Betsy Brandt Gushes About Her Favorite ‘Breaking Bad’ Moment — ‘1 of the Best Scenes I’ve Ever Shot in My Life’
It’s tough choosing a favorite scene from Breaking Bad — over five epic seasons, there are plenty of pivotal moments to pick from. But some of the most memorable character interactions aren’t the ones with huge explosions or major drama. Breaking Bad thrived on subtlety and brilliant character development.
Actor Betsy Brandt (Marie Schrader) pointed to one of these understated scenes as her all-time favorites. She said it wasn’t just her favorite Breaking Bad moment, but was also the highlight of her entire acting career so far.
Even secondary characters were important on ‘Breaking Bad’
Breaking Bad told the story of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin. But beyond just the rise of Heisenberg, the show explored multiple other interwoven storylines that became just as important to fans and ultimately helped enhance the main conflict. One of these was about Walt’s family, who both directly and indirectly turned Walt into a monster.
Maybe they didn’t intend to cause harm. But Walt’s sister-in-law Marie Schrader, plus her husband Hank the DEA agent, played a pivotal role in making Walt feel like he had something to prove. One scene that exemplified their tense relationship was the infamous intervention scene from season 1.
The intervention scene marked a turning point for Walter White
During season 1, episode 5 “Gray Matter,” Walt’s entire family gathered in the family living room to try to convince Walt to accept Elliot Schwartz’s money to pay for his cancer treatments. One by one, his family members pass around a “talking pillow” and plead their case. Walt’s sister-in-law Marie is the only person who doesn’t urge him to take the money.
“I think you should do whatever you want to do,” she told Walt.
Even now, Brandt points to this scene as one of the most amazing moments of her acting career. This was partly because of the synergy between castmates.
Betsy Brandt loved the intervention scene on ‘Breaking Bad’
Brandt said during a podcast interview (via Collider),
“And I have to say, this group of actors – the first time I felt like, ‘Oh my god, I could live with them forever,’ was the intervention scene, the talking pillow. I will never forget this day. It was like it was contagious and it just worked so well. It was as if we had been working together for years and rehearsed this. There was just such a rhythm that we had and it was so special and you felt the crew feel it. Everyone was just so excited. I think that was when we were really aware of what this cast was together and it still, to this day, is one of the best scenes I’ve ever shot in my life.”
She continued, explaining how that single scene helped her gain confidence in her acting ability and how to manipulate her craft.
“Honestly, I can remember shooting that scene like I’m watching a movie. I remember the conversations I had with Dean [Norris], all of it. I remember asking for another take. And I was pretty young in my career and so I felt like I shouldn’t do that and Dean was like, ‘Ask for another one.’ And I did, and that was the one that I did everything I wanted to do in those moments and it was great. Dean and I found some humor in there. It’s, to this day, one of the best scenes – I’m sure I’ll say that if you ask me 20 years from now, I’ll bring up that scene.”
Brandt was happy she sided with Walt during the discussion
Looking back, Brandt is happy that her character didn’t insist on Walt taking the money from Elliot. She saw how that decision would play out long term. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Brandt said,
“I saw the future of the show in the way that scene was written. It just crystallized every character. I think it just solidified who Marie was to me. She’s not easy, but she’s not bad. She believes what’s right, and she thought, ‘That’s what was right for Walt. It’s not our decision to make, and even if my sister’s going to be pissed at me, and everyone’s going to disagree and think I’m crazy, I’m going to side with this guy.’”
She went on to describe the scene as “magical” thanks to how it turned out. And Breaking Bad fans agree.