Home Entertainment Anna Gunn Reflects on the Changing Perception of Skyler White in Breaking Bad

Anna Gunn Reflects on the Changing Perception of Skyler White in Breaking Bad


Actress Anna Gunn discusses the transformation of public perception towards her character, Skyler White, in Breaking Bad. Gunn reflects on the initial backlash and the shift in attitudes over time, highlighting the progress made in combating misogyny and understanding complex female characters.

The Changing Perception of Skyler White in Breaking Bad

Throughout its run, Breaking Bad introduced a myriad of morally ambiguous characters, but none faced more backlash than Skyler White, Walter White’s wife. However, over time, the public’s perception of the character has shifted, and actress Anna Gunn, who portrayed Skyler, recently discussed this transformation in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Anna Gunn Reflects on the Changing Perception of Skyler White in Breaking Bad - 1849458635

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Gunn acknowledges that during the show’s airing from 2008 to 2013, she received significant hate for her character. Most of this negativity was confined to online platforms, but it occasionally escalated into threatening or violent comments. Concerned about the situation, Gunn felt compelled to address the issue and not be bullied by it. In response, she penned an op-ed for The New York Times titled ‘I Have a Character Issue,’ where she candidly discussed the vitriolic response Skyler inspired.

Reflecting on that period, Gunn now believes that much of the hate she received was rooted in misogyny. However, she also notes that attitudes have changed significantly over the past decade. While there is still progress to be made, Gunn emphasizes that seismic changes have occurred. Nowadays, when people approach her, their sentiments are vastly different. Many viewers credit her character as the linchpin of the show and the conscience that drew them in. Others admit that upon revisiting the series, they realized the complexity and challenges Skyler faced.

Breaking Bad Creator Condemns Backlash Against Skyler White

The intense dislike for both Skyler and Gunn is something even Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan has condemned. In a 2022 interview with the New Yorker, Gilligan expressed his discomfort with the backlash, stating that Skyler’s character did not deserve it, and Gunn portrayed her beautifully.

Gunn recalls writing the op-ed as a cathartic experience, allowing her to say what needed to be said and find peace with the situation. When asked if the hate prevented her from appearing in the spinoff Better Call Saul, Gunn states that she was not particularly afraid of it. However, she speculates that the writers may have struggled to find a suitable way to include her character in the story.

Interestingly, Gunn shares that the writers themselves felt remorseful about the hate directed towards Skyler. They would approach her, apologizing for the situation. This paradox highlights the audience’s love for antiheroes and their desire to rebel against authority, while Skyler, as the voice of reason, was the only character consistently calling out the lies.

Anna Gunn’s Compelling Performance as Skyler White

In conclusion, Anna Gunn’s portrayal of Skyler White on Breaking Bad initially faced severe backlash and unwarranted hate. However, as time has passed, public perception has shifted, and Gunn now receives recognition for her compelling performance. The changing attitudes reflect the progress made in society, although there is still work to be done in combating misogyny and understanding complex female characters.

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