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September 4, 2015

Anna Gunn on the 'Breaking Bad' Bombshell

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 22nd 2010 2:02PM
Anna Gunn of 'Breaking Bad'In season two of 'Breaking Bad,' viewers saw Anna Gunn's character of Skyler White go from long-suffering wife of cancer-patient-slash-meth-maker Walter White to a person who is starting to have her own moral dilemmas.

But right at the start of the third season, Skyler's world gets turned upside down. I can't say more without spoiling things, which is why I postponed posting the interview I did with Anna Gunn in January until after the season three premiere aired. Gunn and I talk about the first episode bombshell and how her character reacted. We also talk about what might be in store for Skyler and son Walt Jr. (RJ MItte) in season three.

Our friends at AOL TV also spoke to Gunn recently, if you want to find out more about what's in store for Skyler.

(WARNING: Spoilers of the season three premiere are ahead!)

One of the parallels I've noticed as we go into season three is that Skyler is starting to explore the same moral relativism that Walter's going through.When you saw that developing, were you intrigued by that?

Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think that the intention that Vince has always had is that this is a show about deeply flawed people. And Walter is not, you know, Walter White is not the only one. Certainly, the decision he makes sets off an entire thing. But she starts to struggle, yes. That's an absolutely great way to put it.

Because up until the time Skyler goes back to work at Beneke, she's looked at as like the perfect housewife who's put-upon... and now things are starting to change a little bit.

Yes. (in a deep, gravelly voice) Yeeesssss.

Was it purposeful, then, that midway through the season, we started seeing Skyler with makeup on, and her hair was done, and her pregnancy gifts were out and that kind of stuff?
It was a kind of a team effort in terms of the costume designer, the makeup and hair people, me, and Vince (Gilliagn). I wanted to start seeing Skyler more as her own person, and not always in reaction to Walter. So as we discussed what those things about her personality that are coming more to the forefront, that was part of it.

She started out relatively mousy, drab, big oversized things. She went from being somewhat an invisible person as a lot of housewives are. There's a sense of they make everything run. They're at home and they make everything run, but you never know necessarily all the work that goes into it, that they're the ones keeping that machine running.

And I think that she, as much as Walter at the beginning of the series is frustrated with this, as Bryan called it, a milquetoast-y kind of existence, she is his match in that. She is getting tired of it. She's getting tired of asking him, 'Where are you going, what's going on.' And I think it's her decision, a very conscious decision, to start stepping into a more active role in her own life, actually.

In the panel, Bryan Cranston talked about how everybody doesn't know what's going to happen until they read the script. When you saw what's going to happen the first episode, what were you thinking when you saw that? Were you surprised that he's doing that so soon in that season?
Um, yes, but I've learned not to be surprised about the twists and turns that the story takes, that the storyline takes. And I felt it was a natural thing. She's, from the get-go, such a smart person, she's a savvy person. And she may not be sophisticated in every way, she's not a big city girl, but she's nobody dummy.

You can only keep that character asking "where are you going, where have you been, what are you doing?" for so long before you think well, she's either purposely not finding out, or she just wants to be kept in the dark. Because she's too smart, as they drew her, to do that. So I think the inevitability of that actually, it was surprising the way it came about, because that scene is very, you know, sort of shocking.

And I was actually surprised that Walter would actually go all the way and flat out tell her his secret. Did he just want to save the marriage however he could at that point?
I think so. And I think the fact that he couldn't have imagined that...I don't think he could have imagined that she would actually stumble upon it. I mean, he was ready to tell her, but she was not ready to hear it. But once she stumbles upon the general vicinity of the truth, he knows he can't... You know, what is he going to do? What they're doing is playing poker in that scene. She's looking for his tell, she's waiting. And nobody knows you better than your spouse.

Let me go over to RJ Mitte, who plays Walt Jr. What are we going to see from him coming this season? Is it going to be more of him trying to figure out what's going on between his mom ang dad?

Yeah, actually. As kids do, they're smart, and even if parents try to keep things away from them, conflict and issues and whatnot, kids pick up on what's happening. He doesn't know what's happening, but he knows that there's conflict. And he doesn't know what it's coming from. And he's also getting into his teenage years with whatever rebelliousness he's (going to have).

And is Skyler going to be getting into it more with Beneke?
You know she's back to work with him, but I'm gonna have to leave it for you to see what (happens)...(chuckles)

Well I don't mean back to work with him. You know what I mean.

Yeah, I know what you mean. So you'll see what develops at their workplace.

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