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Q&A: Anna Gunn (Skyler White)

Anna Gunn talks about wearing a prosthetic pregnancy outfit and shares her secret desires for Skyler to “break bad” in AMC’s exclusive interview.

Q: How do you see your character?

A: I think that Skyler is grounded and she’s tough and smart and she’s driven. She has run the White household, she has devoted herself to Walt and to the raising of Walt, Jr. But I think that she has plans beyond taking care of the household that she would like to pursue, and one of those happens to be the eBay scheme that’s introduced early on, and the other thing is that she’s a writer. And I think that’s her biggest dream — I think she really deep down yearns to be an artist and to be creative and productive. Everybody in the show has a shadow side and has darker sensibilities, and she certainly does, and we just haven’t seen what those are. And I’m really excited to see where her “breaking bad” comes and what happens with that, because she’s got complexities and dreams and hidden secrets that would be so rich to explore.

Q: Some people perceive Skyler as controlling. Do you agree?

A: That’s a little bit of a conundrum. She’s a strong woman and she’s not going to be silent about her opinions. And I think she is sometimes perceived as controlling or she wants things to go her way, but the bottom line is that she loves her husband dearly, and she does not want to roll over. I think with a strong woman, you know she’s trying to hold her emotions together, she’s trying to hold herself together, and she’s trying to do what she thinks is best for her family, for her husband, and for herself. And it’s not a selfish thing, it’s a selfless thing.

Q: On both Deadwood and Breaking Bad, you play a character who is coping with loss. How is that as an actress?

A: It’s incredibly cathartic. These roles take you to places that thank God I’ve never had to go in my own life. But I guess I’ve had similar enough experiences that I can draw from, and it’s painful. With this situation, I think anybody who just imagines their husband or wife or partner sick and being told that they have a very finite time to live, you would want to do anything you can to help them and to make sure that they’re around. It’s a survival instinct.

Q: You went from really being pregnant in Deadwood to playing pregnant in Breaking Bad. What was that like?

A: It was fresh in my mind certainly, so I was like, “Oh yeah I know what this stage is.” It was really kind of painful toward the end of Deadwood because I was expanding and I’m a fairly thin girl and they did the full corsets. Of course they took into account that I was pregnant. And that was great, but coming into Breaking Bad, in a way it felt like, ‘Oh I have to put this on again.’ Being pregnant is a conundrum. You have this freedom, because it’s a wonderful time that a human being is growing inside of you, and it is truly magical. On the other hand, your body changes. And so to be encumbered in a way by that body, you can enjoy it and revel in it, but when it’s a prosthetic being put on you, it’s a little bit different. But you know what, in the world of make believe, you just go right back to that time when you were pregnant where it was hard to get up and a little bit hard to breathe and a little bit awkward.

Q: Breaking Bad certainly doesn’t shy away from sexuality between you and Bryan Cranston. How do you feel about that?

A: I think it’s great. I think shows sometimes do shy away from married sex, which is what we would call it. Let’s see some married sex instead of just single sex! These people, despite their situation, are in love and they like to be with each other. They have a really good lively sex life, and I hope that continues. And I love that they don’t shy away from a pregnant woman being sexually desirable and sexually engaged, which is what she is. It’s another part of her personality, she’s like, “Bring it on! Come on!” I love the small moments between me and Bryan that speak of our closeness and our intimacy. And yeah, the making out is pretty good too.

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