On Breaking Bad, actor Jesse Plemons portrayed Todd Alquist, initially a low-level associate of Walter White who turns out to be far more dangerous than anyone ever anticipated. Like many other actors from the award-winning series, Plemons had the opportunity to revisit his character in the sequel movie, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. He spoke to GQ about developing Todd’s character over the series’ fifth and final season.
Plemons reveals that he discovered Todd’s character as he grew into the role because he wasn’t given much to start with from series creator Vince Gilligan. He explains:
“All I had in the beginning to work with was a small breakdown: That he’s fresh-faced and eager to please… He seems harmless but there’s something deep inside there.
So then, I got the part and no one would really tell me anything, since I was a recurring character and not a regular. You don’t really learn much about him the first few episodes. The only directions I really got in those early days from Vince [Gilligan] was moments before I shoot that kid on the bike at the end of the train episode. He came up to me and said “OK, so if you’re driving and a raccoon runs out in front of you, you have two choices: You can swerve to the right and drive into a ditch, or you can swerve left into oncoming traffic: What do you do?” And I stood there for a second, thinking there was more to it, but that was it. That’s what I got”
Once Uncle Jack comes into the picture, I started thinking about it a bit more. I think Todd’s mother was not the best. I think Todd is just missing some… crucial… crucial part of his human makeup that allows him to grasp his actions, really, He does show empathy at certain times, but if he can rationalize something terrible, there’s not a second thought.