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Interview

The Breaking Bad Interviews: Betsy Brandt and RJ Mitte
Marie Schrader and Walter Jr. on Bryan Cranston impersonations and more

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Warning: Contains spoilers for seasons 1 to 5A.

The Breaking Bad Interviews: Betsy Brandt and RJ Mitte

How much does Flynn know now?
RJ Mitte: It started in Season 5 when he gets in the altercation with his dad in the doorway. Everyone knows everything and people are talking around him, but no-one is talking to him and I think that's what had been building and building. So it's not that he knows, but he has an idea and it's definitely interesting to see what his ideas are and what his conclusion will be.

What are your thoughts on Seasons 3 and 4?
Betsy Brandt: I felt that Season 3 was our big trajectory season. It was a pretty phenomenal season. Listen, 1 and 2 were amazing, every year I feel like I say, 'How is this going to get better?' And it always does and I don't know how they do it but they do, the writers. Season 3 and 4 were really good seasons.

Mitte: 3 was definitely interesting because of everything that happened with me and all. 3 was a transitioning point because a lot of people were just now tuning in, around 3 and 4, and a lot of people have now seen 3 and thought, 'Oh my god, now we have to catch up.'

Brandt: 3 is when the shit hits the fan.

Mitte: (Laughs) Yeah!

Brandt: The audience were like, 'Okay, so this guy is a teacher and he cooks meth too. Well, that's a little sticky but okay, all right.' And then in 3, it's like... boom! And then I feel like we've stayed up there the entire time but I don't think we're going to stay there. Every time I get a script for this season I'm beside myself. And I know you are too RJ, because you make me read them to you over the phone, and act them out, but we're not meant to.

Mitte: I do, I call her. We're not supposed to act them out and we're not suppose to act out each other's roles but I definitely love to see Betsy's interpretation of Bryan. And Walt, she has a great Walt. But I'm really looking forward to this season, after 3 we did stay up there, and this next season is just insane. I just read episode 13 and... 'Oh my god.'

Brandt: Every day I'm at work, when we're done I cry because - and I hope this isn't giving anything away - but my character, she doesn't let it out, she holds it in, which I think is more interesting and the right choice for her, but for me as a person, I don't want to go home like that. I don't even want to go to the bar afterwards like that so I have to just have a minute and let it out and then I can let go of Marie and carry on.

But these scenes, these scenes... I had a scene the other day with one character, I will not say who, and I said, 'Can I hug you because I hate looking you in the eye and saying those things to you.' And then once the scene was over I could cry and hug them. It's really intense. I can't believe we're at this place in the story, you know? I knew we'd come here eventually but we're really in it now.

Mitte: It's a little scary. There was always escalation; always growing and so much happened in Season 4. I was like, 'How are going to be able to top this? How are we going to be able to keep moving forward?' And I read the first episode this season and I was just like... 'Done.'

Brandt: But we're aware that we've been spoilt. As sad as I am to leave this family, again, I refer to the crying after working right now, but Vince always said this wasn't going to go past three seasons so to me, the fact that we had four, five and even two parts to five is just like icing on this amazing cake.

How much comedy can we expect in the final half of the final season?
Brandt:
I used to describe Breaking Bad as a dark comedy and I now it's a dark, dark, dark, daaark comedy.
It's funny, because I used to describe Breaking Bad as a dark comedy and I now it's a dark, dark, dark, daaark comedy. There's still a little.

Mitte: There's still humour.

Brandt: Is 5 our funniest season? Probably not. (Laughs)

How do you think Marie would have reacted if she were in Skylar's position?
Brandt: Hmm. They're different. The first thing is, she would say 'Well, Hank would never do that.' But she would always be behind him. I think when he was diagnosed, when Walt was diagnosed with cancer, I think there right off the bat, those two sisters talked about it and just handled it differently. I think Marie would have handled it differently if that had been her husband. Like it's his choice, he can do what he wants, my job is just to support him.

Mitte: I could see you in the lab.

Brandt: (Laughs) I wasn't expecting you to say that! They're very different, the two of them. Which I love.

What notes did Vince give you during the audition process?
Brandt: It's funny because Vince was always very protective of Marie from the beginning and I love that from him because even in the audition he would use the term 'needles'. He said, 'She just needles her sister, she needles her.'

And I was like, 'Man, the things I did to my sister when I was younger!' We're very close, it's amazing she even still talks to me! And I was like, 'Oh, I love that, how fun is that?' But they're just so different and Marie's not a bitch, she's just a difficult person. That's how I've always described her. She's difficult. Could I take a vacation with her? Probably not.

Actually, we did these promotional, art department pictures during the pilot with the couples, so it was Walt and Skylar together and Dean and Marie together. They were going to Photoshop us all into one image afterwards. It was supposed to be in Mexico on a vacation, the four of us, and I said to Dean before they started shooting us, 'So we're drunk right? We're those people. We're loud and we're drunk.' And then I also said, 'I'm glad we're part of this couple and not that couple, there's no good coming down the road for them!' Imagine that holiday.

RJ, are excited or scared about having your last breakfast?
Mitte: I love it that you put it like that. I'm both. I'm really excited to see how everything's playing out. I'm a big ending fanatic. I don't care if the movie had a horrible beginning or a horrible middle: if it had a decent ending, I'm excited. I will tell someone to go watch it. But with Breaking Bad it's been amazing from the beginning and I'm so excited to see this ending because I've been excited from the pilot to see how this was going to end because it's not going to end well.

You don't want it to fade to black in a cafe, then?
Mitte: He wakes up out of the dream; it's all a dream. He wakes up as a 14 year-old boy (laughs). I think this ending is going to be outstanding.

Brandt: We don't know what it is.

Mitte: We haven't gotten to the ending yet. We're only halfway.

Brandt: I think they're just finishing it now. In fact, Vince did not come to the SAG awards because they were finishing the last two episodes. I emailed him and said, 'Last two episodes? Is the show ending? What do you mean last two episodes! I'm calling my agent about this! We'll see, last two episodes!'

The Breaking Bad Interviews: Betsy Brandt and RJ Mitte

Is there any chance we can hear some of your Walt impression, Betsy?
Brandt: I did do my Walt once when we were doing ADR. Bryan was there and he had a phone call because he was going to be on the Leno show and so they had his stuff up to loop and so I did my voice coming out of his mouth. I've done that to [Bob] Odenkirk too. It's a different way to go. (Laughs) I'm not going to lie, I was surprised that Vince didn't ask me to do that all the time!

That 'Shut up, shut up, shut up' moment - as an actor was that freeing for you?
Brandt:
I emailed Vince and said 'Last two episodes? Is the show ending? What do you mean last two episodes! I'm calling my agent about this!'
When Skyler yelled, 'Shut up, shut up!' at me? You know, it's funny, I thought it said a lot about their relationship. It was really fun to shoot that. Anna (Gunn) and I had a good time. She had to do what she had to do and I had to do what I had to do.

We stuck with the lines for the most part. Usually I try to stick verbatim to the page, but I thought that because it's a heated argument, I didn't know how it was going to go. That's what it's like when you have those kind of things come out, sometimes it works and sometimes you think, 'Don't ever say that again.'

I tweeted after it aired, 'Maybe Skyler didn't like her salad. Dressing on the side next time, maybe?' Then after that I was able to be really concerned for her. When she goes into the pool and no-one saw that coming, and I thought I did because she just freaked out on me in the car wash. So it was a great gift for the writers to give me that, it was great for me as an actor, so it's not just out of nowhere. What is she doing over there by the water? I mean, obviously, she's concerned and has one eye out. [You do] when somebody you love is acting funny.

Do you have any mementos that you're planning on taking home?
Brandt: The big purple shag rug. Also, the portrait of me in my big purple wedding dress that hangs above the fireplace in the living room. I don't really know what to do with it but I can't just leave it behind.

Mitte: My crutches. And every year for the last year I've been taking the backs of my chairs. I have all the backs of my chairs. It has my name, it has Breaking Bad on the back. I have them framed. As soon as it gets done I'm going to steal the crutches. Even if they tell me not to, I'm taking those crutches. I spent way too many hours on them.

Brandt: I love that Marie has a purple coffee maker, but I can't let go of my Keurig, so even if I took the coffee maker I wouldn't use it and that just seems wasteful. I might just go crazy and steal a bunch of stuff. And I would tell them RJ took it.

Mitte: Then they'd come search my house. Two big men would turn up at my door.

Brandt: I think we'd blame it on Bryan actually. We blame Bryan a lot.


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