BREAKING BAD’s Dean Norris Talks about Filming the Series Final Episodes, How the Show Changed His Life and Working on CBS’ UNDER THE DOME

     September 17, 2013


We’ve already heard from Breaking Bad’s “Ozymandias” director Rian Johnson on his behind-the-scenes experience filming the episode, but today, ASAC Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) gets his say.  If you’re all caught up on Breaking Bad and haven’t read Allison’s review of the latest episode, do so now.  We’ll keep the spoilers for after the jump, where the Harvard grad talks about filming the final episodes of the series, talking to the writers and director Johnson about how to tweak some of his scenes, and how starring on the show has changed his life and career.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say and keep in mind that there are spoilers.

This will be your final spoiler warning before we bring you Norris’ comments on Breaking Bad.  Enjoy this iconic shot of Hank (just for fun) followed by the interview.


Now that you’ve had a laugh at poor, dearly-departed Hank’s expense, here’s what Norris had to say about filming his final episode of Breaking Bad (via THR):

Norris talks about finding out about his death scene and how he tried to tweak it:

Right. And it’s interesting, a good year and a half ago, I was talking to Vince [Gilligan] about this whole thing and he was telling me how it was going to end in that fashion. Tom Schnauz, one of our great writers, said “We’re looking to do it so Hank knows he’s going to die for the entire episode.” And I asked, “If that’s the case, can we fit in a phone call to my wife [Betsy Brandt]? I can’t let her know I’m going to die, but I get one final goodbye to her, then I don’t cause her any more suffering and pain that I have to?” We were all really down for that doing that, but it didn’t happen. Though I did get to say goodbye to her in the previous episode.

breaking-bad-buried-dean-norrisDuring the filming of the scene itself, Norris grasped for some extra creative control and commented on what was going through his mind:

That I was ending the show, that I was saying goodbye to Bryan. It all actually fed back into the loop of the scene because Hank was also saying goodbye to Walt. Also, I did the close-ups for that scene in one take, which is very unheard of. Usually you’d do a couple more. But I talked to [director] Rian Johnson and I said, “There’s one kind of face he will put up with Walt and another for bad guys, but either way, he knows he’s going to die. So let’s have three cameras?” We did some other takes for larger shots, but for close-ups we did it in one take. Rian said, “Ok that’s the way you die on TV. Let’s move on!” I got done in half a day.

Norris went on to talk about choosing his next role after Breaking Bad and why he decided on Under the Dome:

It was very specific: it couldn’t be a cop (Laughs). I wanted it to be very different in scope, maybe a comedy? And then Under the Dome ending up fitting the bill—it was kind of sci-fi, large, intense…

And it had Stephen King…

Yes, and Steven Spielberg and CBS. I met with all the networks after New Year’s. I met with Nina Tassler at CBS at 10 am and by 1 pm they’d offered me the role. Read it and said, let’s go.

Be sure to check out the full interview at THR for more from Norris on Breaking Bad, working with Bryan Cranston, Rian Johnson and Vince Gilligan.

Around The Web
  • bombinUSA

    knew hank would die half way through season 4…but i was still irked by his death and the manner in which it happened. Always felt that hank was the true hero of the show.

    • Roy Batty

      True hero? Not so much for me but Norris should get more props for his chops. He’s just as good as Cranston, maybe better because his role wasn’t so showy. His death scene while shocking, could’ve been handled better. Still the best guilty pleasure TV show ever.

      • Guy Smiley

        There’s nothing “guilty” about liking Breaking Bad. It’s a great, great show.

        Now Under the Dome? If you can actually sit through that crap fest and come back for more, THERE’S your “guilty pleasure.”

      • bombinUSA

        Yah the true hero, he never broke bad. Sure by the end he did somethings under the book to capture Walt…but he was put in a terrible situation with his circumstance of being the brother in law of a meth king pin. Norris was fantastic i agree and might get consideration for an emmy for best suppporting actor along with Aaron Paul. Breaking bad should sweep every award at the Emmy’s…it would tragic if it doesn’t. The writing, acting, editing, music, directing…everything is on point. Best show ever, The Wire used to be my favorite show but it doesn’t come close to B.B!

  • Cog

    Under the Dome is a joke.

  • tarek

    Dean Norris is such an amazing actor. Loved his play.

    Go go go Dean.

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  • doug

    a nice guy with a good ear!

  • movieguy223

    Hope he gets an Emmy nod for his work this season. Extraordinary work, Hank went through a total arc over the 5 and a half seasons, but these past six episodes he was at his absolute best. Dignity-filled death scene, but couldn’t have struck more heartchords.

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