109 Before Breaking Bad, Anna Gunn was a Deadwood school marm! PODCAST INTERVIEW

Today’s Guest: Anna Gunn, actress, “Breaking Bad,” “Deadwood”

Anna Gunn, star of AMC's Breaking Bad (Photo Credit:  Ben Leuner/AMC)

Anna Gunn, star of AMC’s Breaking Bad (Photo Credit: Ben Leuner/AMC)

Anna Gunn’s arrival in the city of Deadwood on the HBO series of the same name set off one of the craziest love triangles in history. The widow of Sheriff Bullock’s brother changed that crazy, foul-mouthed, Wild West town forever.

Now, it’s early in the run of the new critically-acclaimed AMC series “Breaking Bad,” but I suspect that as Bryan Cranston’s wife, Skyler, the lovely Anna Gunn will be anything but shy and retiring.

BOB ANDELMAN/Mr. MEDIA: You have done a lot of TV in your career, but these last two series, “Deadwood” and now “Breaking Bad,” must have really changed your career trajectory.

ANNA GUNN: Absolutely. Yes, they absolutely have. I just feel like it’s been an amazing ride into a new place for me, and it’s been something I’ve dreamed of. I’ve dreamed of working with David Milch for a long time on a series ever since doing a little role for him on “NYPD Blue,” and we got the opportunity about nine years later. So that was an amazing surprise. And then that was a wild ride through the Wild West, and I loved it. I had a great time on that. And then this came along. I had a baby in between, and then this came along. And again, it was just such a marvelous, delicious surprise. When I read the script, I just immediately said yes. I loved it and went in and was fortunate enough to get the role. And I think Vince Gilligan is brilliant. He’s a brilliant writer, and I love the entire cast, and we’ve been having a really good time.

ANDELMAN: “Deadwood” is a crazy concept, but “Breaking Bad,” it’s even strange to just say the title of this show.

GUNN: Yeah.

ANDELMAN: What was your first reaction when you got the gist of what this was about?

Breaking Bad: The Complete First Season

Order from Amazon.com by clicking the DVD cover above

[amazon_link id=”B001DJLCRC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ][/amazon_link]GUNN: Well, I was just sent the script, and I don’t think anybody told me what the story of the script was. I just read it, and I thought, as it unfolded and I turned each page, I just got more and more enthralled and excited about it because it’s rare to see an everyday man with the struggles that he’s dealing with, and then you put him in this position where he’s essentially got to make some choices. He makes a choice that changes his entire life, that will change the lives of his family, and it’s a morality play, I think, in a lot of ways. I think it’s a wonderful way for people to look into themselves and think what would I do if I were in this position? What would I do? He makes a impulsive choice, but it’s a strong choice and one that he jumps into. I think the most telling thing in the pilot is that he’s questioned by his cohorts as to why he’s doing this, and he just looks at them and says, “I’m alive.” I think he says, “I’m awake” or, “I’m alive.” Now I can’t remember.

ANDELMAN: “I’m awake.” I think that’s it.

GUNN: “I’m awake,” yes.

ANDELMAN: We should probably take a minute. You and I know what we’re talking about. There may be people listening who have maybe seen the full-page ads in the newspapers with Bryan Cranston, your co-star, and I’ll point out he was the dad in “Malcolm in the Middle,” standing in his underwear brandishing a gun out in, I guess, in New Mexico.

GUNN: Yes, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

ANDELMAN: He plays a guy who’s just not doing very well with life. Life is not treating him well. He’s a science teacher, and he’s working part-time at a car wash, and then he finds out he’s got terminal cancer.

GUNN: Right.

ANDELMAN: Have I summed that up?

GUNN: Yes, absolutely.

ANDELMAN: And now what’s the big twist that really pushes this series forward?

GUNN:He also has a son with cerebral palsy, and he has a wife who’s expecting their second child. He’s desperately trying to make ends meet, and he’s told that he has, at most, a couple of years to live. He wants to leave his family…He doesn’t want to leave them without anything. And, by chance, his brother-in-law leads him into the world of crystal meth on a ride-along

Breaking Bad

The cast of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” in Season One: Bryan Cranston as Walter White, Anna Gunn as Skyler, RJ Mitte as Walt Jr. (Photo: Doug Hyun/AMC)

because his brother-in-law’s a DEA agent. He sees the piles of money, first of all, on TV, then he’s taken on a ride-along, and he happens to see one of his ex-students who’s involved with this whole thing. The light bulb goes on in his head, and then he makes his decision that’s where he’s going to go. He’s a chemistry teacher. He’s a chemist, and, for him, it’s chemistry. It’s chemistry.

ANDELMAN: There’s never that moment, that moral moment, where he thinks, “Gee, this stuff would be bad for people.” It’s just, “I got a wife, I have a teen, I have a baby on the way, I haven’t been a very good provider to this point, but that’s gonna change now.”

GUNN: I believe so. As to what is going on internally for him in terms of morality, that’s the deepest question that’s going to be, I think, explored on the series. And in terms of everybody around him, in terms of the whole cast, I think everybody’s going to explore their own moral issues with it and with this kind of decision.

ANDELMAN: I watched on one of the HD channels, they have a little behind-the-scenes on the show, and there was a lot of joking about Bryan Cranston in his tighty-whities.

GUNN: That’s right.

ANDELMAN: I’m sure you want to say that the show is about more than him standing around in his underwear.

Breaking Bad: The Complete Second Season

Order from Amazon.com by clicking the DVD cover above

GUNN: Well, that’s a large part of the show up to this point, but, yes, there is more to the show than that, but that is an essential part. I have never seen such delight in a man running around in his underwear, and we all applaud his strength and courage. No, I’m kidding. Bryan’s willing to go wherever he needs to go for the role, and that’s the right thing to do. So he embraced it fully.

ANDELMAN: Maybe a little too fully.

GUNN: Hey, it’s alright. We should all be running around in our underwear by the end of it all.

ANDELMAN: I don’t expect you to actually answer this directly, but how long can he keep his secret of the terminal cancer?

GUNN: Oh, I thought you were going to say how long can he keep his underwear?

ANDELMAN: No, no. I’m not asking that.

GUNN: How long can he keep a secret of his cancer?

ANDELMAN: Yes.

GUNN: That’s to be explored in upcoming episodes, and I don’t want to ruin anything for viewers so I think I’ll let people discover that. But that’s one of the great questions. What is he going to do with that secret, and what is he going to do with his other secret? Those are things to be seen as the episodes unfold. It’s really exciting, actually, how those things reveal themselves.

ANDELMAN: Listeners who don’t know this, there’s a Mr. Media web chat that goes on simultaneous with the live interview, and we have a question from the web chat. Bebe’s asking: “Because your character, Skyler, is pregnant, time-wise, how do you feel that the pregnancy should play out?” I guess there’s about eight episodes shot for this first season.

GUNN: Yes, and the first season takes place over a relatively short period of time. So she’s progressing in her pregnancy, but it’s a slow progression because, in terms of the time, I’m not sure how everything’s going to play out, but I don’t think we’re going to go by leaps and bounds because he has a finite amount of time with his illness. And in terms of the pregnancy, I think we start out around month five, and we slowly progress through that in the first season.

ANDELMAN: You mentioned a few minutes ago that you’ve had a baby so maybe it’s not so bad to be wearing the baby suit.

GUNN: I’ve had two children. And yes, when I shot the pilot, I guess I’d had my baby five months before, actually, so it was all fresh in my mind. I went, “Oh, yeah, okay.” When it’s that fresh in your mind, it’s pretty easy to recall all the things that go along with it. And, yes, we just incorporated that into the costumes and into the whole story. So it’s fun. It’s fun to play that cause it’s an incredibly exciting time in somebody’s life when they’re pregnant so I love exploring that.

ANNA GUNN audio excerpt: “In ‘Deadwood,’ it was a huge population that they were filming, and it was a really large cast, and so when we did have moments and scenes, yes, you did really have to figure out how to mine those experiences. And on ‘Breaking Bad,’ the wonderful thing about both of these writers is that they understand in subtle ways and even with the most seemingly minute or everyday kind of scenarios, there is something being revealed about their relationships, about the people, and about where they are in their life just by the way they respond, by the looks they give, all of that.” 

ANDELMAN: Has Gilligan tipped you off to why the character is pregnant? Isn’t the family, the husband, the wife, and the teen son with CP, isn’t that enough?

GUNN: Oh, I see what you’re saying. I think that, in our exploration of it, we thought most likely this was a surprise. This is one of those surprises that takes you in life, and it’s unexpected, but it’s really embraced and celebrated. And I think every pregnancy, everything brings along a certain amount of nervousness, and it’s equal parts nervousness, excitement, the unknown, but I think every person who has a child has that journey to take. So, yes.

ANDELMAN: One of the similarities I sort of see between your roles in “Breaking Bad” and “Deadwood” is that, on the surface, neither one of them is really a big role so you have to make the most of every moment of screen time. Is that true?

GUNN: That is true. It is, and it’s a really challenging thing because when you have just moments to reveal who you are, yes, you do. You need to look deeply into every scene and into every conversation that you’re having and figure out what it is that is being revealed by your character. And in “Deadwood,” it was a huge population that they were filming, and it was a really large cast, and so when we did have moments and scenes, yes, you did really have to figure out how to mine those experiences. And on “Breaking Bad,” the wonderful thing about both of these writers is that they understand in subtle ways and even with the most seemingly minute or everyday kind of scenarios, there is something being revealed about their relationships, about the people, and about where they are in their life just by the way they respond, by the looks they give, all of that. And it’s really explored by the directors as well. So it’s a wonderful… It’s a challenging thing definitely, but it’s a great thing to take that on.

ANDELMAN: There were three, I’m thinking, three scenes in the pilot where you have that kind of impact. The first is the surprise party for Bryan’s character, Walter, and he comes in, and you just kind of say in his ear, “You’re very late.”

GUNN: Yes.

ANDELMAN: We were wondering about that. My wife and I watched it, and I think we were both wondering the same thing: “Does she know that he works at the car wash?”

GUNN: Yes. Right at the beginning of the pilot when they’re sitting down to have breakfast, she said something about Bogdon — Bogdon’s the guy who runs the car wash — and she says, “I don’t want him keeping you late today. He’s supposed to let you out at a certain time so get out at a certain time,” and that’s her way of trying to make him on time for the party without letting him know. But, yes, she does know. She knows that he’s working a second job.

ANDELMAN: Okay.

GUNN: Yeah, she’s informed of that.

ANDELMAN: I missed that on the first play. I’m sure when we go back and see it again, which I’m sure we will, I’ll pick up on that and other things. And then the second one is you’re in the clothing store with your son on the show, and there’s some bullies at the other end of the store who are making fun of him and his condition, and you’re handling it as the mom, and you’re being protective and you want to do something because you don’t think that your husband is going to take care of this. So you have that moment there and then moments later, Bryan, as the dad, comes bursting into the front of the store and deals with this. And that’s another moment, it seems like, that you had that opportunity to really act, I guess.

GUNN: I think all moments are an opportunity to act and to explore something about the character, but absolutely in that moment, I think the wonderful dynamic going on is that you see, first of all, you see the way that we, as parents, deal with our son and that we try to allow him as much independence and freedom and let him get on with his life in the best way he can and that at a certain time, you have to step in as a parent. And you’re always trying to figure that out as a parent, how to maneuver your way through that. And she’s trying to keep her cool. She’s trying to keep a lid on it, but when it comes to your child, nobody’s gonna mess with that. And as a parent, you’re gonna do something. She’s ready to walk over there and kick some butt, but she’s interrupted. You see her starting to cross the store and going over to them, and you wonder, “Ooh, what’s gonna go on?” And she’s not scared of them. There’s a whole group of them. She’s not scared. And it’s the way, I think, any parent would react if their child were in that situation. And it’s a complete and utter surprise to her that, all of a sudden, Walt comes in and does what he does. She’s never, ever seen that side of him come out. Never.

ANDELMAN: And that leads us to the third instance that I’m thinking of which is at the very end. He’s just lived this life that you still know nothing about. He’s been out cooking up crystal meth in the desert, and he’s had a whole thing with guns and all this kind of stuff. He comes to bed, and you’re both staring up at the ceiling. You say something, and he just kind of looks at you, and then you two start having sex, I assume.

GUNN: Correct.

ANDELMAN: And it reminded me of some of those moments, actually, back to “Deadwood” because the relationship between Bullock, the sheriff, and his unplanned new wife is very tentative and very awkward when we start to see them being physical. And it’s like, “Who is this person?”

GUNN: Right.

ANDELMAN: “Where did you come from?”

GUNN: Right. And I love that. Both of those situations with “Deadwood,” certainly, with that situation, she was married to Sheriff Bullock’s brother, and they are really strangers to each other. So when she comes into town and they address each other as “Mr. Bullock” and “Mrs. Bullock,” they’re doing that, first of all, because of the time that that was, and that actually wasn’t an uncommon thing for married couples to call themselves by that formal of a title, but especially in their case, that’s all they knew to say to each other. They didn’t know each other. And then they have to set up house together, and they’re both doing the best they can. And they’re living, also, with a ghost — the ghost of the brother between them, but they’re tentatively, slowly making their way toward each other. And my disappointment with that was that you never get to fully see where they could go, where they could end up because I think they’re two people on their way to really falling in love in a marriage, which is a wonderful thing to explore.

But with “Breaking Bad,” these are two people, I believe, that deeply love each other, they always have, but have gotten into routine and habit and various things along the way that people get into. And then suddenly, there are shades of a person. In terms of Skyler watching Walt, she’s seeing shades of him that she’s never seen before, and she’s confused. She doesn’t know where it’s coming from. What is he out doing? Why has his behavior changed so much? And, of course, probably one of the first things that somebody goes to is, “Is he having an affair? What is he doing?” And all of a sudden, he turns to her with such passion and such vigor, and it’s something that she hasn’t… I think probably in the early days they experienced a modicum of that, maybe not a modicum, maybe a lot of it, but they haven’t experienced it in a long time, and she is completely taken by surprise and delight.

Breaking Bad: The Complete Third Season

Order from Amazon.com by clicking the DVD cover above

ANDELMAN: Yes, you could see. And I think you get the last word in that pilot episode.

GUNN: Yes. “Walt, is that you?” That’s right. She means that in every sense of the word.

ANDELMAN: And, of course, “Walt, is that you?” because, of course, earlier in the day, it was the pool boy.

GUNN: That’s right.

ANDELMAN: No, no, no, no.

GUNN: “Oh my God, who is that? Oh, it’s you. That’s right. I thought it was the gardener.”

ANDELMAN: Yes, there were a couple ways to go with that.

GUNN: That’s right. That’s right. But yeah, I think that that’s the wonderful…It’s also wonderful when you get to see a married couple and a pregnant woman especially, and I just love this about the way they’re writing the character is sometimes on TV, you don’t see pregnant women being portrayed as sexual women, as women who are women. And they do portray her that way, and I love that because it’s real, because it’s just honest and real.

ANDELMAN: Of course, there are married men and women who are going through having a child or the wife is pregnant, and they don’t know quite how to handle a woman’s sexuality while she’s pregnant. So, yeah, I could see it could be an awkward thing on TV, as well, where things are not always as they might be.

GUNN: Right.

ANDELMAN: A year ago, having a series on AMC would not have been a likely path to success, but I’m guessing that “Mad Men,” which won the Golden Globe for Best Drama, changed that perception. I’m just kind of wondering at what point did you get involved with this relative to “Mad Men” coming on the air?

GUNN: At the time I got involved, I knew that they had another show that they were, I believe “Mad Men” was, yes, it must have been shooting already, but that’s all I knew. I knew a little bit about what the storyline was, and I had a few people that I knew working on it, but that’s about all I knew. So I was excited because of AMC making its foray into the dramatic series world. They are tremendously brave. They’re risk-taking with both of these shows. They’re completely different stories, they’re completely different periods, and they’ve given them such a broad range to reach out, and they’ve given them a real opportunity to explore the true core of these stories. I think it’s really exciting to be a part of that, to be in it at the beginning when they’re making this inroad into that world. And obviously, they’re doing it right, and they’re doing a brilliant job because both of these shows are exploring territory that I think is exciting on television. I think it’s providing a whole new world for viewers, and I’m excited to see what they come up with next, as well.

ANDELMAN: What’s interesting is that their first show really stars people that we really don’t know. The actors were, with the exception of the fellow who’s on “Desperate Housewives” — or was, I guess he passed away on that show — really unknown actors for the most part. So it wasn’t a lot of risk there. But you and Bryan in particular, coming in on AMC’s second show not knowing at the time you’re filming how that first one’s going to turn out, a little bit of risk on your part.

GUNN: Yes, yes, there was. But I think when you, as an actor, read material that is as good as this is, it’s a rare thing, first of all, and secondly, it’s what you look for as an actor, and when you’re presented with the opportunity to dive into material that’s as wonderful as this is, it seems foolish to turn your back on it. It doesn’t come along that often. And even though Skyler is not necessarily there for a great amount of the pilot, I saw enough, and I talked with Vince enough that I knew that this was a story that I wanted to be involved in. And so, absolutely, when you’re going into something, and it’s brand new, you think, “Ooh, how is this going to work out? Are people going to tune in?” and all that, it was proved that they did tune in in great numbers, and that was exciting.

ANDELMAN: I want to spend a little time talking about “Deadwood.” We’ve kind of come back and forth to it. I know in our house we loved that show. You joined it, I think, in its second season.

GUNN: That’s right.

ANNA GUNN audio excerpt: “In ‘Breaking Bad,’ these are two people, I believe, that deeply love each other, they always have, but have gotten into routines and habits and various things along the way that people get into. And then suddenly, there are shades of a person. In terms of Skyler watching Walt, she’s seeing shades of him that she’s never seen before, and she’s confused. She doesn’t know where it’s coming from. What is he out doing? Why has his behavior changed so much? And, of course, probably one of the first things that somebody goes to is, ‘Is he having an affair? What is he doing?’ And all of a sudden, he turns to her with such passion and such vigor, and it’s something that she hasn’t… I think probably in the early days they experienced a modicum of that, maybe not a modicum, maybe a lot of it, but they haven’t experienced it in a long time, and she is completely taken by surprise and delight.” 

ANDELMAN: Was it a culture shock to walk onto that set? I’m sure people are very normal when you’re not filming, but the colorful language, I’ll put that nicely, it’s a little different than when you’re on, I don’t know, “The Practice.” Even “NYPD Blue” was not this blue.

Breaking Bad: The Complete Fourth Season

Order from Amazon.com by clicking the DVD cover above

GUNN: It was not this blue, no. No, it wasn’t. For me, it was just, again, well, of course, I watched every episode of the first season, and I loved it. I just fell in love with it, and I loved the freedom of language. People have talked a lot about the language in “Deadwood”: “Was that really the way they talked?” According to David Milch, and he knows absolutely, that’s the way people talked in that world. Mrs. Bullock didn’t talk that way because I wouldn’t have because that’s the kind of character I was playing wouldn’t have spoken that way. She was a true Victorian lady. But the majority of people in that town absolutely talked as blue as that, so to speak. And I always wished that sometimes oh, I wish Mrs. Bullock would loosen up and get into some of that, but that wasn’t who she was so it was absolutely right that she didn’t. But I just thought it was exciting. The first day I shot, we actually shot me coming in on a stagecoach into town, and it was perfect. It just happened to work out that way. And I rode in on the stagecoach, and we came around the corner and drove down Main Street, and there was the town fully alive with these amazing extras tipping their hats at me and saying, “Ma’am, good morning.” I was enthralled because when you’re riding along you wonder how much you’re going to have to create in terms of your reaction to this new place, and it was all there laid out in front of me, and I couldn’t believe it. It was like I was in an amusement park for an actor.

ANDELMAN: Now, I mentioned earlier about the triangle that developed between you and, I guess, Molly Parker’s character of “Alma Garret” and Timothy Olyphant’s sheriff. Did you or David Milch know where that was going when you joined the show?

GUNN: We knew a little bit. I’m sure David knew more as a creator should always know more than the actors, and they share what they will with you. But I knew to a certain degree and especially since watching the first season that he and Alma had fallen in love, but you don’t know what kind of love it is. There are various shades and degrees of that, and so you don’t know. Was it lust? Was it really deep love? You don’t know what you’re fully doing with that. And then as the second and third seasons unfolded, as you say, the triangle that was set up just got more and more interesting because nobody was trying to intentionally mess up anybody else’s life. Mrs. Bullock didn’t come to town in order to take somebody else’s man. She was in survival mode. She had a son, and she needed to be provided for, and he stepped up and said “I’ll marry you,” and she said, “Okay, great.” And even though she didn’t know this person, you have to do what you have to do to survive and to live, and she needed a father for her son, mainly. That was the main thing driving her. She wanted a father for her son. She knew he was a good man, and she knew he’d be a good father. And as for the kind of man he’d be as a husband, that was a complete mystery. And there were a lot of things to deal with, and she knew almost immediately, as you saw in that first episode, as soon as she saw Alma Garret, and she saw them looking at each other, she knew. She knew.

ANDELMAN: Yeah.

GUNN: The way she chose to deal with that and the way that Tim, who played Sheriff Bullock, dealt with it was just so fascinating cause they don’t have a language to even speak to each other, much less speak to each other about that. She very quietly and methodically found her way into his life and into that town as she became the teacher for the kids of the town. There was no schoolhouse before that. So she very quietly but purposely and strongly made herself a part of that community and also just refused to be daunted by the situation she was handed in terms of she comes to town, married to a stranger, and he’s having an affair, or she knows something’s gone on between him and this other woman. Then it starts to be revealed, more starts to be revealed, to her about this isn’t just a woman who is some hussy, this is a person in a situation of her own, and that’s what made it so interesting. Again, it’s dealing with issues of morality and how people wrestle with that and how it may seem black and white at the beginning and then shades of gray are introduced, and that’s what’s fascinating about these stories.

ANDELMAN: It’s a show, “Deadwood,” that people were absolutely repulsed and fascinated by.

GUNN: Yes.

ANDELMAN: Because of the language or any other issue. Was it a hard show to work on?

GUNN: In terms of what – the language? Or in terms of…

ANDELMAN: Well, I keep coming back to the language cause that’s very apparent. A lot of sexual situations. It was just a very strong-mannered show. I just wondered if it was tough to be on that set everyday for any reason.

GUNN: I think that because I wasn’t there all the time, it would’ve been a different experience possibly if I had been there, but every day I was there was exciting to me because, again, I didn’t have, it wasn’t ever necessarily a huge role. There were a few episodes where I was working more, but every day that I came in it was just an exciting time, and I just sort of embraced every day that I was there. Difficulty sometimes and, yes, it was not just the language in terms of it being coarse language cause I didn’t have to deal with that. It was beautiful, poetic language, and quite frankly, even the coarse language was detailed and written in such a way, and I think…Am I allowed to swear?

ANDELMAN: Absolutely.

GUNN: Okay. You never know. But I think Ian McShane said, “If you put one ‘fuck’ in the wrong place, you’re fucked.” Something like that. I’m probably misquoting again… I said how brilliant Vince was, and then I misquoted him immediately by saying Bryan’s line was “I am alive” instead of “I’m awake.” But anyway, it’s true that with any of the language that David wrote. I think he’s a poet, and it’s like Shakespeare. There’s a rhythm to it. There is a flow to it, and there is a purpose to it, and it’s very important to get every word right and to get it in its right place. Sometimes we would get the material late, and sometimes he’d change things because he would just see something in the rehearsal and go, “Oh, you know what? That doesn’t work. Let’s put this in instead.” So you sometimes would have to learn things rather quickly. That was nerve-wracking sometimes. It was scary sometimes. Absolutely. But, again, I’m excited by things like that because I see them as challenges, and I see them as opportunities to embrace that kind of fear and go, “Ooh, I don’t know quite what I’m doing, I’m skating on thin ice, but I’m just gonna go.” So that, I think, was sometimes challenging.

This sounds like such a little thing, but we were in the true period costumes of the time. And we were out shooting at Melody Ranch, which is basically high desert here in California, and in the summertime when we started, it was blazing hot. It was unbelievably hot, and there were a few days in the beginning when I first started that it was something like 105 to 107 degrees. And we weren’t getting air-conditioning in the buildings, and you’re wearing three or four layers, five layers of wool and petticoats and corsets. And we were thinking, “We’re in our own personal saunas. Oh, my God.” And so you had to just deal with the elements, for me more than anything I’ve ever shot. You were dealing with the elements, but it just seemed right because you would be dealing with the elements, and that’s what they were dealing with. You take all that on and incorporate it, I think.

Deadwood: The Complete Series

Order from Amazon.com by clicking the DVD cover above

You brought this up before that in terms of playing Mrs. Bullock, playing Martha, the challenging part for me was sometimes feeling like there were only maybe one or two scenes sometimes in an episode where I had an opportunity, where I was appearing. You have to really make the most of that time without making it a huge deal because not every scene is a big trumpet-playing, fanfare sort of scene. You just have to find your moments. You have to find ways to reveal things that are really essential to the character, and when you don’t have a lot of time to do that, that’s a real challenge as an actor.

ANDELMAN: I’d love to go on another hour with you about “Deadwood” and “Breaking Bad.” I wonder if we can just steal you for just a couple more minutes.

GUNN: Sure.

ANDELMAN: I’m kind of guessing that you don’t surf.

GUNN: No (laughs), I do not as of yet.

ANDELMAN: “Where is he going with that one?” An awful lot of actors from “Deadwood” wound up on David Milch’s next series, “John from Cincinnati,” and I wondered if you had that opportunity.

GUNN: No, I didn’t. I don’t know that there was necessarily anything in there for me. What’s wonderful about David is that when he works with actors that he connects with that he, for whatever reason that he likes, he remembers them. And like I said, he remembered me from, at that time, from sort of nine years ago from a role I had done, a guest-starring role, on “NYPD Blue,” and I’d also been on “Murder One.” I’d seen him throughout the years a few times at auditions, and then I came in for Martha, and it was pretty clear that it was a good fit. He knows that intuitively and instinctively, and when he knows that an actor is right for something, he’s pretty genius, I think, at casting. He really gets the internal workings of a person and knows how to make them work within a character. I think that that’s what he did with people from “Deadwood” and people that he knows, and he’s comfortable working with people that he knows. You already have a language and a way of working that’s established, and it makes it a lot easier. You have a shorthand.

ANDELMAN: I was gonna say “Deadwood” ended rather abruptly. I remember seeing a quote from Tim Olyphant where he had said, “It’s a little bit of a problem because I just bought a house, and then David called and said we’re not going to continue the show.” Were you also surprised by the way it ended? And do you see any hope that there’ll be those, there was some talk for a while, a couple of two-hour movies to kind of wrap it up. Do you see any hope of that happening?

GUNN: I keep hoping for that because I think that would be so wonderful, and I know that so many people who loved the show and watched the show were so sorely disappointed that they didn’t get to see what happens with these people and with this town. I keep hoping, although a lot of time has gone by now, that that will still happen because I think that would be a wonderful thing. I don’t know logistically how it’s possible, but I suppose anything’s possible really. And, yes, I would love to see that go on. And it was abrupt, and it was a bit shocking for everybody. I think we all really wanted to explore the next step of these characters cause they’re such interesting characters, and you get attached to them. You get attached to where they’re going, and then all of a sudden, you have to put the brakes on.

ANDELMAN: We watched “John from Cincinnati” fairly loyally and kind of wondered if one of the reasons that so many characters from “Deadwood” wound up there had something to do with Milch feeling guilty for pulling the rug out from everyone’s income.

GUNN: Oh yeah. I’d like to say, “No comment.”

ANDELMAN: Okay.

GUNN: Actually, I really can’t. I don’t know about the internal workings of what happens in terms of that. But, absolutely, when you’re an actor, and you’re going from episode to episode, and you’re supporting yourself that way, and you’re counting on something to continue, and then all of a sudden it doesn’t, yeah, it’s shocking, and it’s a little difficult. But that’s the nature of the game so you learn to roll with those kinds of things, too.

ANDELMAN: Let’s wrap up with a question about “Breaking Bad.” You’ve obviously completed filming the first season. Do we know yet now that the first one has aired — have you heard anything from AMC, your agent, anyone down the line about what the future there might be?

GUNN: I have not heard anything yet. The wonderful thing that I have heard is that the show premiered very, very strongly. We had a lot of viewers. And people and the critical response has been extremely, extremely positive. And just from people that I know who’ve watched it and even people I don’t know, they’ve been really, really positive about it. So I’m very hopeful and feel very strongly that we’ll go on with the second season, and I hope that happens.


The Millionaire's Convenient Arrangement by Jane Peden, Mr. Media Interviews

The Millionaire’s Convenient Arrangementby Jane Peden. Order your copy today by clicking on the book cover above!


 

The Party AuthorityThe Party Authority in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland!

Advertisements

About Mr. Media® Interviews-Bob Andelman

Bob Andelman is the host and producer of Mr. Media® Interviews. He is also the author or co-author of 16 books, including The Wawa Way with Howard Stoeckel, Building Atlanta with Herman J. Russell, Fans Not Customers with Vernon W. Hill, founder of Commerce Bank and Metro Bank UK, Mind Over Business with Ken Baum, The Consulate with Thomas R. Stutler, The Profiler with Pat Brown, Built From Scratch with the founders of The Home Depot, The Profit Zone with Adrian Slywotzky, Mean Business with Albert J. Dunlap, and Will Eisner: A Spirited Life. Click here to see Bob Andelman's Amazon Central author page. He is a member in good standing of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (member page).