By Greg Braxton
1:13 PM CDT, July 24, 2013
Meth came to the museum Tuesday night.
"Breaking Bad," the hit AMC drama about a mild-mannered chemistry teacher who gradually evolves into a deadly criminal, was saluted at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with a live reading of the series' pilot script by several guest stars taking on the roles of the series' characters
Jason Reitman, who heads up Film Independent's Live Read series that has previously featured films such as "The Apartment" and "The Princess Bride," directed a witty but respectful performance of the script, which he called "phenomenal."
He was also a bit nervous, because the author, "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan, was in the standing-room-only crowd, along with several stars from the series, including Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn.
Rainn Wilson from "The Office" took on the role of Walter White, the drug kingpin played by Cranson, while Mae Whitman ("Arrested Development") brought a gender-bending flavor in taking on the role of Jesse Pinkman, the tortured junkie played by Paul in the series.
Others in the cast included Chi McBride, Ellie Kemper and Anne Mumolo.
The players sat on the stage with their scripts positioned on music stands for the "cold" reading. Wilson inhabited White with a dry weariness suitable for the downtrodden character, while Whitman injected her Jesse role with a spirited, jerky energy that quickly won over the fans in the theater.
In the pilot script, Walter White learns he has terminal cancer. Rather than tell his family, he partners up with Pinkman to manufacture crystal meth, hoping he'll make enough money to provide for his struggling family after he dies.
The final episodes of "Breaking Bad" start airing Aug. 11.
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