Dean Norris Q&A: ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Under the Dome’
"I couldn't tell you a whole lot, but I can tell you you'll die with your dignity," Dean Norris recalls creator Vince Gilligan warning him two years ago about the ultimate fate of DEA Agent Hank Schrader on the reigning Emmy-winning drama series "Breaking Bad."
Norris explained more about his character's demise in the fan-favorite episode "Ozymandias" during our recent webcam chat (watch below). "I had known what my character's fate was gonna be, because Vince Gilligan had sat me down and went through the whole thing with me. So I knew what was gonna happen. But reading that final scene was surreal, man. It's weird seeing a character you've played for six years get shot and die."
What does Norris miss most about playing Hank? "As an actor, I miss that level of script. It's something that we all know that we may never be lucky enough to get to do again. But for Hank Schrader, I kind of miss some of the early [episodes]. It was a lot more fun playing Hank Schrader the first two seasons. It was really depressing playing him from Season 3 on. It was good as an actor, but it really would affect my own mood, you know? Just because he was in such a dark place for so much of the last half of that series."
Norris went on to defend Hank, saying, "I loved the fact that he… really was good at what he did, the guy who was always just one step away from [capturing Walt]. They did this character this favor I think of always making him be smart enough. I mean, he figured out the Jesse Pinkman, he figured out the Gus Fring, he figured out the this, the that. And we talked about that a lot, that we didn't want him to be kind of a doofus. But I thought it gave him a lot of humanity."
Norris' new series "Under the Dome" premieres its second season on Monday, June 30 with an episode written by Stephen King. He teases that his character Big Jim may be seeing some ghosts from his past and that his long-thought dead wife may not be so dead after all. "Big Jim loved his wife, who we think passed away. But we may see a revisiting of that situation… by a very good actress."
Coming up soon on History, you can see Norris in a new six-hour miniseries "Sons of Liberty" in which he plays founding father Benjamin Franklin. Norris says of Franklin, "He was a crazy dude, he was a big drinker, he was a big womanizer. He apparently was a big exhibitionist, so he liked to show people his private parts. And you think to yourself, wow, this is the guy that's on the $100 bill!"