It’s a good thing Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan didn’t grant Dean Norris his wish and kill off his character, Hank Schrader, during the first eight episodes of the AMC show’s final season last summer. Otherwise we may never have known just how much thinking a man does on the toilet.
For those who aren’t caught up we won’t spoil what was one of the season’s great moments, but suffice to say, Hank will be a huge factor in the show’s final eight instalments.
That’s exactly why Gilligan didn’t let Norris out of his contract when he asked for his character to be killed off. In a recent interview with National Post, Norris admitted he really wanted out in order to do a comedy pilot, but unless Hank bit the bullet, he wouldn’t be able to do it.
“I called Vince and I said, ‘Hey man, maybe Hank should die in the first eight. Wouldn’t that be a great ending?’” the actor told the publication from the show’s set in Albuquerque, N.M. “When they originally picked up the 16 [episodes] I thought, ‘Great, I can do a pilot, do the 16 and then be free to do a show.’ And then at some point f—ing whoever decided they were going to split it into two eights so it cut me off from doing a pilot — and I had a pilot I wanted to do.”
The actor was denied his request in Gilligan’s “nice Southern way” when the showrunner explained that he needed him for the back eight.
“I couldn’t force him to do it because I have a contract I’d have to get out of,” Norris added. “It was either do eight episodes or do 24 and I’ve got five kids, man.”
Since his time on Breaking Bad, Norris has landed a handful of guest-starring roles on network dramas, including The Mentalist, Law & Order: Los Angeles, CSI: NY, Castle and Body of Proof.
Norris isn’t the only cast member looking to move on now that the award-winning show is ending. The actor’s onscreen wife, Betsy Brandt, has been cast opposite Michael J. Fox in his new NBC sitcom, while Anna Gunn, who plays Skyler, the wife of Bryan Cranston’s character, has been tapped to play the lead in Bravo’s new pilot Rita.