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How did 'Breaking Bad' make that melted face?

The special-effects crew from zombie show "The Walking Dead" helper create the gruesome image.
/ Source: Reuters

Beware of major spoilers ahead if you haven't seen Sunday's "Breaking Bad" season four finale.

So, wow, that happened. One of the best characters on TV, Giancarlo Esposito's meticulous drug lord Gus Fring, bit the dust in an explosion that left half his face MIA.

The scene: Gus emerged from Tio's room, straightened his tie and, for a moment, appeared to have survived the suicide bomb planted in Tio's wheelchair -- until the camera panned in on the right side of Gus' face, or rather, what used to be the right side of Gus' face. It was no longer there, and the audience could finally see directly into the devious brain of Gustavo Fring.

Turns out that wasn't just the fine work of the "Breaking Bad" crew, but the fine work of the "Walking Dead" crew, too. "Bad" creator Vince Gilligan told the New York Times the special effects crew from fellow AMC series "Walking Dead" teamed with the "Breaking Bad" crew to work for months on that one scene.

Gilligan said a 3D sculpture was digitally melded to the film to allow viewers to "actually see into and through Gus's head in that final reveal. It's a combination of great makeup and great visual effects."

"That one shot where the explosion happens, and then you dolly in on Gus, is actually two shots: the explosion happened in one take, and then the shot revealing Gus -- it took me 19 takes to get it right," Gilligan said. "The big, bravura part of the effect is obviously Gus's face, what's left of it, but to me it's just as amazing how the visual effects guys married the two shots together so that there's literally no seam between. There's smoke, but you don't see the cut in between. It's just amazing what they're capable of doing these days."

Entertainment Weekly has the image: Warning, it's graphic

Gilligan also said if negotiations between AMC and Sony (which produces "Breaking Bad") hadn't worked out earlier this summer for "Bad" to return for a fifth season, he would have been satisfied with the episode ending the series.

"We wanted to make the end of season four as satisfying and as complete as possible, not knowing what the future would hold -- if the show had not gone on past the end of season four -- I think I could be satisfied on some level, by that episode."

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