Betsy Brandt, who played Marie Schrader on Breaking Bad, said the show has one of the best scenes she’s ever filmed in her career. Breaking Bad ran for five seasons on AMC and followed Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a disillusioned and overqualified high school chemistry teacher, as he teamed up with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to cook crystal meth in order to secure his family’s financial future after being diagnosed with cancer. Widely recognized as one of the greatest TV series ever made, Breaking Bad helped ring in the new Golden Age of Television while further evolving the concept of the antihero that ostensibly first reached the mainstream with The Sopranos. Its success has spawned the sequel film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie and the prequel series Better Call Saul, which itself ranks among the best TV shows of the 2010s.
In Breaking Bad, Betsy Brandt played Marie, the wife of DEA Agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) and sister of Walter’s wife Skyler (Anna Gunn). Throughout the series, Marie is often depicted as imposing and self-centered, frequently seen shoplifting or raiding open houses as a way of lashing out when she feels slighted. However, Marie deeply cares about her family and never hesitates to look after Walter Jr. and Holly whenever Walt and Skyler have domestic issues.
Brandt spoke to Collider about her experience playing Marie on Breaking Bad and said the intervention scene from season 1, episode 5, “Gray Matter” remains one of the best scenes she’s ever filmed. She identifies it as the precise moment where all of the main cast members truly clicked together onscreen, even saying that the crew members could feel the magic happening when they were filming. Here’s an excerpt from Brandt’s interview below:
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.
Not only was it the best scene she’s ever done, but it also helped Brandt evolve as an actor since Breaking Bad was the first substantial role of her career. Because she was so green at the time, Brandt explained how she was initially hesitant to ask for another take, but Dean Norris, who plays Hank, encouraged her to speak up. The next take, Brandt said, was the one she felt happiest with, further solidifying her faith in her tremendous castmates.
Anecdotes like Brandt’s are always catnip for Breaking Bad obsessives who continue to debate the show’s best scenes to this very day. The intervention scene in “Gray Matter” certainly ranks high among the most memorable season one moments, particularly for the talking pillow and its darkly comic approach to Walt’s cancer diagnosis. Though Marie occupies many of the show’s funniest scenes, it’s hard not to rank higher the dozens of suspenseful, heart-stopping moments where Walt and Jesse are backed into a corner by Walt’s various adversaries, primarily Gus Fring and Hank himself. Still, every main Breaking Bad actor, including Betsy Brandt, gets at least one scene to show their devastation by the destruction Heisenberg leaves in his wake.