Actress Anna Gunn grew up in Santa Fe, N.M., immersed in the wild beauty of the desert. Today, her home base is in L.A.—but she still sees glimpses of her scenic hometown in Tinseltown. “I have wonderful hiking and mountain biking trails right out my back door, lots of wildlife,” says Gunn. “It reminds me a bit of Santa Fe.” She makes frequent trips there to film the role of Skyler White, wife to crystal meth-cooking Walter (Bryan Cranston), on AMC’s Breaking Bad. Gunn is also a veteran theater actress: She brilliantly originated the lead role of Sarah in Donald Margulies’ Time Stands Still, which premiered at Westwood’s Geffen Playhouse. In her free time, Gunn enjoys photography, skiing and seeing concerts under the stars.
Skyler is a difficult role, because she’s not always likable. What do you appreciate about her?
I like that Skyler is fierce in her protectiveness of her family, fierce in her love for them. I like the fighter in her.
Skyler has been acting out and misbehaving in recent episodes—”breaking bad,” as they say. Is it more fun to play “bad” Skyler?
It’s always more fun to play someone behaving badly or being a bit naughty than someone who’s squeaky clean. The conflicts that arise inside of Skyler this season are fascinating because she is forced into a corner, forced into an impossible position by Walt and she has to take on the role of “the bad guy” in her family. And the pain of having to assume that role starts to make her do things and act in ways that go completely against the grain of the person she’s been up to this point. She does indeed start to “break bad” in big ways.
When you get time off from filming, how do you spend it?
I love to eat at the Hungry Cat in Hollywood—my absolute favorite. They have the finest and most inventive cocktails in town as well as amazing seafood. I’m a huge fan of the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood, a fairly decadent moviegoing experience. And nothing beats sitting out under the stars with a picnic and a bottle of wine and listening to great music at the Hollywood Bowl in the summertime.
You have two young daughters. What do you enjoy doing together?
I love to pack a picnic and take my girls to one of the out-of-the-way Malibu beaches that have wonderful coves and some pretty challenging waves. Sometimes we’ll head to the Santa Monica Pier and rent bikes, and ride the silly rides and eat cotton candy. We also love to go to Griffith Park for the carousel and the trains, and they also have a wonderful playground called Shane’s Inspiration. In the winter, we like to head up to the nearest mountains for some sledding and snowman building. There’s nothing like frolicking in the snow in the morning and then coming back to 70-degree sunshine in the afternoon!
You are a longtime theater actress. Where do you like to see shows?
I love going to the theater as much as my schedule allows. I take my daughters a lot. We’ve seen everything from American Ballet Theatre doing Romeo and Juliet at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to Cats at the Pantages. I go to see my friends in shows at wonderful, small 99-seat theaters like the Matrix Theatre Company, and I really enjoy seeing new works at places like the Geffen.
ArcLight Cinemas 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, 323.464.4226 / Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 135 N. Grand Ave., downtown, 213.972.7211 / Geffen Playhouse 10886 Le Conte Ave., Westwood, 310.208.5454 / Griffith Park 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, L.A., 323.913.4688 / Hollywood Bowl 2301 N. Highland Ave, Hollywood, 323.850.2000 / The Hungry Cat 1535 N. Vine St., Hollywood, 323.462.2155 / Matrix Theatre Company 7657 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.852.1445 / Pantages Theater 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323.468.1770 / Santa Monica Pier 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, 310.458.8900