Breaking Bad alone shows off Betsy Brandt’s significant range. Marie Schrader added loads of much needed comic relief, but also afforded Brandt the opportunity to excel during some of the show’s darker beats, even making the most of a single reaction shot in the Emmy winning episode, “Ozymandias.” Want even more proof that Brandt can do just about anything? Give her filmography a quick glance beyond Breaking Bad. That line-up includes sitcoms like Life in Pieces and The Michael J. Fox Show, a powerhouse dramatic turn in Claire in Motion, and even film appearances where she contributes by making a single scene unforgettable like in Magic Mike. Hope you’re ready for even more proof of Brandt’s range because her Soulmates character experiences quite the arc in the final episode of the season, “The (Power) Ballad of Caitlin Jones.”
Brandt leads as the title character, Caitlin, a woman trapped in a loveless relationship with a guy who walks all over her. In an effort to find “the one,” Caitlin turns to the show’s futuristic dating technology, Soul Connex, a test that pinpoints one’s soulmate with 100% accuracy. That test matches Caitlin with JJ Feild‘s Nathan, a too-good-to-be-true type who, of course, has a dark side.
With “The (Power) Ballad of Caitlin Jones” airing on AMC on Monday, October 9th, Brandt took the time to join us for an episode of Collider Ladies Night. We covered a little bit of everything from her time studying acting in school to joining Breaking Bad and then some, but during our chat, Brandt pinpointed a specific part of her process that likely contributes to her ability to excel in any genre – and speaks to her enthusiasm for her work as well. Here’s how she described how she picks projects:
“My team, they read it first and if they think this is something we want to move in on, then I’ll read it. I tend to get attached to stuff and it also is hard for me to say no. And they also know what I’m looking for at the time, and that’s a big compass for me. It’s like, what did I just do? What was the project I was just doing? What do I need to do next? And when we worked together, I’ve always said, ‘Whatever I’m doing all the time now, give me something opposite to that.’ You give me something opposite, I think that’s what you do during hiatus. You want to keep your acting muscles intact.”
To hear more about Brandt’s earliest ambitions, how her experience working on Breaking Bad influenced her craft, how she feels about her character’s arc in Soulmates and so much more, check out her full Collider Ladies Night interview at the top of this article!
- 01:55 – What was Brandt busy watching when she was growing up?
- 04:00 – Why seeing Hidden Figures in theaters made such a huge impression.
- 05:35 – Brandt was interested in directing back in high school. What sparked that interest and when did the shift to acting happen?
- 07:18 – Why Brandt decided not to finish her MFA.
- 09:23 – Making the choice to go to Seattle and not New York or Los Angeles.
- 12:38 – When did the shift from stage to screen happen?
- 13:40 – How Brandt’s screen experience wound up influencing her work on stage.
- 15:15 – What’s the biggest difference between Brandt as an actor before and after Breaking Bad; Vince Gilligan’s willingness to let the show go where it goes.
- 17:55 – One of the best scenes Brandt has ever filmed is from Breaking Bad.
- 19:45 – Brandt knew Breaking Bad was a standout right from the start based on the scripts alone; Brandt’s first impressions of Marie.
- 23:30 – On the relationship between Marie and Hank; looking back on an early photoshoot for set decoration.
- 25:33 – Brandt talks about packing Marie’s grief into just a few scenes when it needs to reflect a series’ worth of material between Hank and Marie.
- 27:27 – How Brandt’s input influenced the scene when Marie gets the news about Hank’s death; Brandt’s take on life after the events of Breaking Bad for Marie.
- 31:38 – Brandt details her experience working on Magic Mike with Channing Tatum and Steven Soderbergh; fearing she didn’t lean into the comedy enough.
- 36:00 – How Brandt wound up scoring that specific episode of Soulmates.
- 38:25 – Brandt details Soulmates‘ unique approach to telling stories revolving around technology and romance.
- 42:23 – Spoiler Warning! Brandt discusses the ending of her episode of Soulmates.
- 47:00 – Random questions begin! Find out what movie Brandt could watch over and over again, what meal she could eat over and over, if she’d rather have to fake sneeze or fake vomit in a scene, if she collects anything, if she has any pets, and her biggest fear overcome right here.