In a episode full of great performances on Sunday night's Breaking Bad, perhaps the most surprising came from the actress playing Baby Holly. Turns out the baby ad libbed her most stunning moment. Give her an award!
Talking to Denise Martin of Vulture, executive producer and episode writer Moira Walley-Beckett simply laughed when asked if she wrote dialogue for the baby, played by Elanor Anne Wenrich (remember that name, people, she's going to be huge!). Toward the end of the episode—spoiler alert—the baby coos "mama" repeatedly after Walt has abducted her away from Skyler. The "mama" seems perfect, but was totally unscripted. Walley-Beckett explained:
We got lucky because that was a shaky moment for the baby. It’s a stressful situation for little kids. It was not scripted. She was looking at her mom off-stage and started saying that at the exact moment where it is scripted that Walt has a pang that this is morally reprehensible to do this to his daughter, to deprive her of a normal life. And this little baby just started looking at mom and we just rolled.
Director Rian Johnson took care to note that the baby's mother was nearby, and the baby was not "actually screaming for her mother." Nope, Baby Holly is just an expert improviser. She was using The Method just like other pint-sized craftswomen like Patty Duke, Anna Paquin, or Quvenzhané Wallis. They all were nominated for Oscars, it's the least we can do to get this girl on her way to EGOT.
Johnson also gave credit to Bryan Cranston for playing off the baby, saying in another interview with Aaron Couch of The Hollywood Reporter: "Obviously the baby was brilliant, but the credit goes to Bryan for using that and playing off of it so well. That's the sort of thing you can never plan, and you have to go with it when it happens." This baby tells Cranston what to do. She's just that good!
These final episodes of Breaking Bad will be eligible in next year's Emmy cycle. It's not too early for AMC to start campaigning now. Can't you see it? "Consider" splashed over pictures of her pretty bald head in all the trades, her nanny taking her to lunches trying to woo the Academy, designers clawing over each other to dress her for the red carpet. That's what the future holds for this tiny brilliant actress.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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