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Dead To Me producers changed season 3 scenes to help with Christina Applegate’s diagnosis

Ali Condon

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Dead To Me producers changed season 3 scenes to help with Christina Applegate’s diagnosis

The team behind hit Netflix series Dead To Me had to make some adjustments to the latest third season to help with Christina Applegate's recent MS diagnosis.

Applegate, who stars as hardened widow Jen Harding, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2021, halfway through production of the show's third and final season.

The lifelong condition affects the brain and the spinal cord and can cause a vast range of symptoms including problems with vision, difficulty walking, muscle spasms, and numbness, no doubt putting serious pressure on the show's leading lady.

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After her diagnosis, production took a five-month hiatus and show bosses offered Applegate the choice to not resume filming.

But the Anchorman star decided to power through and wrap up the hit show.

In an interview with the New York Times, Applegate described her return to set as 'the hardest thing that I've ever done', explaining how she relied on a wheelchair to get around between scenes.

Since the third season dropped on Netflix, fans have noticed that the storyline might actually have worked in Applegate's favour, opening with her character Jen and partner in crime Judy (Linda Cardellini) recovering from a car accident that left season two on a cliffhanger.

Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in Dead to Me. Credit: Netflix.
Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in Dead to Me. Credit: Netflix.

The plot meant that Applegate's character was often seen struggling with her injuries, clinging to Judy for support, or being carried around by Ben (James Marsden).

Later in the show, Jen is seen regularly delivering lines from a chair, or while leaning up against a counter for support - a move that, series creator Liz Feldman says, was done for the actor's comfort.

"We didn’t change anything in the story, really anything in the script", Feldman told The Hollywood Reporter.

"Maybe there are scenes where she sits more or leans on a door or something like that but really pretty minimal.

"To me, Christina is who she’s always been from day one, which is a strong, hilarious, brilliantly talented, tenacious, incredibly supportive and protective den mother. Nothing changed in terms of her role on the show.

Small adjustments were made for Applegate to keep filming. Credit: Netflix
Small adjustments were made for Applegate to keep filming. Credit: Netflix

"That’s who she is, she’s the best no. 1 you could ever ask for and I can only hope to work with someone that amazing again."

She added that Applegate wanted to give the show closure 'and so we did it on her terms and I’m extremely proud of how it turned out.'

Applegate's co-star Cardellini added: "If she wanted to come back, if she didn’t want to come back, I just wanted her to make a decision that suited herself, not anybody else."

Seasons one to three of Dead To Me are available to stream now on Netflix.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Topics: Netflix, TV and Film, Health

Ali Condon
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