The city's mayor acknowledged the iconic TV show's positive economic impact in New Mexico.
Cranston and Paul were joined by Albuquerque, New Mexico Mayor Tim Keller, other local politicians as well as the AMC hit show's creator Vince Gilligan for Friday's unveiling of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman statues at the city's convention center.
According to The Associated Press, no tax dollars were used to erect these statues. It was commissioned, the news agency reports, by Gilligan and Sony Pictures.
The show had a tremendous run from 2008 to 2013, spawning the hit prequel Better Call Saul. And it's the success of those shows that prompted Keller to acknowledge the show for the positive economic impact it's had in the area that now enjoys a thriving film industry.
"While the stories might be fictional ... jobs are real every single day," Keller said. "The city is also a character. ... We see ourselves in so many ways, good and bad."
Cranston portrays a chemist turned drug kingpin, with Paul's character as his former student turned crystal meth cook and dealer. It wasn't lost on those who attended the unveiling how the show's storyline is a very real problem plaguing New Mexico, which has reportedly had more than 43,000 deaths related to alcohol and drug overdoses in the last three decades.
"In all seriousness, no doubt some folks are going to say, 'Wow, just what our city needed.' And I get that," Gilligan 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."
But not everyone was thrilled with the statues. Republican state Rep. Rod Montoya told The Associated Press he's a fan of the actors but thinks the statues will bring the wrong kind of attention.
"I'm glad New Mexico got the business, but really?" he said. "We're going down the road of literally glorifying meth makers?"
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