Entertainment: 'Dead To Me' showrunner says she told Christina Applegate her life was 'exponentially more important' than filming the final season after the actor received her MS diagnosis

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Christina Applegate in © Provided by INSIDER Christina Applegate in "Dead To Me." Saeed Adyani/Netflix
  • Liz Feldman told Christina Applegate her life was "more important" than filming.
  • Applegate was diagnosed with MS, yet she insisted on filming the final season of "Dead to Me."
  • Feldman said she did anything she could to accommodate the actor on set.

"Dead To Me" showrunner Liz Feldman opened up to Insider about her initial reaction to Christina Applegate's multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis while mid-production on the hit dramedy's third and final season.

"I told her in no uncertain terms, 'This is just a TV show and your life is exponentially more important,'" Feldman said in an interview ahead of the show's season three premiere.

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Applegate, however, has been clear with the press that she was steadfast in her determination to finish telling Jen Harding's story for Feldman, her costar Linda Cardellini, and the rest of the cast and crew of the show.

The "Married...With Children" star told Variety that when she received the news about her health in the summer of 2021, there was talk at Netflix of ending filming early, but Applegate wouldn't entertain it.

Liz Feldman at the © Unique Nicole/FilmMagic Liz Feldman at the "Dead To Me" season three premiere. Unique Nicole/FilmMagic

"They were gonna pull the plug, you know? Because it was like torture — and they felt like they were torturing me, too," Applegate told Variety reporter Kate Aurthur of the show's decision-makers. "But I was like, 'No, no, no, no, no, no: We have to finish this story. It's too important to our hearts; too important to our souls.'"

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Feldman told Insider that everyone on "Dead To Me" finished the show "on Christina's terms."

"So anything that she needed, she felt comfortable to ask for," the showrunner said. "And for me, I was willing to do anything to help her in any possible way to get through the filming."

Feldman confirmed previous reporting that sometimes Applegate held onto a door during a scene, so blocking was changed — but the story about two friends navigating grief and potential murder charges remained the same.

Christina Applegate on © Saeed Adyani/Netflix Christina Applegate on "Dead to Me." Saeed Adyani/Netflix

MS is a neurological disease that has varying symptoms that often affect 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.

Applegate told Variety that her recent diagnosis makes her a "newbie" to MS and she has to learn what she's "capable of."

Feldman told Insider that working with Applegate and Cardellini on "Dead To Me" season three as Applegate navigated her new limitations 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 told Insider. "And I'm just incredibly grateful to both of them for pouring their hearts and souls and everything they have into the show, because I think you can feel it when you watch it."

Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in © Netflix Linda Cardellini and Christina Applegate in "Dead To Me." Netflix

The writer also has a refreshing perspective on accessibility for people in the entertainment industry with disabilities and specific health needs.

"Anytime you're in a situation where somebody needs an accommodation, you make it. You do whatever your coworkers need to get their jobs done comfortably and safely," she said.

"Dead To Me" season three is now available to stream on Netflix.

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