Speaking with Stephen Colbert for a Late Show interview on Monday, Cranston—who, alongside Aaron Paul, will soon revive a certain someone for the final run of Better Call Saul episodes—reflected on the experience of shooting the episode while playfully pushing back against any “Death Bus” assertions.
“Okay, so the team has some fumigation at the office so we have to go on a bus and we set up desks on the bus to be able to continue to do the work,” Cranston said of the episode’s overarching story. “In order to do that—we have all these actors in there—they pulled on a trailer a refrigeration system, an AC system. But what they didn’t plan on, they didn’t think that where the intake for the refrigeration system was was exactly lined up to where the tailpipe of the bus was. So the exhaust of the bus was going right to the intake, cooling it. Because when you breathe in carbon monoxide, you want it cool. The cooler the better.”
All jokes aside, Cranston was quick to credit series star Jenna Fischer as the one who first noticed the potentially tragic circumstances.
“It’s not fair that it’s called ‘Death Bus’ because no one died,” Cranston said. “I’ll admit it was my aim but Jenna Fischer actually saved everyone’s life. She said, ‘I smell exhaust, it’s coming inside the bus.’”
While Cranston didn’t initially believe Fischer, he did once he was able to check on the situation firsthand “and sure enough it was billowing down.”
As for how things could have gone, Cranston joked that it “would have been one hell of an episode,” not to mention a unique premature finale.
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As fans will note, the bus incident also receives attention in Fischer and Angela Kinsey’s recently released book, The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There. “Death Bus” talk started bubbling up last month as fans started to find their way to the book’s twelfth chapter, titled, expectedly, “Death Bus.” In it, per a Mashable report at the time, it was revealed that the episode in question was actually rife with memorable moments of temporary talent annoyance, including an enthusiastic stunt driver who sent the actors “flying into the side” of the bus.