Breaking Bad Q&A: Betsy Brandt on Marie's Purple Reign (2023)

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Skyler's sister talks about Walt, closets, and the slap you hear "all over the world."

"When I readthis pilot," says Betsy Brandt ofBreaking BadThe iconic first episode of: "I told my husband it was the best pilot I've ever read. Then I immediately thought, 'God, I really hope so.Are.’ Not that advertisers are interested in showing their productDiese Meth-Show.” She shouldn't have worried.Breaking BadSails through its last eight episodes on a wave of critical and box office hits, and Brandt's character, Marie Schrader, has become a key player in the battle against Walter White.

Emotional, occasionally kleptomaniac, and always dressed in purple, Marie is frequently berated by those closest to her: her sister Skyler and her husband Hank. (Now say it with us: “Jesus Christ, Marie, you areminerals.") But his cunning and foolishness are only skin deep, masking a deep reserve of empathy and loyalty, which made his brazen argument with Skyler all the more brutal to witness on Sunday's episode.Rolling Stoneduring a costume fitting for her role in this fall's new sitcomMuere Michael J. Fox-ShowBrandt spoke of her decisive figure as a deceased lover: "I miss her. I miss her."

So Marie hit Skyler.
I watched this scene with my husband, which is what I always do: the kids go to bed, so we watchBreaking Bad. But when that scene came, while they were talking in the bedroom and it got more intense, my heart started beating really hard, really fast. I remember telling Anna [Gunn] over and over again howSadit was. I always loved Marie and Skyler's relationship, that buddy-in-war relationship, and that's over. That's gone. It was heartbreaking.

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The slap itself was the sound of the break in that relationship.
Yeah, I think it's great that they chose that. Marie doesn't think about it: "Well, that's worth a slap in the face" - it's just the reaction.

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Specifically, it's a reaction to realizing that Skyler knew what Walt was doing when Hank was shot. She now she has to choose between her sister and her husband.
It's funny: when Hank gets shot, there's a scene in the hospital where Marie is mad at Walt and says, "You had something to do with it! You knew it!" She has a hunch... and then everyone looks at her like she's crazy, and then she watchesherselflike she was crazy. That's not to say that Marie knew everything all along, but it was a small sign that Walt is an amazing criminal, but no criminal is perfect.

It's easy to forget now because her more recent material was so heavy, but Marie was frequently a comic relief character.
Compared to the other jobs I've done in television,Breaking Badit was funny. At first I described it as a black comedy. You and I would. Through the seasons I described it as very, very, very,verydark, dark,DarkComedy. When people ask me: "How are you?Muere Michael J. Fox-Show', I say, 'it's definitely more fun. But even that moment between Marie and Skyler was really funny. Let me tell you, it's been a horrible and exhausting day, but it's also been a great day. I say the same thing about the scene [in an earlier season] when Skyler yells at Marie to shut up. That was a really fun day!

Well, that confrontation lasted for years..
That's exactly what I told Tom Schnauz, who wrote this episode: "We've been waiting for this sceneseasons." Even in that moment, when you were working, there was a feeling of 'Oh my God, this moment is here.

Marie and Skyler's fight over the baby was one of the most agonizing things I've ever seen on TV. I sobbed quite openly.
Filming the one with the babies was easy. . . We used a doll whenever we could, but still, you often shoot that emotional scene with a real child. It's so funny, everyone's like, "Oh, she's trying to steal a baby." I know Marie is a kleptomaniac, but I didn't see it like that. It was like pulling a baby out of a burning building. That's exactly what you do. Marie is trying to get these children out of the house. It is not safe for a baby. she reacted. Thank God Hank said, "Marie, you can't do that." Well, she knows. She knows that she has to listen to him. I also loved that moment. She was just out there, and he's bringing her back to reality.

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Hank and Marie have no children of their own and no family to speak of other than Skyler, Walt, and the kids. Of course, the spark for Marie's attempt to kidnap Holly was finding Walt and Skyler, but it seemed like she and Hank dealt with a lot of unspoken pain in this scene as well.
I think Hank and Marie would love to have those children. I always felt like there's an undercurrent of sadness when you have Skyler and Walt's kids in your house because I think they probably wanted kids and couldn't have them. I don't know if they talked about it or not, if it even got to this point, or it just didn't happen and that was it and they just let it slide. It didn't work that way.

I wanted to talk to you about the color purple.
[laughs] My house in my real life is a non-dwelling area. I say this while trying on something that's periwinkle, which is code for bloody purple.Muere Michael J. Fox-Show. The only request I made is that they don't put so much purple on me. She's just a different person to me. Marie is all about purple. But I loved that. I thought it was great that they did that to her.

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It's hard to hear you talk about the show in the past tense.
I was very, very grateful to have another job, otherwise I would have been depressed. I know it's not very glamorous, but it's true. To have an ending like this is a huge disappointment. I mean we'll see each other, but it's not the same as working together and I'm very aware of that, and not just because I now have a whole new family. I was shooting both shows at the same time for a couple of weeks and I felt like I was fooling everyone.Breaking Bad.

I accept the environmentMuere Michael J. Fox-Showit's a little lighter.
I did this scene in one of my hardest days in [Breaking Bad], for this upcoming episode, which airs on Sunday. I said, "Did we get that scene?" The manager said yes. I started crying and said, "I'm ready to do a comedy." And I got on a plane at four in the morning to go to New York to work on one.

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