When it comes to Breaking Bad and El Camino, one character stands out as a totally ruthless psychopath — Todd. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the success of his group’s operations. Even when that means killing an innocent child.
Naturally, the actor who played Todd, Jesse Plemons, is another story. However, according to Plemons, the writers on set were terrified of him. And for the longest time, he had absolutely no idea why. Here’s what went down.
‘Todd’ says the writers were genius
According to Jesse Plemons, the Breaking Bad writers he worked with were incredibly talented, but in many ways, very frustrating. In an interview with Yahoo, Plemons claims that though the writing was outstanding, oftentimes they were provided with only small pieces of information.
“Just reading this script was one of the most stressful reads I’ve ever had,” said Plemons, referencing the scene where he shoots a child after the big train heist. “The writers are just so incredible, and I don’t know, they have a way of dangling little bits of information. Even in the exposition and the stage direction. And you’re just on the edge of your seat.”
“Reading it, you could see it so clearly,” he added.
Plemons and Aaron Paul sat on a couch during the interview, watching the train heist scene. When the moment arrived for Plemons to shoot the child, Plemons joked, “He had it comin’!”
“You psychopath,” joked Paul. “But you know what, you solved the situation!”
Small bits of information
Plemons went on to claim that he was provided very little information when it came to understanding who his character truly was. It seems the Breaking Bad crew only gave him little snippets of what made Todd, Todd.
“All I had to base the character on was a tiny little breakdown that was attached to the scene I auditioned with, which said he was fresh-faced, eager, innocuous, with something to hide. That was all I had. I had this other scene — the first episode where he’s introduced he’s sort of helping out. He gives [Walt] a tip about a camera in the house.”
“And then I get this script, and it was just…holy sh*t. How am I supposed to do this without any understanding of who this guy is,” explained Plemons. And apparently, when he asked for help, that’s when he realized things were perhaps a little amiss.
The writers were scared
When Jesse Plemons went around asking writers to help him flesh out his character a little bit more, he realized that no one wanted to really talk to him.
“I was cornering every writer to try and get something out of them, and no one would say anything, but they would look at me as if I were Todd. They were looking at me, really scared, and I had no idea why,” he explained.
“And then right before we shot that scene I said, Vince, you have to give me something. I have no idea what I’m doing or who this guy is. And he said, ‘You know when you’re driving and a raccoon runs out in front of your car, and if you swerve to the right you run into the ditch, and if you swerve to the left you hit an oncoming car? What do you do?’ And until the second season, that was the foundation of Todd,” said Plemons.
No wonder the writers were terrified.