‘Breaking Bad’s’ Cranston on His Role

Mar 1, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Bryan Cranston, who won the drama series actor Emmy this year for “Breaking Bad,” says he’s just starting to get into his character.
Bryan Cranston
“We start off with a real bang with the season opener, where his life is literally threatened and how he narrowly escapes from that,” Mr. Cranston said. “But it’s also requiring him to develop another lie, and that begets another lie on top of that. And so the noose is tightening around his neck.”
Mr. Cranston said one reason he took the role was because of the way character Walt White, science teacher turned meth dealer, changes throughout the series.
Creator Vince Gilligan speaks of changing Mr. Chips into Scarface. With the character’s training in chemistry, the show tosses a little MacGyver into the mix, too.
“I was absolutely enthralled by that. His job, of course, is to figure out a way to justifiably make that metamorphosis from that milquetoast sweet brainiac kind of guy to a hardened criminal and drug dealer, and it was so much a challenge just in hearing that that I had to be involved with this,” the actor said.
Mr. Cranston didn’t become an actor to win awards, “or to become rich or to have all kinds of women and fast cars and drugs,” he jokes. “Those things just came, and I’m very fortunate.”
Despite his success, he’s able to find a way to play a very desperate character.
“I think when I play him, I keep feeling that I am backed into a corner. And now because of my decision there’s no going back. Once you’ve killed a man—and I know this in real life—once you’ve killed a man and you’ve tasted the sweet blood of someone else’s demise, you realize you can’t change things and easily go back, so he’s struggling with that.”
With “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men,” AMC is beginning to build a reputation in Hollywood.
“I’m talking to other showrunners and producers, and they’re asking me what’s it like, what’s it like, what’s it like,” Mr. Cranston said. “And I say it’s the greatest place, because first of all, of course, everybody would love to have millions and millions of people watching every week, but their primary concern is to make it the best.”
Last season “Breaking Bad” was cut short by the Writers Guild of America strike. This year, it’s the Screen Actors Guild making a strike a constant possibility.
“I think it’s a very bad time to be talking about a labor dispute,” Mr. Cranston said.
“It’s disappointing from an actor’s point of view. I’m a strong supporter of my union. I just hope that cooler heads prevail and that we realize where we are in this period of time and take a different tack.”


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