‘Breaking Bad’ Actor Shares Touching Fan Interaction Inspired by Jane Margolis’ Overdose Scene
The AMC drama Breaking Bad is filled with touching moments. While the series is mostly about Walter White becoming a drug kingpin to make a lot of cash, there are subthemes throughout dealing with family, friendship, betrayal, and the negative effects of drugs, to name a few.
One of the hardest scenes both to film and to watch on Breaking Bad was Jane Margolis’ overdose. Many Breaking Bad fans saw this moment as a real turning point for Walter White as he indirectly contributed to her death. And Walt wasn’t the only one moved by that moment.
Jane’s death on ‘Breaking Bad’ was a difficult scene to film
Bryan Cranston is a professional actor who’s used to controlling his emotions for difficult scenes. But even he came undone while watching Jesse’s girlfriend Jane (Krysten Ritter) pretend to overdose right in front of him.
The scene happens during season 2 episode 12, “Phoenix.” Walt witnesses Jane overdosing on heroin and choking on her own vomit. His first instinct is to save her life but, thinking of what he could gain by her death, Walt instead watched her die and didn’t intervene.
Cranston later told IndieWire that he pictured Ritter as his own daughter.
“In a split second [Krysten’s] face lost all characteristics, and out of that came the face of my real daughter choking to death,” Cranston said. After the cameras stopped rolling, the actor broke down.
“I’m a weeping mess,” he continued. “Fortunately, you have your family around you, and I went to Anna Gunn [Skyler White] and she held me.”
Fans were moved by Jane’s storyline on ‘Breaking Bad’
Walter White wasn’t too torn up over Jane’s death on the show, but her father certainly was. Shortly after she overdosed, Donald Margolis (John de Lancie), suffered a mental breakdown at work as an air traffic controller and caused a plane crash.
And that scene resonated with one young fan who saw similarities between Jane’s story and his own. While speaking with Variety, de Lancie recalled how the fan approached him to share that personal connection.
“…Just imagine a 22-year-old, shy, kind of strung-out kid who comes up to me and says, ‘Hey, are you Jane’s father?’ And I go, ‘Uh yeah.’ And he’s looking at me kind of askance, and he goes, ‘Yeah, well, now I guess I know what my parents went through,’” the Breaking Bad alum recalled.
“I’m sure his parents did everything to try to keep him from, you know — ‘Please, you can’t keep on doing this, you’re going to ruin your life.’ And he couldn’t hear any of it, but he could be affected when he saw it in a story. So I’m really happy to have played that role.”
‘Breaking Bad’ excelled at conveying true human emotion
Most of the situations on Breaking Bad are beyond the realm of what people will experience in their everyday lives. But the emotions behind the drama are all too real, which is part of what made the drama so popular.
Ritter also recalls being moved by her character’s death, which came as a big surprise for her. She told People TV’s Couch Surfing, “It wasn’t really until we were shooting it that the whole death around the character hit me. So, I knew I was gonna die. I’m reading the script, I’m like, ‘Cool, rock and roll, she dies. So fun!'”
She went on, “But then you’re doing it … and you’re in this death makeup; they built a cast for my chest so that Aaron Paul can really be pounding on my chest. And then Bryan, after the take, you just see him sitting quietly in the corner. It was intense, and I will never forget it.”