In anticipation of the Breaking Bad series finale on Sunday, September 29th, Rolling Stone will publish an exclusive interview with a new cast or crew member every day, Monday through Friday. Yesterday, creator Vince Gilligan weighed the underlying question “What does it mean to be a man?” Today, Laura Fraser discusses Lydia Rodarte-Quayle and the series finale.
First, can you explain why Lydia Rodarte-Quayle has an awful, hyphenated surname?
I know! Vince, what did you do to me? She couldn’t very well turn into a nice, balanced person with that kind of name. A Rodarte-Quayle isn’t gonna be easygoing and laidback. She was fucked from the start.
Does the surname tip us off to Lydia’s pretentiousness?
[Laughs] I wouldn’t disagree with that comment. The reality is, she’s a clean-cut, bonkers sociopath. So if she’s not well-presented, what else has she got?
I wonder if Vince created Lydia so the show would have a character who’s even worse than Walt.
I wouldn’t say she’s worse. They’re both responsible for deaths. But she is more irritating. Lydia is highly-strung, with a high-pitched, intense frequency that drives people mad. She takes herself so seriously, which is deeply unattractive, and she always thinks she’s right, which is another nightmarish characteristic.
Has anyone spotted you on the street and reacted as though you actually are Lydia?
No. I hope that doesn’t happen. They might lynch me.
Saul Goodman might be getting a spinoff series. Are you jealous there isn’t one for Lydia?
[Laughs] Who the fuck would watch a show about Lydia? I’m definitely not jealous. But I love Saul, and I’d totally watch that show.
You’re one of only a few people who know how Breaking Bad ends.
Yes, and that makes me very smug. [Laughs] I’m really bad at keeping secrets. I’m terrified it’ll just come out of me, like Tourette’s. My husband ran the lines with me, so he knows. He thought the ending was pretty cool, but he’s the only one I’ve told.
It’s disconcerting to interview you and hear you speak in your native Scots accent. For someone who grew up in Glasgow, you do a great American accent.
[Laughs] Or I do a really good fake Scottish accent, so people think my American accent is great.
Breaking Bad films in New Mexico, which has a bad crystal meth problem. Was it ever difficult to distinguish extras in costume from local tweakers who looked awful?
The actress who played Wendy, the junkie prostitute who lost her teeth, was apparently mistaken for a genuine prostitute while they were filming. Someone stopped the car and tried to pick her up while she was doing the scene. So the lines are blurred, yeah.
In this season’s second episode, when Lydia hires neo-Nazis to kill a half dozen people in the underground meth bunker, it looked like she was wearing expensive Louboutin heels, with the signature red soles. Do you think she was wearing real Louboutins, or cheap knock-offs?
That’s a good question. They were real, and we were playing them for real, because it’s part of the morally-bankrupt measure of Lydia. She’s unable to bear the sight of this massacre she ordered – the shoes are the bloodshed red she’s responsible for. It’s representative of faceless corporations where no one’s ever accountable for any of their actions.
Has it been fun to play someone so awful?
Oh God, yeah! To play someone that disgustingly irritating is hysterical. I mean, she makes me laugh so much. It’s so tense to play her, because she’s always on the verge of a heart attack, and when the day’s over, I feel immediate laughter.
When you watch the show, do you root for Walt, or against him?
When I started the job last summer and watched the show, I was totally rooting for Walt. But now that I’m more involved, I’m not rooting for him. I’m rooting for Lydia. [Laughs] If I don’t love her, who will?