I recently spoke with Betsy Brandt star of Breaking Bad and we’ll have a big interview to share with BuzzFocus readers this week to get you excited about the Season 5 premiere on July 15, but for the weekend I wanted to highlight part of our conversation on Magic Mike which was released in theaters Friday. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Brandt plays a banker who Mike (Channing Tatum) approaches to apply for a loan. It’s a brief but memorable scene, so I wanted to ask her about working with Soderbergh, stripping, and which of her fellow co-stars she would pay for a dance from.
What was it like working with Steven?
Betsy Brandt: I was nervous to meet him, so when I showed up in the morning of the day of the shoot, I just wanted to go in and not make a jackass of myself. [Laughs] But I was in Magic Mike because he was a fan of Breaking Bad. I’ve only worked with him this one time, so far, knock on wood. I would do anything else he asked me to. You know, it’s not that he’s does just one type of film, I feel that he does what he wants to do. When he does it, he’s not thinking about how it will be received, or whether people will like it. He makes the movie he wants to and feels should make and it winds up being good every time. If it doesn’t do good at the box office, I don’t know if he really cares and they wind up doing well because he’s not thinking about that. That’s the genius of him, it’s an amazing way to be.
And the scene you were in?
BB:I think about the small picture and not the big picture, which is really easy to do with Steven. I just think about what’s in front of me, in that moment and that character, who she is and what she’s dealing with.
I enjoyed your scene because it’s the opposite of what we’ve seen hundreds of times where a man acts a little stupid because he has a pretty woman in front of him. So it was nice to see this very human reaction on your character’s part.
BB:[Laughs] I loved that. I’m sure there were some takes where I stared at Channing more because THAT does not walk into my cubicle, that does not walk into my office, ever. I’m not saying not often, I’m saying EV-AR! I was really happy with what we did and so proud of that scene and I had the best time working with Channing and Steven.
You’re one of the few women who don’t get to see the goods.
BB: I know! I think there was a possibility that I was going to do a different role and you would have seen that, and that role and part was ultimately cut out of the film anyway, so I’m glad I’m in the bank with my clothes on. I’m sure my parents are glad that my clothes are on too.
How do you feel about that as an actor?
BB: I just think it’s part of it. The thing is as I’ve gotten older, I’m much more relaxed and comfortable with it now and just the idea of that than when I was younger when my body was better. I thought, “God, i should’ve been getting naked all over the place when I was younger,” but it’s just not really the kind of actor that I am. But it’s just part of it and sometimes it’s really appropriate. It would be weird not to do it but I was never a fan of actors taking their clothes off just to take their clothes off.
I had heard Olivia Munn say that she would come to the set even if she wasn’t in the call sheet because she wanted to see the men dance.
BB: [Laughs] I’m sure she did! I shot my stuff here in L.A., and most of the dancing was in Florida, and I think most of Olivia’s stuff was in Florida because that was all the beachy stuff. I told Channing when we were in the makeup trailer the first day, “If you feel like you need to take your clothes off in the scene, I think you should! Who am I to stand in the way of your process?” [Laughs] “If you just want to do it for rehearsal, Steven would understand, I’m sure. You just do what you think you need to do.”
So how much of that scene was acting?
BB:Oh! [Laughs] You know what? Channing was so easy to be around, that really I wasn’t uncomfortable at all. He was so-so-so sweet, and I’m happy for everything he’s got going on right now. He has these dance moves that you would not even think is humanly possible.
Do you think that would have helped Mike get that loan?
BB:I don’t know. I think at that point I would’ve scrounged up whatever money I could, probably not from the bank, but I know from the loan officers at the banks position, it would not have hurt. It couldn’t hurt.
So which one of the dancers would you flash money for?
BB:Okay, I don’t know if I’d say, “No” to any one of them. That’s a tough one.
BB:Hmmmm. He does…
And let’s not forget Alex (Pettyfer), Adam (Rodriguez), oh and Kevin Nash. Maybe you’re more of a Tarzan fan?
BB:I gotta say it’s Matthew McConaughey, he blew me away. I was like, oh my god! The bongo drums, the whole thing. In the movie you don’t know if he’s going to dance or not, but his scenes I could not have imagined or come up with that in my mind. His personality came through. I said to my husband, I feel like we just spent an hour and a half with him. I would pay him just to play a song on the bongos with me and you know, wear something… flattering. [Laughs] Yeah. I’m going with McConaughey and I would have to assume he’d be one of those guys who has experience in everything.
Magic Mike is a Warner Bros. release in theaters now, and remember to check back later for the Breaking Bad portion of the BuzzFocus Betsy Brandt Interview.