Krysten Ritter Talks ‘Breaking Bad,’ Being the Bitch, and Playing the Best Friend
With a new series and a movie opening on Friday, it's about time you know who she is
By now, you’ve probably heard of Krysten Ritter — then again, maybe you haven’t. She’s the kind of actress who tends to slowly seep into the consciousness, making an impression without becoming a sensation, a sometimes preferable option at a time when ingénues disappear pretty fast (remember when Abbie Cornish was a big deal?). A refresher for those who kind of think they maybe recognize her: She played Jane on the second season of AMC’s Breaking Bad, where her character’s fate remains a huge plot point in the series. She was the quirky best friend — an underrated role (just ask Judy Greer) — in Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) and She’s Out of My League (2010). And this Friday, L!fe Happens opens, a film which she cowrote and stars in (alongside Kate Bosworth and Rachel Bilson) as Kim, an aggressively single woman whose style is significantly crimped by a baby. And finally, there’s Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, the mid-season ABC show with a tantalizingly clever title that airs Wednesdays and is a good bet for anyone who doesn’t already get their fix of faux-acrimonious roommates from Two Broke Girls.
Do you worry that Two Broke Girls beat Don’t Trust the B—- to the punch and the two shows will strike people as very similar?
I think it’s very different from Two Broke Girls. For me, this show is Tom and Jerry and that show is Laverne & Shirley. There’s room for both.
Your character Chloe would make a pretty unbearable roommate. Do you think her character will soften over time?
No. My character started off on the page as a bitch. She was fabulous, she was a switchblade, she was naked, she was dealing drugs, she was getting a kid drunk. It’s all there. That was the most important thing for me when I signed on, that she didn’t get softened and that she stayed who she is.
Last week, Two and a Half Men co-creator Lee Aronsohn quipped that television is reaching “peak vagina” and that there were enough female-driven shows. What do you say to that?
That kind of makes me want to cry. It’s a really stupid thing to say. Let’s hope it was taken out of context.
What prompted you to write L!fe Happens?
[Director] Kat [Coiro] and I were writing together and we wanted to do a female Swingers. Then she went and got pregnant and had a baby and that was our hallelujah moment.
Kim is not in an ideal situation to have a baby. Did you both consider showing your character grappling with the decision?
No, we didn’t want to get into that at all. We actually had this conversation with some development people early on, who were like, “Why does she have the baby?” and it just seemed like such a disgusting question to address. People have diametrically opposed opinions on the subject. Just because she’s not in a place on paper, why does that mean she should have an abortion? Why should we have a scene where she justifies why she wants to have this baby? I just think it’s uncool. We wanted to skip all the messy stuff. And by messy stuff I also mean the labor. Kat’s pet peeve is how childbirth is portrayed in movies where people are screaming and it’s psychotic. Those two issues felt icky.
Have you been keeping up with Breaking Bad? Do you think Jesse (Aaron Paul) will discover what really happened to your character?
Who knows. I can’t even try to predict that show. I don’t have TV so I’m a little behind, but I love it, besides the fact that I was on it, and I hope to go back before the end — you never know.
For a while there, you were showing up as the best friend in a couple of movies. Did you ever think you might get stuck playing the professional best friend?
At that point, I was just happy to have a job. I just wanted to be a working actress. But I don’t think I’m a professional best friend. It was only two movies.
What are your plans now that Don’t Trust the B—– is finished shooting?
I’m trying to figure that out. Right now I’m enjoying producing a pilot called Cassandra French’s Finishing School for Boys for MTV. It’s based on [Eric Garcia’s] book and it’s a completely different muscle. We’re casting and we hired a director and I’m enjoying not having to worry about hair and makeup. I really like doing other things. I hope to some day have a fully functioning production company.