his role as the title character.[17] Gilligan co-created the series with Breaking Bad writer Peter Gould, with both of them acting as showrunners. The first episode, which Gilligan directed and co-wrote, premiered on February 8, 2015.[18] He would leave the Better Call Saul writing staff early in the third season to focus on other projects, resulting in Gould becoming sole showrunner. This transition had been planned since the show's debut.[19] Gilligan remained involved in Better Call Saul's production in a reduced role, directing episodes in the fourth and fifth seasons, before returning to the writers room in the sixth.[20][21][22]

In July 2018, it was announced that Gilligan had agreed to stay with Sony TV on a new three-year deal.[23] His deal via his High Bridge Productions company was renewed in 2021.[24]

Gilligan quietly developed the script for El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, which wraps up the story of Jesse Pinkman following the events of "Felina", Breaking Bad's finale, ahead of the show's tenth anniversary. Gilligan subsequently led its direction and filming. The movie was released in a limited theatrical screening and on Netflix in October 2019.[25]

Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, and El Camino, along with various short-form web series associated with these series, have been described informally by the shows' staff and fans as the "Gilliverse".[26] Following the broadcast run of Better Call Saul, Gilligan said he does not plan to create any more works related to Breaking Bad,[27]

Battle Creek

Main article: Battle Creek (TV series)

In September 2013, Sony announced that it struck a deal with CBS to produce a new television series created by Gilligan and David Shore entitled Battle Creek. Based on a script written by Gilligan ten years prior, the show follows the partnership of two police detectives who must compete with a seemingly-perfect FBI agent. Gilligan co-wrote the first episode with Shore, the showrunner of the series.[28] CBS ordered thirteen episodes and the series aired on CBS starting March 1, 2015.[29] CBS decided not to renew the series for a second season.[30]

Other work

Film

Gilligan first had a screenplay produced in 1993 for the romantic comedy film Wilder Napalm. While working on The X-Files, one of Gilligan's early screenplays was produced in 1998 as a film, Home Fries, which starred Drew Barrymore and Luke Wilson.[31] He also rewrote the screenplay for the 2008 Will Smith film Hancock, which was originally written by Vincent Ngo.[32]

Television

Gilligan was hired by The X-Files creator Chris Carter to be a consulting producer on his new series Harsh Realm. After The X-Files, Gilligan wrote an episode of the short lived police procedural series Robbery Homicide Division and an episode of the ABC series Night Stalker. Gilligan made his acting debut in 2014 in "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing", the ninth episode of the fifth season of NBC's comedy series Community. He plays a cheesy actor hosting "Pile of Bullets", a fictional 1990s VCR-based video game.[33]

After Better Call Saul finished its run, Gilligan announced he was working towards a new show, a science fiction genre piece that has been compared to The X-Files and The Twilight Zone.[34] The yet to be titled show received a two-season order from Apple TV+ in September 2022, with confirmation that Rhea Seehorn, who played Kim Wexler on Better Call Saul, would be in a starring role.[35]

Unrealized projects

In 2007, Gilligan and fellow The X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz wrote a sci-fi pilot entitled A.M.P.E.D., which was not picked up for a full series.

In 2016, it was announced that Gilligan would be developing an HBO limited miniseries about Jim Jones and the 1978 Jonestown tragedy. The series would be based on the 1982 non-fiction book Raven, and would be co-produced by Octavia Spencer and Gilligan's longtime collaborator Michelle MacLaren.[36] However, in 2018, Gilligan said that he had slowed down on developing the project.[37]

Personal life

Gilligan married Holly Rice in 1991.[2][38]

Raised Catholic before becoming agnostic in adulthood, Gilligan said of his beliefs in 2011, "I find atheism just as hard to get my head around as I find fundamental Christianity. Because if there is no such thing as cosmic justice, what is the point of being good? [...] I feel some sort of need for biblical atonement, or justice, or something. I like to believe there is some comeuppance, that karma kicks in at some point, even if it takes years or decades to happen. [Holly] says this great thing that's become my philosophy as well: 'I want to believe there's a Heaven, but I can't not believe there's a Hell.'"[3]

Filmography

Gilligan and Aaron Paul in June 2010

Film

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1993 Wilder Napalm No Yes No
1998 Home Fries No Yes No
2008 Hancock No Yes No Co-written with Vincent Ngo
2019 El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie Yes Yes Yes

Television

Year Title Creator Director Writer Executive producer Notes
1995–2002 The X-Files No Yes Yes Yes Also creative consultant, consulting producer, co-executive producer and co-producer
1999–2000 Harsh Realm No No No Consulting
2001 The Lone Gunmen Yes No Yes Yes Co-created with Chris Carter, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
2002 Robbery Homicide Division No No Yes No
2005 The Night Stalker No No Yes No
2007 A.M.P.E.D. Yes No Yes Yes Pilot
Co-written with Frank Spotnitz
2008–2013 Breaking Bad Yes Yes Yes Yes
2015–2022 Better Call Saul Yes Yes Yes Yes Co-created with Peter Gould
2015 Battle Creek Yes No Yes Yes Co-created with David Shore

Television episode credits

Year Show Season Episode number Episode title Director Writer Original airdate Notes
1995 The X-Files 2 23 "Soft Light" No Yes May 5, 1995
1996 3 17 "Pusher" No Yes February 23, 1996
4 4 "Unruhe" No Yes October 27, 1996
10 "Paper Hearts" No Yes December 15, 1996
1997 12 "Leonard Betts" No Yes January 26, 1997 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
14 "Memento Mori" No Yes February 9, 1997 Co-written with Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz and John Shiban
20 "Small Potatoes" No Yes April 20, 1997
5 3 "Unusual Suspects" No Yes November 16, 1997
6 "Christmas Carol" No Yes December 7, 1997 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
7 "Emily" No Yes December 14, 1997 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
1998 8 "Kitsunegari" No Yes January 4, 1998 Co-written with Tim Minear
12 "Bad Blood" No Yes February 22, 1998
19 "Folie a Deux" No Yes May 10, 1998
6 2 "Drive" No Yes November 15, 1998
4 "Dreamland" No Yes November 29, 1998 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
5 "Dreamland II" No Yes December 6, 1998 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
1999 10 "Tithonus" No Yes January 24, 1999
14 "Monday" No Yes February 28, 1999 Co-written with John Shiban
20 "Three of a Kind" No Yes May 2, 1999 Co-written with John Shiban
21 "Field Trip" No Yes May 9, 1999 Teleplay co-written with John Shiban (story by Frank Spotnitz)
7 3 "Hungry" No Yes November 21, 1999
4 "Millennium" No Yes November 28, 1999 Co-written with Frank Spotnitz
2000 8 "The Amazing Maleeni" No Yes January 16, 2000 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
12 "X-Cops" No Yes February 20, 2000
14 "Theef" No Yes March 12, 2000 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
21 "Je Souhaite" Yes Yes May 14, 2000
8 4 "Roadrunners" No Yes November 26, 2000
2001 The Lone Gunmen 1 1 "Pilot" No Yes March 4, 2001 Co-written with Chris Carter, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
2 "Bond, Jimmy Bond" No Yes March 11, 2001 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
7 "Planet of the Frohikes" No Yes April 6, 2001
8 "Maximum Byers" No Yes April 13, 2001 Co-written with Frank Spotnitz
12 "All About Yves" No Yes May 11, 2001 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
13 "The Cap'n Toby Show" No Yes June 1, 2001 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
2002 The X-Files 9 7 "John Doe" No Yes January 13, 2002
15 "Jump the Shark" No Yes April 21, 2002 Co-written with John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz
18 "Sunshine Days" Yes Yes May 12, 2002
Robbery Homicide Division 1 4 "Free and Clear" No Yes October 18, 2002
2005 Night Stalker 1 10 "What's the Frequency, Kolchak?" No Yes March 17, 2006
2007 A.M.P.E.D. Pilot No Yes Unaired Co-written with Frank Spotnitz
2008 Breaking Bad 1 1 "Pilot" Yes Yes January 20, 2008
2 "Cat's in the Bag..." No Yes January 27, 2008
3 "...And the Bag's in the River" No Yes February 10, 2008
4 "Cancer Man" No Yes February 17, 2008
2009 2 6 "Peekaboo" No Yes April 12, 2009 Co-written with J. Roberts
13 "ABQ" No Yes May 31, 2009
2010 3 1 "No Más" No Yes March 21, 2010
13 "Full Measure" Yes Yes June 13, 2010
2011 4 1 "Box Cutter" No Yes July 17, 2011
12 "End Times" Yes No October 2, 2011
13 "Face Off" Yes Yes October 9, 2011
2012 5 1 "Live Free or Die" No Yes July 15, 2012
2 "Madrigal" No Yes July 22, 2012
2013 16 "Felina" Yes Yes September 29, 2013
2015 Battle Creek 1 1 "The Battle Creek Way" No Yes March 1, 2015 Co-written with David Shore
Better Call Saul 1 1 "Uno" Yes Yes February 8, 2015 Co-written with Peter Gould
2016 2 10 "Klick" Yes Yes April 18, 2016 Co-written with Heather Marion
2017 3 1 "Mabel" Yes Yes April 10, 2017 Co-written with Peter Gould
2 "Witness" Yes No April 17, 2017
2018 4 9 "Wiedersehen" Yes No October 1, 2018
2020 5 8 "Bagman" Yes No April 6, 2020
2022 6 2 "Carrot and Stick" Yes No April 18, 2022
8 "Point and Shoot" Yes No July 11, 2022
12 "Waterworks" Yes Yes August 8, 2022

Acting

Year Title Role Notes
2014 Community Devon / Pile of Bullets' Host Episode: "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing"
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! The Commissioner Episode: "Lil Jon Wears a Baseball Cap and Sunglasses"
2017 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Axalon (voice) Episode: "Mr. Rippen"
2018 American Dad! Himself (voice) Episode: "(You Gotta) Strike for Your Right"
2019 What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage Himself Episode: “Spoiler”

Awards and nominations

See also: List of awards and nominations received by Vince Gilligan

References

  1. ^ a b c d McConnell, Jim. "Our Man in Hollywood". Chesterfield Monthly. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Segal, David (July 6, 2011). "The Dark Art of 'Breaking Bad'". The New York Times. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Segal, David (July 6, 2011). "The Dark Art of 'Breaking Bad'". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b "Breaking Bad Biography" AMC June 29, 2013
  5. ^ "Breaking Bad" Creator Vince Gilligan Congratulates Longwood University on YouTube
  6. ^ a b c d Foster, Richard (July 2011). "Bad Man". Richmond Magazine. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  7. ^ "Biography at Mahalo" November 25, 2009.
  8. ^ Strochlic, Nina (May 27, 2014). "New York's Hologram King Is Also the City's Last Pro Holographer" – via www.thedailybeast.com.
  9. ^ Lowry, Brian (1995). The Truth is Out There: The Official Guide to the X-Files. Harper Prism. pp. 219–221. ISBN 0-06-105330-9.
  10. ^ a b Klosterman, Chuck (July 12, 2011). "Bad Decisions". Grantland. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  11. ^ Bowles, Scott (July 13, 2011). "'Breaking Bad' Shows Man at His Worst in Season 4". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
  12. ^ "Vince Gilligan Talks 'Breaking Bad' Beginnings, 'Weeds'". Huffington Post. July 17, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  13. ^ "2012 Writers Guild Awards Winners Announced". wga.org. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  14. ^ "2013 WGA Awards Winners Complete List". time.com. February 18, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  15. ^ "WGA Awards 2014 Winners Complete List". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  16. ^ "66th Annual DGA Awards". dga.org. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
  17. ^ Arons, Rachel (September 12, 2013). "Better Call Saul! Breaking Bad's Spinoff Series". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  18. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (February 9, 2015). "'The Walking Dead' Returns to 15.6 Million Viewers + 'Better Call Saul' is Biggest Series Premiere in Cable History". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on February 10, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  19. ^ Birnbaum, Debra (April 5, 2017). "'Better Call Saul's' 'Breaking' Point: How It's Gearing Up for Gus Fring". Variety. Archived from the original on July 22, 2020. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  20. ^ Grant, Drew (October 4, 2018). "'Better Call Saul' 4x9 Recap: So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu". Forbes. New York, NY. Archived from the original on February 19, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  21. ^ Schneider, Michael (April 6, 2020). "'Better Call Saul' Co-Creator Vince Gilligan on Directing the Most Challenging Episode of His Career". Variety. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  22. ^ Schneider, Michael (April 21, 2020). "Better Call Saul Co-Creator Peter Gould on That Explosive Season Finale and How Kim May Be Breaking Bad". Variety. Archived from the original on April 22, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  23. ^ "'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan Staying at Sony TV With New Three-Year Deal". thewrap.com. July 16, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  24. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 12, 2021). "Vince Gilligan Inks New Four-Year Overall Deal With Sony Pictures Television". Deadline. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  25. ^ Farokhmanesh, Megan (November 7, 2018). "Vince Gilligan is writing a Breaking Bad sequel film starring Aaron Paul". The Verge. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  26. ^ Grobar, Matt (August 18, 2020). "'Better Call Saul' EP Melissa Bernstein On 'Legal Ethics' Short-Form Series, "Sewing Up" Saul Goodman's Story & Getting "Complicated Show" Back On Set Amidst Pandemic". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  27. ^ White, Peter (August 10, 2022). "Vince Gilligan Says 'Better Call Saul' Will Be Last Show In 'Breaking Bad' Universe: "You Can't Keep Putting All Your Money On Red 21" – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 10, 2022.
  28. ^ Carter, Bill (September 25, 2013). "'Breaking Bad' Creator Gilligan in Deal for CBS Show, 'Battle Creek'". The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
  29. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (December 5, 2014). "CBS Announces March Premiere Dates for 'Battle Creek' and 'CSI: Cyber'". Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  30. ^ "CBS Cancels Vince Gilligan's 'Battle Creek,' 'Stalker'". The Hollywood Reporter. May 8, 2015.
  31. ^ Boone, Christopher (October 28, 2013). "Vince Gilligan: From Breaking In to 'Breaking Bad' at the 20th Austin Film Festival". No Film School. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  32. ^ Cieply, Michael (May 4, 2008). "A Man of Steel With Feet of Clay". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
  33. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (March 12, 2014). "'Breaking Bad' Creator Vince Gilligan's Next Project: An Appearance on 'Community'". ArtsBeat. The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  34. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 10, 2022). "Vince Gilligan Prepping New Series; 'Better Call Saul' Followup About To Hit TV Marketplace With A Bang". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 10, 2022.
  35. ^ "Vince Gilligan's Next Series Starring Rhea Seehorn Lands at Apple TV+ with Two-Season Order". September 22, 2022.
  36. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (September 9, 2016). "Jonestown Drama From Vince Gilligan, Octavia Spencer and Michelle MacLaren Set at HBO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 17, 2024.
  37. ^ Keene, Allison (July 2, 2018). "'Better Call Saul': Vince Gilligan on Season 4's 'Breaking Bad' Connections". Collider. Retrieved January 17, 2024.
  38. ^ Broadbent, Eric (August 5, 2022). "Inside The Gilliverse - S3E15 Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould - Concluding BCS". YouTube (Podcast). Event occurs at 10:47. Retrieved August 7, 2022.