To millions of Americans, Walter White is the meth kingpin played by Bryan Cranston on AMC’s hit series Breaking Bad. But to the people of a rural region of Alabama, Walter White the meth chef was more than just a figure on a weekly drama -- he was a real person with the best product in his area. Sometimes, life really is stranger than fiction.
Vice has put together a 17-minute documentary about the real Walter White – a man who started building his meth empire years before Vince Gilligan started his television series. The short film takes us inside White’s world as he tries to put his life back together with the help of a local Christian organization and awaits trial. If convicted, he could be facing up to life in prison.
The video shows both how accurate – and occasionally inaccurate – Gilligan’s series was. Fictional Walter White used his chemistry background to make the purest meth around. Real-life Walter White just reproduced the recipe some other meth cook in Oklahoma showed him. Fictional Walter White eventually wound up in a state-of-the-art meth lab. Real-life Walter mostly worked in what looks like a tool shed behind a trailer before moving to a bigger location. Of course, real and fictional Walter both made tons of money and spent it lavishly.
The video is an interesting look at the real-life meth business, something some folks felt Breaking Bad glamorized. Of course, one could make the argument that this video comes pretty close to glamorizing the life of a meth cook as well – a scene early on where Walter is greeted by his fellow recovering addicts shouting his name and telling him he’s a legend doesn’t really seem to be sending the message that making meth is a bad thing. Seeing White staring down a life sentence does sort of put things back into perspective, though. Like Breaking Bad, the real-life story of Walter White demonstrates that no one really ever walks away from the drug business with a happy ending.
Watch the video below, and remember kids – just say no to drugs.
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