Two actors were the first choices to play Walter White in AMC’s "Breaking Bad," with the show’s star, Bryan Cranston, not among them, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The producers initially wanted either John Cusack or Matthew Broderick, with both actors known for iconic roles in 1980s films — Cusack in "Say Anything …" and Broderick in "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off."
"We all still had the image of Bryan shaving his body in ‘Malcolm in the Middle’. We were like, ‘Really? Isn’t there anybody else?’" one executive recalled, according to the story.
When Cusack and Broderick both passed, creator Vince Gilligan showed executives an episode of Cranston’s performance in a 1998 "X-Files" episode in which he played a man suffering from radiation exposure. That helped change minds about Cranston, the story notes.
While the character originally was conceived as a 40-year-old, AMC asked for his age to be increased to 50 because "at 40 he’s a little too young to have this crisis," former AMC Vice President of production Vlad Wolynetz said. Cranston, now 56, has won three Emmys playing the character.