George Vincent "Vince" Gilligan, Jr. (born February 10, 1967) is an American writer, producer, and director. He is known for his television work, specifically being the creator, head writer and executive producer of Breaking Bad, co-creator of The Lone Gunmen, and a writer and producer for The X-Files. He has two upcoming series planned: Battle Creek, a police drama, and Better Call Saul, a Breaking Bad spin-off.
Gilligan was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Gail, a grade school teacher, and George Vincent Gilligan, Sr., an insurance claims adjuster. His parents divorced in 1974 and he and his younger brother, Patrick, were raised in Farmville and Chesterfield County. Growing up, Gilligan became best friends with future film editor and film title designer Angus Wall. His interest in film began when Wall's mother, Jackie, who also taught alongside Gilligan's mother, would lend her Super 8 film cameras to him. He used the camera to make science fiction films with Patrick. One of his first films was entitled Space Wreck, starring his brother in the lead role. One year later, he won first prize for his age group in a film competition at the University of Virginia.
Jackie would take Wall and Gilligan to Richmond and drop them off at Cloverleaf Mall to see films, and encourage both of them to pursue a career in the arts. "I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for Jackie. She was a wonderful lady and a real inspiration," he recalls. Gilligan was recognized for his talents and creativity at an early age. George Sr. described him as a "kind of a studious-type young man, and he liked to read, and he had a vivid imagination". He introduced Gilligan to film noir classics, as well as John Wayne and Clint Eastwood Westerns on late-night television. Gilligan won a scholarship to attend the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts. After eighth grade, he moved back to Chesterfield to attend high school.
Gilligan's big break came when he joined the Fox television drama The X-Files. Gilligan was a fan of the show, and submitted a script to Fox which became the second season episode "Soft Light". He went on to write 29 more episodes, in addition to being co-executive producer of 44 episodes, executive producer of 40, co-producer of 24, and supervising producer of 20. He also co-created and became executive producer of the The X-Files spin-off series The Lone Gunmen. The series only ran for one season of 13 episodes.
Gilligan created, wrote, directed, and produced the AMC drama series Breaking Bad. He created the series with the premise that the hero would become the villain. "Television is historically good at keeping its characters in a self-imposed stasis so that shows can go on for years or even decades," he said. "When I realized this, the logical next step was to think, how can I do a show in which the fundamental drive is toward change?" He added that his goal with Walter White was to turn him from "Mr. Chips into Scarface". While pitching the show to studios, Gilligan was initially discouraged when he learned of the existing series Weeds and its similarities to the premise of Breaking Bad. While his producers convinced him that the show was different enough to still be successful, he later stated that he would not have gone forward with the idea had he known about Weeds earlier.
Breaking Bad received widespread critical acclaim and has been praised by many critics as being among the greatest television dramas of all time. Gilligan has been awarded numerous times for writing, directing, and producing the series. The Writers Guild of America has awarded him four times in straight succession, from 2012 to 2014; three as a part of the Breaking Bad writing team and one individually for writing the episode "Box Cutter". He also received two Primetime Emmys in 2013 and 2014 for producing the show. In 2014, he won the Directors Guild of America Award for directing the finale of Breaking Bad, "Felina".
In September 2013, Sony Pictures Television announced a deal with AMC to produce a Breaking Bad spin-off prequel entitled Better Call Saul. It will focus on character Saul Goodman from the original series, before he became Walter White's lawyer, and will star Bob Odenkirk reprising his role as the title character. Later that same month, Sony announced that it struck a deal with CBS to produce a new television series created by Gilligan entitled Battle Creek, which it anticipates will premiere as part of CBS's Fall 2014 season. Based on a script written by Gilligan ten years prior, the show will follow the partnership of two police detectives who must compete with a seemingly-perfect FBI agent. CBS has ordered thirteen episodes, all of which it has uncharacteristically guaranteed to air.