Sharon Bialy & Sherry Thomas Q&A: ‘Breaking Bad’ casting
Despite the mega success of "Breaking Bad" at the Emmys — including three acting wins for Bryan Cranston, a pair for Aaron Paul and one for Anna Gunn — casting directors Sharon Bialy and Sherry Thomas have been mysteriously overlooked by the TV Academy year after year. But now that the show has cooked its last batch of blue meth and said goodbye to the Albuquerque sunset, Bialy and Thomas finally heard their names called on nominations morning, along with Kiira Arai, in the Best Drama Casting category.
"When people used to ask us, I used to say, 'Oh, our reward is working with Vince Gilligan every day,' which we continue to do and that's still true," Bialy told Gold Derby during our recent webchat. "But it really feels good to be recognized by our peers. It's been a long time coming and we're very proud of it."
If they do win the Emmy, they aren't worried about getting kicked off the stage if their acceptance speech lasts too long. "We're just gonna shove everybody out of the way! I'm pretty sure I'm the loudest, so I think whoever's the loudest wins," joked Thomas. She then added, "To be perfectly honest with you, I think that we're all in the reality that there are several other huge nominees in there, and so we're blessed and honored to be there. We're just gonna have a great time."
As for the ladies' favorite guest stars over the years, they bring special attention to Charles Baker (Skinny Pete), Matt Jones (Badger) and Daniel and Luis Moncada (the Cousins), but they admit that Emmy nominee Mark Margolis may be their favorite casting scoop for the show. They tell the story of when they had to call Margolis in New York and ask him to put himself on tape, despite the fact that his character had no lines.
Even though "Breaking Bad" is over, Bialy and Thomas are still involved in that universe thanks to their casting of the spin-off series "Better Call Saul." However, Bialy warns us, "I can't tell you anything about 'Better Call Saul.' We're sworn to secrecy!" They're also keeping busy casting "Halt and Catch Fire," which just ended its first season on AMC, Fox's upcoming comic-book series "Gotham" and TV's biggest ratings hit "The Walking Dead."
Hey, what's with all the dark shows on their resumes? "It's interesting, because I think what happens to actors often happens to casting directors," Bialy explained. "You do a drama and they say you can only do drama. You do a dark show and they go, let's get the girls to do the dark show. When 'Breaking Bad' started, we really rebelled and kept looking for stand-up actors. So you'll see 'Breaking Bad' is peppered with stand-up guys doing their first drama."
Thomas added, "But really what we just love to do is great material and hire really interesting actors. And it isn't so much that we only do dramas, we love comedies. And we're really f—ing funny! It's definitely a world that we're extremely interested in."