Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan makes the interesting decision to let his camera linger, 25 minutes into his new film El Camino, on street signs for Holly Avenue and Arroz Road. Do the names of the streets contain some clue about the Breaking Bad universe? No. But they’re very important to the Vince Gilligan universe.
Almost every moviemaker includes the occasional inside joke or grace note for friends and loved ones. As dark and cynical as Breaking Bad can feel at times, Gilligan is apparently an old softie like the rest of us, as the inclusion of the intersection of Holly and Arroz shows.
First: According to this list, there is no Holly and Arroz intersection in Albuquerque, the main setting for El Camino and Breaking Bad. In fact, there doesn’t appear to be any street named Arroz. There is a Holly Avenue.
Holly is the name of Walter White’s young daughter on Breaking Bad. But “Arroz Road” struck us as more noteworthy. Arroz is Spanish for rice, and we wondered if this was some kind of pun involving ricin, the poison Walter White dispatched in Breaking Bad.
But no, the reason for including Holly and Arroz isn’t to remind us of White’s ruthlessness. Holly Rice, it turns out, is Gilligan’s longtime girlfriend.
“He puts her in every script,” Gilligan’s longtime friend Dan Neman told Richmond Magazine in 2011. “Whenever there’s an address mentioned on one of his shows, it’s some old address of hers, it’s part of her phone number, part of her Social Security number. There are always references to her. She is very sweet.” MM