'Dead to Me' showrunner says 'every single person' on set was crying during Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini's last take
- "Dead to Me" showrunner Liz Feldman picked a specific scene to shoot last.
- She told Insider that "every single person in the crew" was crying during the last take.
The third and final season of Netflix's hit dramedy "Dead to Me" was released on November 17, and its showrunner Liz Feldman confirmed in an interview with Insider that she picked a specific scene for the cast and crew to wrap their experience on.
In the series finale, protagonists Jen Harding (portrayed by Christina Applegate) and Judy Hale (portrayed by Linda Cardellini) took a trip to Mexico. Judy was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier in the season, and in one of their final scenes together, Judy told Jen that she was going to stay in Mexico, presumably to die.
The best friends, who met in a grief group and subsequently became entangled in murder mysteries together, were lying in bed together when Judy told Jen, "I've had the best time with you." The pair embrace and exchange "I love yous" while sobbing.
Feldman also directed the series finale and told Insider she chose to shoot that scene last because she knew it was going to be "so difficult" for everyone since Cardellini and Applegate's friendship off-screen was as real as the one viewers see between Judy and Jen.
Watching the pair perform the scene was "so absolutely brilliant and beautiful and tender and real" for Feldman that she didn't want to call cut. "I knew that as soon as I said 'cut,' that the show would be over."
"I went up to Christina and Linda at one point and I said, 'Well, we have it. We have it. So we can be done if you want.' And they looked at each other and they looked at me and they were like, 'Let's just do it one more time,'" Feldman recalled.
One of her own real-life best friends, Kelly Hutchinson, was a writer on "Dead to Me" and watched the final shot of the series with Feldman.
"And they're crying and we're crying and I look around and every single person in the crew is crying. And it was a pretty profound experience because after everything we've gone through to finish the season, that we had made it and we had made it together was incredibly special," Feldman said.
As previously reported, Applegate was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) while filming the show in the summer of 2021 and "Dead to Me" shut down production for five months.
MS is a neurological disease that has varying symptoms but often affects vision, speech, and mobility, according to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). It can also cause cognitive issues, including trouble with attention, memory, and concentration, the site reported.
Feldman recalled her response upon hearing Applegate's diagnosis: "I told her in no uncertain terms, 'This is just a TV show and your life is exponentially more important,'" she told Insider. Applegate chose to continue filming.
Feldman's show about grief taught her lessons about life
Feldman said that her experience filming "Dead to Me" with Applegate, Cardellini, and the entire cast and crew taught her an important lesson about Hollywood.
"It showed me that humanity and respect and care and specifically community care is possible in this business," she said.
The 45-year-old showrunner shared that she got the idea for the dramedy after experiencing an intense period of grief in her life because of infertility struggles and the death of loved ones within a short period of time.
She was dealing with the deaths of her cousin and multiple friends when her best friend came to celebrate her 40th birthday and told Feldman she was pregnant.
"I hugged her and I meant it. But two minutes later I took myself to the bathroom and I balled my eyes out because it obviously was a mirror for me to what I didn't have," she remembered. That experience is part of the reason why Jen experiences the joy of a new baby amid the grief of losing her friend.
"I don't know the meaning of life or how it all works, I just know that I constantly feel people who have gone around me in one way or another and I wanted to reflect that feeling," Feldman said.
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