‘Breaking Bad’: Anna Gunn Reveals the Hardest Scene She Ever Filmed: I ‘Just Exploded’
Actress Anna Gunn is best known for her role as Skyler White in Breaking Bad. Playing the wife of the main character, Walter White, her character arc takes viewers on a roller coaster of drama. Through it all, Skyler tries to protect her kids from danger. This motivation eventually called for Gunn to film an incredibly difficult scene that became a part of the Breaking Bad episode, “Ozymandias.”
Skyler White was the most hated character on ‘Breaking Bad’
Unfortunately, Skyler White was not a beloved character. Many fans disliked her due to her reasonable stance on her husband’s choice. Fans wanted Walter to be the hero. They began hating Skyler for standing in his way. “It was very bizarre and confusing to us all,” Gunn told Entertainment Weekly.
She explained that the dislike involved sexism, gender roles, and how the show was constructed. “People did find a hero in Walt, but they wanted so much to connect with him so viscerally that to see the person who often was his antagonist — therefore the show’s antagonist in a way — they felt like she was in the way of him doing whatever he wanted to do, and that he should be allowed to do what he wanted to do.”
Gunn’s dynamic acting career
Gunn worked in a theater in Chicago for a few years before landing TV and film roles, according to IMDb. She got her first significant role as Arden in 29 episodes of Down the Shore in 1992. Gunn also appeared in Seinfeld and NYPD Blue until the late ’90s. Then, she was cast in a recurring role as Jean Ward in The Practice.
In the mid-2000’s she played Martha Bullock in Deadwood for two seasons. Gunn has been featured in several other films, including Nobody’s Baby (2001), Enemy of the State (1998), Without Evidence (1995), Red State (2011), Little Red Wagon (2012), Sassy Pants (2012), Equity (2016), Sully (2016), Being Frank (2018) and El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019).
As Skyler in Breaking Bad, Anna won several awards, including the 2014 Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, a 2012 Critics’ Choice nomination for Best Supporting Actress by the Broadcast Television Journalist Association, and a SAG nomination for Best Ensemble Cast (2013). She also won AFI Awards in 2008 and 2011.
The most challenging scene Anna Gunn filmed
Many critics and fans believe that Breaking Bad season five, episode 15, called “Ozymandias,” is one of the greatest in TV history. Walter goes home to pack up his things, and then Skyler arrives with the kids and is confused to see Walter. He grabs a knife, they have a physical altercation, and Skyler slices Walter’s hand in an attempt to protect the kids. In the dramatic moment, Walter Jr. calls the police.
Then, Walter takes their daughter, Holly, and drives away. Skyler runs down the street after him, covered in blood and screaming. Gunn rehearsed the choreography of the fight, and when shot, she nailed it. It was clearly an exhausting scene physically and emotionally.
Gunn explained to the Hollywood Reporter, “We shot the fight scene on our studio set in Albuquerque, [but] the part when Walter takes baby Holly and runs out to drive away, we filmed on location in a nearby residential neighborhood.” It began raining, and then the rain turned to snow. So Gunn had to wait for a long time before they could shoot. She explained:
“There was very specific timing to the scene, and specific places for me to stop, so I had to deal with this contrast of having to give in to the emotion of the scene but also to the technical aspects of what I had to do. And I remember the first time I came out of the house, it seemed like there were 100 people out there just as onlookers, which I didn’t expect. Plus, we were running late and coming up on lunch for the crew. I remember feeling like, ‘Oh God! This is a lot of pressure!'”
Gunn says she did the first take, and then the director asked how she was feeling. “I told him I just felt a little blocked at that moment, and he told me not to worry about anything else going on and take as much time as I needed. So my second take just exploded.” While watching “Ozymandias,” viewers can feel Gunn’s panic, anger, and fear. “It became a day that will remain at the forefront of my mind as one of the richest moments I’ve ever had as an actor,” she told the Hollywood Reporter.