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Q&A – Betsy Brandt (Marie Schrader)

Brandt discusses shoplifting compulsions, carrying on “adult conversations” in the minisodes and fighting her temptation to steal Aaron Paul’s scarf.

Q: Do you ever have a hard time playing a character that’s living in such strong denial?

A: You know, I know people like this — someone who has done something that has upset you, and they won’t take responsibility. And it’s just infuriating. You’re like, “Oh my God, just admit it!” And they just won’t — she’s that person. Because then she’d have to admit things about herself. That’s why it’s such a watershed moment when she finally acknowledges to Skyler, basically “I totally threw you under the bus, and that was s___. I’m sorry.”

Q: Was that a relief for you?

A: It was. This show is different for me than on a lot of other shows I’ve done. I feel like I do the big drama roles: It’s a lot of crying, a lot of big meltdowns. And I think that’s a lot of fun (and another interview we can have, you me and a psychoanalyst). But a lot of times after I’m done shooting a scene with Marie, I just want to go back to my trailer and sob because there’s no release. She doesn’t do that, which is completely opposite from how I am in my life.

Q: In the first season Marie’s shoplifting was depicted as a funny quirk. This season it’s being treated as more of a compulsion. Have you had any experience in dealing with something like that?

A: Oh it’s a problem. I’ve never been through a 12-step program, so I don’t know if you’re like “Well, I do this because I have issues with my father.” Maybe some people do that, I don’t know. But I don’t think Marie is going to. I think she does it because she can’t help herself and it feels good. She’s not supposed to, and she knows that, but it still feels really good to do.

Q: What about you? Last time we talked you mentioned you used to “collect” sugar spoons

A: Oh, yeah! I haven’t been doing that. Maybe this will happen for Marie too, but now I feel like I’ve done it, and the excitement and thrill is gone. I was telling Vince that maybe Marie should steal something from Jesse. I don’t know if Jesse’s stuff is nice enough for me, though. But Aaron Paul does have a scarf I really like. We did this talk at SAG, and he left his scarf in the Green Room and I really thought about taking it. I mean, I would have come clean and told him. Aaron, he’s so sweet, he may have just told me to keep it.

Q: How hard was it for you to hit that kid’s remote-controlled car in the first episode?

A: Listen. That kid did NOT apologize to me when he hit my foot, which I found very rude. So I said what I needed to say [Laughs]. Bryan directed that episode, and he does not miss a beat when he’s acting or when he’s directing. So he had me come in for driving rehearsal. And then on the big day when we shot it, I ran over the car on the first take — which I’m very proud of! I consider myself an honorary transpo girl.

Q: You starred in two of the online minisodes – “Good Cop Bad Cop” and “Marie’s Confession.” Which was the most fun to shoot?

A: It was really fun to do the “Good Cop Bad Cop.” I’ve got a newborn and I’ve really just been home with my kids since we closed production, so I was just so happy to go there and have more adult conversation. I was actually pretty impressed with myself in “Good Cop Bad Cop” — when I saw it, I was like, is that me? My baby was 10 weeks old when I shot it and I looked good!

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