Ailing California teen Kevin Cordasco shushed anyone who dared to speak whenever he watched his beloved Breaking Bad from his hospital bed.
And on Sunday night, his family is convinced, he was watching the long-awaited final season’s opener in his own way, from somewhere, and acknowledged the nod to their astute young superfan.
The critically acclaimed AMC series dedicated Sunday’s episode to Cordasco, who, at age 16, died in March after a seven-year battle with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer.
Before his death, the Calabasas, Calif., teen had befriended star Bryan Cranston, show creator Vince Gilligan and others affiliated with the show, who knew they needed to do something to memorialize the preternaturally wise teen, whose insights even contributed to a new plot-line this season.
“It was just heartwarming,” Kevin’s mom, Melodie Cordasco, told the Los Angeles Daily News about the episode dedication on Sunday. “I know my son was sitting there, watching it [saying], ‘Mom, Look, I made it!’ It was overwhelming – the feeling, the love and support.”
Kevin’s introduction to the Breaking Bad family happened last September, when series star Bryan Cranston and his wife visited the teen in the hospital for three hours after learning about his condition via emails originating from the teen’s godmother, who has connections to the entertainment industry.
Kevin “loved Bryan because he was real,” Melodie Cordasco told the News. “He’s loving and kind. He was just a great guy to Kevin. Every time Kevin would email him, Bryan Cranston within half an hour would respond back to Kevin.”
The meeting was a dream come true for Kevin, who felt a connection to Walter White, Cranston’s character on the show.
“Bryan Cranston is diagnosed with what could have been a terminal illness, a cancer in the first episode,” said Kevin’s father, also named Kevin Cordasco. “He then began to live his life. I think that Kevin connected with that character, moving forward and never looking back, never asking why … [Kevin] didn’t let his cancer stop him from doing anything.”
Kevin clearly also made an impact on Cranston, who persuaded show creator Vince Gilligan to visit Kevin in October. Later, Cranston returned with costars Bob Odenkirk and Anna Gunn. The teen also spent about five hours with the writers.
One chat Kevin had with Gilligan went on to influence a plot twist on the show, confirmed executive producer Melissa Bernstein, who refused to divulge what it was, for fear of a spoiler.
And while the show also invited Kevin to join them in New Mexico for filming in February, he was too sick to travel. The writers then offered him a chance to read the script for the show finale, provided he signed a confidentiality agreement. Only Kevin declined, in part because he worried he might blab.
Still, the opportunity to get close to the people on the show “meant the world to him; they have no idea how they impacted my son,” Melodie Cordasco said. “He talked about it all the time,” and on her son’s bucket list, she said, “was to meet Breaking Bad.”