Meet Walter Blanco, the main character of Spanish-language Breaking Bad remake Metastasis.
It seems like forever ago that Breaking Bad ended, and Walter White concluded one of the best series of all time by (spoiler redacted), leaving the routinely tortured Jesse Pinkman to finally (spoiler redacted). For those of us who fiend after all things Breaking Bad like a desert junkie jonesing for a fix of the ABQ, the only thing we got to look forward to stateside is the Better Call Saul spin-off—and that still feels like it's eons away (it's scheduled to debut in November).
Last week, Univision premiered the Spanish-language Breaking Bad remake Metastasis, a very faithful adaptation that's set in Colombia and follows the comings and goings of one Walter Blanco, played by Diego Trujillo. Robert Urbina portrays the Jesse Pinkman of Colombia, Jose Miguel Rosas. The details are largely the same, save for a few cultural differences like the RV being swapped for a school bus, and Saul hosting a late-night legal talk show as opposed to starring in the Southwest's worst commercials.
Like the valuable formula at the center of Blue Sky, though, this sort of international repackaging is sure to be a hit wherever it travels. Since the World Cup has already got us thinking about all the different countries in the world, let's take a look at what a handful of those other foreign iterations of the AMC drama might look like…
The States have been remaking British shows for ages, so it’s time to give something back to our friends across the pond. Set in the mean streets of Manchester, Knackered would follow cancer-stricken secondary school teacher Walter White III (Rowan Atkinson, Black Adder) as he navigates the limits of the National Health Service, forcing him to turn to a life of British crime. Crystal meth isn’t as popular in the U.K., so White and his cohort Jesse Nigel Pinkmanshire (Andrew Garfield, Sugar Riding) will have to set their sights on "mephedrone" instead. Everything else is pretty much the same, except there's way more use of the word "cuppa." Also since Britain has no native tortoises, Tortuga's head bomb will be transported via "dormouse." Other than that, though, sounds bloody brilliant, yeah?
India boasts the third largest television industry in the WORLD, with that number sure to rise once the U.S. burns all up into radioactive ashes. Luckily those of us who survive the fallout and start pirating cable from India will have Pahad tut Padna (which roughly translates to "To Get into Big Trouble") to carry the torch. This rendition features repressed family man Wajid Safeda (Ajay Devgan) capering about the city of Jamshedpur with young Jaabir Pinkman (Karan Wahi, who audiences might know as Dr. Armaan Mallik from the medical soap Dill Mill Gayye). Together, the unlikely duo fends off the advances of the ruthless owner of a tandoori chicken restaurant chain, among other tense adventures with the even more ruthless cartels of Pakistan. And for fans of standup comedy, look out for a cameo by Kapil Sharma as the fast-talking ambulance-chasing lawyer, Saul Gupta.
Ghana cable provider DStv recently answered the cries of the people this past fall, by airing Breaking Bad's final episodes alongside American scheduling. Certainly the proud nation of Ghana could go a step further and cook up its own “Ghollywood” version of the Southwestern saga. Enter Ghanaian adaptation "Wa Bo Dam"—which in Twi means “You’ve Gone Mad.” This import would follow local teacher Walter Wayo (John Dumelo, Baby Thief) and Jesse Poku (Agya Koo, star of such films as Obaatanpa, Black Star, and Ma Trick Wo) as they take the drug trade of Kumasi by storm—proving true the famous Ashanti proverb, that “Only when you have crossed the river, can you say the crocodile has a lump on his snout.”
The Democratic Republic of North Korea could certainly relate to the theme of corruptive power, and who better to play the main role than admitted Breaking Bad superfan, Supreme Leader/grandscale psychopath Kim Jong-un? Of course, as is the case with any overseas adaptation, a few minor changes will have to be made in order to account for cultural differences. For one, the Supreme Leader cannot be portrayed in such a tragic light, and so the story of "Walter Yoon" will be one of a chemistry teacher who easily defeats cancer—a disease that weak and puny Westerners succumb to daily—in the opening seconds of the series. From there, Yoon teams up with a devout and enlightened member of the Socialist Youth League named Jesse Pak (also played by Kim Jong-un), as the unlikely duo protects their nation from the pig poison of capitalist outsiders, all from the INSIDE of a superior Pyeounghwa Samchunri minivan!
While technically not a “country,” the galaxy plays host to all manner of potential extraterrestrial life forms. Who knows which ones are intercepting our broadcasts? Who knows which ones are Bryan Cranston fans? Recently, AMC received a coded message from the furthest reaches of the cosmos complimenting the network on its expertly crafted saga of a family man who became a drug kingpin. Even crazier, the message went on to suggest an “out of this world” take on the tale of Heisenberg. Set in the Alpha Centauri star system, Quarxing Zilnon would follow mild-mannered chemistry teacher Ogpleem White (played by some kind of organism known as a “Bawa-Doon”) who must cook space-meth to battle mounting medical bills and fend off investigations by his brother-in-law and DEA Agent, Hank Schrader (apparently portrayed by a highly advanced “Dean Norrisbot”). Hmm, we'll wait for the DVDs on this one.
In any case, here’s a trailer for Metastasis, in case you missed it:
Your turn: What international Breaking Bad remakes could see happening?
AIRED ON 9/29/2013
Season 5 : Episode 16