Steven Seagal Called Me a Faggot and All I Got Was This Job on ‘Breaking Bad’

A job on "Breaking Bad" leads to remarkable sugarskull art - Pyragraph

“Breaking Bad” art by Michael Flowers.

I wrote my first screenplay for a New Mexico film festival about 10 years ago. The deal was to write a 10-minute script and submit it for review to Flicks on 66 (which eventually morphed into the Duke City Shoot-Out). The festival judges would choose seven of the screenplays and enable those writers to make a film by giving them a crew, cameras, lighting and other equipment, and an evening on the silver screen. If your screenplay was chosen, you had seven days to shoot, edit, score and package it for public consumption.

Surprise! Mine was chosen for competition. It was called Babof. An acronym for Big Ass Ball of Fire.

I don’t remember the exact count, but to my surprise and bewilderment, we won something like eight of the 10 available awards—including Audience Favorite! I was stunned, blissed-out and officially bitten by the movie bug. That was a nutty week and I learned my first and most important lesson:

The film world is fast, it’s crazy, and it’s no place for sissies.

Babof, Part One “Suicide”

Babof, Part Two “Alchemy”

Babof, Part Three “Waltz for the Undead”

So I applied for admission to the film union (IATSE Local 480) and soon found myself on the set of The Longest Yard, starring Adam Sandler. For the first three days I crawled around the perimeter of a football field with a box knife and a laser, making sure the edges and corners were perfectly straight for a fly-over shot. It was then that I realized the true meaning of the word “detail.”

A few years later, I was the on-set dresser for a Steven Seagal film. YIKES! I went into it feeling pretty great. It was right after the holidays, my belly was full of cake and turkey and I was ready to take on the world! I worked in the film industry! COOL!!!

I was into dyeing my hair pink and blue and occasionally I’d throw in a little chenille chicken or a feather, or maybe a lily…whatever felt right for the upcoming scene. Mr. Seagal was not amused.

When I walked onto the set one day, he looked at me dead serious and said, “Sony doesn’t like faggots on the set.”

Wait…what???? Did he just say that????

My reactionary little homo heart simply couldn’t contain itself. It just came right out of me:

“Well apparently they’ve got an open-door policy for assholes!!!”

I never saw Steven Seagal again. It’s probably best, we were clearly incompatible.

I learned another lesson: Hollywood can be ugly (even in New Mexico); it’s full of ego and superiority. Don’t get caught up in it.

After a few more years of production and self-discovery, I started working on a little unknown TV show being shot in Albuquerque. The production designer told me we were about to “make history.” OK. I’m down. I couldn’t possibly see how a TV show could make history…but sure, let’s do it!

Breaking Bad,” that little show, would indeed go on to make history and completely change the face of American television. And my life.

Every script was better than the last. Every set was nastier and uglier and bigger and sexier. I quickly realized, it is a hell of a lot more difficult to make a room look shitty than it is to make it pretty!

I was given the chance to head the Set Decoration Department. I knew it would be tough; television production is super fast-paced, but I accepted the position. It’s not unusual to need four or five new sets in one day. INSANE! The pressure to be better and faster grew with each season as it got more and more popular and the story got bigger and bigger. I got my ass kicked many times, but I didn’t care! I was in love! I still am!

As many of you may know, we won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series last weekend and the series finale is this Sunday.

So hang on to your ass. My ride on “Breaking Bad” is done, and this Sunday night…it’s your turn.

IT’S HUGE!!! You’re gonna love it, I promise! Almost as much as I do.

Want to hear more stories about Michael’s early days on “Breaking Bad”? Listen to our first PyraCast!

Michael Flowers on the "Breaking Bad" set - Pyragraph

“Breaking Bad” art by Michael Flowers.

Michael Flowers

About Michael Flowers

Michael Flowers is an artist/filmmaker. He was Miss Gay Dallas/Ft. Worth in 1985, created jewelry for the Gallery of Wearable Art in New York City and worked part-time delivering singing telegrams dressed as a pink gorilla. With two decades of multi-media installations in galleries hither and yon, he is now a set decorator for the film industry. He created sets for the Emmy-winning Outstanding Drama series “Breaking Bad” for five years.

He is currently writing/directing a feature length animated spectacle called Blue Lady…and he is probably in love with you.

11 Comments

  1. Tolpiyine Simbola on September 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Awesome story and job Michael!! It was a real pleasure and honor to work with you on Set Dec for the best show in history. Really enjoyed watching the world fall in love with it and seeing what it has become today. Hope to run in and work with you again someday! Also, try not to cry too much on Sunday!! Haha thanks again – Tolpiyine.

  2. Michael Flowers on September 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Hey!!! it was amazing right? and well done!!!! BRAVO to Bad Breakers! This Sunday night shall be EPIC and I can’t wait to watch the people freak on it!!!

  3. Alexandra Gjurasic on September 27, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Now I’m frickin’ FREAKING!!!

  4. Michael Flowers on September 27, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    LOL!!

  5. Anthony DellaFlora on September 27, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks to the shout out to the Duke City Shootout. In the 10 years of the festival, there was not a movie remotely like “Babof.” Truly one of a kind, like you, Mr. Flowers.

  6. Miss Kitty on September 28, 2013 at 4:26 am

    Take that, Susana! All best to you, Michael. It is a great thing that happened here.

  7. Kat on September 29, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Segal is was and ever shall be a giant asshole.

  8. everettecartoons on October 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I DIG the Breaking Bad skull -n-flowers art!

  9. Banish Your Itty-Bitty Shitty Committee | Pyragraph on November 15, 2013 at 9:01 am

    […] excuse to stop writing—calling my mom, getting almonds from the kitchen, watching an episode of “Breaking Bad”. But leaving kills my focus and I feel even crappier later, after I’ve wasted the […]

  10. Curtis Bronner on February 26, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Hey Flowers, great piece…and I am talking about your article:) What a great comeback to Seagal. He and I didn’t actually get off to a rip roaring start either. Eventually we got along, but yes he can be a major douche! Hope things are well brother, see you around!

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