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Archive for September, 2009

Bryan Cranston on Travel & Sports

Bryan Cranston plays in Hollywood AllStars Softball Game 2004Bryan has done many interviews this year promoting Breaking Bad but these interviews from USA TODAY, and THR focus on Bryan’s travel habits, his love for sport and ‘celebrity’ respectively.

Traveling with the Stars: Bryan Cranston
by Gary Strauss – 3 July 2009 – USA TODAY

Q: Where have you been recently that you liked or were surprised by?

A: Prague, Czech Republic. I’m designing my own new “green” home, so I’ve been very interested in all architecture the last few years. Prague is (nearly) entirely preserved with Old World European design, right down to the cobblestone streets. The few odd Soviet-era buildings stick out like sore thumbs, but allow you to appreciate — even more — the charm of the city’s original architectural influences. A great walking city to get lost in.

Q: What’s the best place you’ve ever visited?

A: For emotional reasons, I would say Oxford, Great Britain. I was very interested in developing a relationship with a young actress named Robin, who was enrolled for the summer at the famed university. I made a picnic lunch, rented a boat, and took her “punting” on the Thames River. The English tradition eluded me. I couldn’t figure out how to propel or steer the boat with this long pole (punt) without getting soaking wet. The gaffe brought chiding from the locals and a smile from my date. A sympathetic Brit finally yelled out; “Hey, Yank, use it as a ruddah,” which I didn’t grasp until I translated his thick accent into “rudder.” With the correction made, we floated away on our date. It must have worked; Robin and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year.

Q: What’s the most surprising/unexpected place you’ve ever visited?

A: Heading to Mexico to shoot a TV pilot several years ago, I really only hoped that the hotel would be decent. I had never been to Cabo San Lucas before, so I assumed it was going to be like other bustling, touristy-type Mexican resorts. I was supposed to be in a central hotel, but when we stopped to drop off another actor, at an old hotel miles from downtown, I fell in love with the place. The Hotel Palmilla turned out to be famous. Frequent visitors like Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and others of that ilk, made it a getaway. No TV, no gift shop, one phone (in the lobby), just pure beauty of the Sea of Cortez, and a great restaurant/bar. A perfect place to unwind from the fast pace of Los Angeles. Within three days I was completely on “Cabo time.”

Q: What’s your favorite vacation spot?

A : Considering the two general types of vacations — adventure, artistic, historic: Italy. Relaxing, decompression: Bora Bora.

Q: Can you offer an insider tip or recommendation for your favorite vacation place?

A: Italy. First timers may want to book a tour to give them an overview of the country’s highlights. Venice, Florence, Rome, Capri. After your indoctrination, on a second or third visit, I suggest exploring the idea of renting a Tuscan house and get to know the culture by staying in one place, buying and making your own food, meeting new friends, and take day trips to small villages. Sublime.

Bora Bora. First advice is not to get stuck in busy, commercial Papeete, the capital of Tahiti. Bora Bora is part of the archipelago under the French Polynesian flag, so it has that European feel added to the food and culture. Bora Bora is protected by a natural coral reef. You must stay in one of the many bungalows that are on stilts right on the water. Daily we would step out of our comfortable room and step off into the water…delightful. It is majestic beauty. What I imagine Hawaii was like before capitalism took over.

‘Breaking Bad’ star bleeds Dodger blue
by Jim Wilkie – 4 March 2009 –

Portraying a dying high school chemistry teacher who cooks crystal meth in an attempt to leave his family with enough financial support once he’s dead has helped veteran actor Bryan Cranston understand baseball’s steroid users a little better.

Both scenarios raise questions of “what if?” that challenge a person’s moral character. What if you had only a year or two left to live, how would you spend your final days? What if reaching your lifelong dream of a major league baseball career could be aided by a chemical boost?

Cranston, a lifelong Los Angeles Dodgers fan, has his own hypothetical questions about the direction of his life. He has carved out an impressive acting career that has included parts in movies “Saving Private Ryan” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” roles on renowned TV shows such as “Seinfeld” and “The X Files” and perhaps his best-known character, Hal the eccentric dad, in “Malcolm in the Middle.”

Now he has landed on the dark and riveting AMC series “Breaking Bad” (to air Sundays at 10 p.m.) and was rewarded with the Emmy award for outstanding lead actor in a drama series last year. Surely, hitting it out of the park as the troubled Walter White is greater than any feats on the baseball field Cranston might have achieved with more motivation, but he still can wonder.

Before Season 2 of “Breaking Bad” premieres March 8, Cranston spoke on the phone last month with’s The Life about the series, his love of sports and more.

The Life: First off, congratulations on the Emmy.

Cranston: Thanks, it was a great surprise and a fun night.

The Life: What was that feeling after being nominated before but never winning?

Cranston: Yeah, I kinda got used to not winning [laughs]. … It was one of … you know, it was like, “Oh, OK, that’s nice to be nominated and be invited to the dance. I didn’t get to dance, but that’s OK.”

And then having your name actually read out is one of those moments when for a millisecond you go through three or four different emotions like, “That name sounds familiar. Whoa, oh my God, that’s my name. No, it can’t be my name. Was it my name?” And you’re, “What? Ooh, ah, ah! …”

And you’re walking up to the stage to give a speech, and you realize “Oh my God, I’m woefully unprepared for this moment.” And you just wish that you can put together a sentence that makes sense and that you don’t come off looking like a total boob. And then you’ve always got to remember to thank your wife. That’s the most important thing.

The Life: You must have been in the midst of filming the second season of “Breaking Bad,” because you looked your best with your shaved head.

Cranston: Yes, skinny bald man. That’s an attractive look, isn’t it?

The Life: But a good accessory with the statuette, anyway.

Cranston: Yes, I became much better looking with an Emmy in my hands than without.

The Life: It’s oftentimes such a dark show with graphic nature and subject matter. What’s your wife think of this role?

Cranston: When I got the script for “Breaking Bad.” I read it cover to cover, and that’s rare. Usually you get pilot scripts and you start reading and you go, “Ohhh, boy, all right, it’s the doctor who’s having his troubles keeping his staff in order. Oh, God.”

You go get a cup of coffee, and then you come back and you read a little more. And then you make a phone call, then you read a little more. This one I started reading and just had me right from the top. The first episode, I don’t know if you saw our pilot episode, it read just like that: “A middle-aged man wearing only tighty-whiteys and a respirator driving madly in the desert. Inside the RV behind him: two dead bodies sliding back and forth in a slosh of chemicals …”

And I’m going, “What, what, what the hell is going on?” It had you from that moment all the way through. I finished it; I got on the phone right away and I said, ‘Get me in to see him [“Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan].'”

And they said, “Yeah, he wants to meet you. He knows you from “X Files.”

And I went, “He does?” … And I didn’t remember him. But he wrote an episode that I did in “X Files.” And then I saw his face and I’m like, “Yeah, I do remember that face.”

We sat down, we talked, and our 20-minute scheduled meeting turned out to be an hour and a half. And we just batted back and forth what we thought about the character, what we thought about the show. And we hit it off, and from that point on he was my champion to get the role.

I then gave the script to my wife and said, “Before you read this, know that it shoots in New Mexico.”

She said “OK” [and read it]. She tossed it back and she said, “S—!”

So she knew it was something I had to do. It was a game-changer in the sense of my career. It allowed me an opportunity to not only start to erase my character, Hal of “Malcolm in the Middle,” but explode it, blow it up into little pieces, because you know it completely forced people to see me in a different way. And I’m so grateful for that.

And to answer your question what my wife thinks of it, she — like most women — she’s attracted to the emotional aspect of it. When my wife on the show, Anna Gunn, and the emotional connection that we make and her finding out about the lies and so … they’re very much sisters in that sense because she’s interested in the same things.

The Life: You kind of touched on one of my next questions that after “Malcolm in the Middle,” how did you happen into this role, and was it a conscious decision to make this dramatic shift in your next series?

Cranston: The thing is, it’s not that cut-and-dry. To get one series to be a success is a wonderful gift that very, very few actors ever get to enjoy. To get two, now I know what Lee Trevino feels like. Being struck by lightning twice. And that’s what it feels like. It’s like, “What? Are you kidding me? OK …”

So I’ve never had — and I hope I never will develop — a sense of entitlement that I feel that I’m owed this, or that I deserve this. No one deserves [this]. It’s like, “Are you kidding me?” This is such a gift, I am so lucky and blessed to be able to have these opportunities. And I know my fellow actors, that’s all we really want is the opportunity to get in the door to show what you can do and to be allowed to perform. And I’ve been given it, so I’m very grateful.

The Life: You mentioned blowing up your character, Hal. Was there a fear you were going to be typecast as sort of a goofy dad?

Cranston: Sure, oh yeah, absolutely. Not fear in the sense that it was up to me. I would then have to have the courage to reject any kind of goofy dad role. And I did.

So that’s hard, because what happens is you’ve done something, and you’ve received some attention by it, meaning that you’ve done pretty well at it, then people are going to come at you with the same kind of thing. And they were. I was offered pilots. [They said] “Oh, it’s perfect for him. It’s just like the guy in ‘Malcolm in the Middle.'” And I had the same reaction you did. I said, “Well … thank you, but I did that. And I’m not interested.”

And some are dumbfounded. “Why? He’d be perfect. No, it’s just exactly right for him.” And it’s like, “No, no, no, he’s done that, he doesn’t want to do that anymore.”

Quite frankly, it would just be redundant because I wouldn’t know how to do a sweet, goofy dad any differently than what I did for seven years.

The Life: It’s gut-wrenching to watch at times …

Cranston: “Malcolm”? (laughs)

The Life: No, but he got himself into some trouble, too. Could you see Hal’s life spiraling to the point of cooking crystal meth?

Cranston: His life spiraled out of control almost every episode emotionally, yeah.

The Life: “Breaking Bad” is so gut-wrenching and disturbing, but fortunately it tosses in a good amount of humor at times. But is it draining at the end of the day after going through what Walt goes through?

Cranston: Oh, yeah. You know I’m older now. It’s emotionally draining, physically. … It’s a very physically demanding show. I’m running all the time and hoisting people up and fighting, oh my God. … Yeah, it is. And so that’s just the logistics of shooting an hourlong drama. It’s very demanding, and I have the lead role, which I’m grateful for, but it’s more demanding on my time.

So you become very pragmatic in the sense that you protect your weekends. And my weekends become very, very important to me that it’s not just a way to get away from shooting the character, but also I need the down time. I need to shut down and rest in order to be ready for Monday.

Because when we go to work, I’m there at least a minimum of 13 hours a day, you know, usually 14, but at least 13. And that’s draining. You have to really know how to pace yourself and whatnot.

So you know, [I’m] grateful to do it, grateful I have it, but reasonable in the sense that I know myself and I know what I have to do to prepare for it physically.

The Life: Are there things you can relate to, as a father and a husband, in terms of what lengths Walter is going through for the sake of his family.

Cranston: I think that’s the universal question that “Breaking Bad” brings up. And I think it’s one that we’ve been asked before. “If you had a year to live, how would you live it?”

Other people would travel and I would do this … and Bryan would probably do that. He would just be with family, travel, see some friends, eat at the best restaurants, stay at the best hotels, just experience things and do it as long as you can. … Travel to everywhere where my friends are and visit with them for periods of time and hopefully stay healthy as long as you can and kick out.

And that’s what Walt is doing. Walt is doing what he feels is the best thing that he can do. And that, when given this set of circumstances that he has a year to two to live … and who knows only a year of that or less is going to be healthy? And his wife is going to clean up after him and empty his bedpan and wipe his drool, but then he still dies and then on top of that, he leaves them penniless. It’s just a legacy he doesn’t want to leave. It’s not something that anyone wants to be known by. And so, with that condition, he makes this desperate decision to use his chemistry background to do the only thing he thinks at the time he can do. And just, for the first time in his life, be selfish. Think of doing something for your family, and then check out.

Yes, it’s a very irrational decision for a very rational man. But I believed it, given the set of circumstances, and then what he doesn’t realize is the world he’s entering into he doesn’t have the skill set for this. He’s a scientist. Everything is black-and-white, everything is orderly, you put this amount with this, and you have this reaction. … Well, now he’s in a world that has no rules that is filled with people, not of scientists, but people of greed and ego. And they will literally kill you and … he’s woefully underestimated what he has done, and now he has to deal with it.

I think dramatically, that is very appealing. And so you see this fish out of water, this man who is just trying to do something for his family. He knows it’s bad. He keeps the blinders on because he knows what he is doing is wrong. He just feels if he can just do it for a little bit, it won’t have that much damage. He’s fooling himself, of course, but he’s hoping that’s the case. And then just get out and hopefully his family won’t have the hardships that he suffered.

The Life: There are some searing images in “Breaking Bad” — Walt wearing the tighty-whiteys standing in the desert from the pilot, and [spoiler alert] the supermarket scene early in Season 2. So, will you be upping the ante by Season 3? Are viewers prepared for what’s next?

Cranston: How much more revealing can I be? (Laughs.) Literally and figuratively. You know, Jim, it’s an interesting thing. When they pitched that, they said, “Well, we can try to … We’ll have a cover, we’ll have this. …”

And I said, “You know what, let’s just do it.” All I cared about, let’s just make sure nobody has their cell phone cameras out and that sort of thing, because we don’t want stuff like that to get out.

So once you buy into it and you say, “You know what, this is what the character had to do to try to mask that he lost his mind temporarily, he had to go to that extreme, it made sense. And so OK, I’m willing to do that. And it’s a risqué show, so let’s do that.” So it really wasn’t that difficult a decision to make because it just seemed to make sense. So I was willing to do it.

The Life: Switching gears a bit; I’ve read that before acting, you would have preferred a career in baseball. How far did you get with that?

Cranston: I could have become a professional baseball player, but I fell short in one area, and that hurt greatly.

The Life: What area?

Cranston: Uh, talent. … Yeah, just didn’t have the talent. But I loved baseball and I loved football, too. I went to Canoga Park High School and I had enough physical athletic ability to be able to be out there, but I didn’t get the association of the work ethic at the time. Of the need to work hard during practice. I was just kind of going through the paces. I never really applied myself, and in retrospect, I have a regret in that I missed out on a lot of opportunities because I was going through a difficult time: My parents were getting divorced and that sort of thing. It was like, “I don’t quite know what’s going on, I don’t know what to do. …” It was just kind of a period where life really slowed down for me and I was confused, and so I regret that, I regret not having that experience of being able to see what I could do.

I’m not saying that even if I applied myself I would have been a varsity star or something, but it would have been interesting for me now to see if I had really put an effort together how far could I have gotten. I don’t know. I don’t think that I had the talent that a lot of other friends of mine at school had, but I think I would have enjoyed it more.

The Life: That’s interesting you said you still regret it, considering the success you’ve had as an actor.

Cranston: Well, I think there are areas you look at like, you know, we could look at the way we handled breaking up with an old girlfriend with regret, right? You go, “Yeah, I was kind of a d— doing that; I just said, ‘Yeah, you know, I’m over this.’ Ohhh, that’s kind of an awful way to put something.” … I mean, if we’ve matured, I think we can then be honest with ourselves and say “Yeah, I do have some regrets in some areas of the way I behaved or the way I handled myself or the way I didn’t apply myself or that sort of thing.”

And I think, interestingly enough, my persona non grata in high school — and, I mean, nobody knew me in high school. I was like a wallflower. I was introverted; I was shy; I didn’t apply myself; I did what I could to get a C; I didn’t work any harder than that. I mean, so, I wasn’t into it.

And so, in retrospect, I look at that and I go … I was even left out of the yearbook. Not because I didn’t pay the fee and we took the picture and everything … they just forgot me. That was the explanation. “Oh, I see your application, I see you paid, I see your picture. … We just … it fell through the cracks.”

And I was devastated at the time because I thought, “Oh my God, it’s like I was never here.” Then I thought, “No, this is perfect, I never was here really.”

And then I think maybe in some way, that started me on a path of saying, “Is this going to be my life? Or am I going to make something out of myself?” And I think that’s when it started to happen for me, that I started to really work towards doing something and going after something. And I was very fortunate to find acting as that path and what I discovered is that I wanted to pursue something that I loved to do and hopefully become good at as opposed to pursuing something I’m good at and hopefully fall in love with.

So that was the distinction, and it wasn’t until after two years of junior college and thinking I was going to be a policeman and, “No, I’m not going to do that and what else am I going to do?” And just traveling around the country for a couple of years that I finally was able to get to the point at age 22, 23 of what I wanted to do.

And I’m now in my 30th year as a professional actor, and I’m very grateful that I found that.

The Life: So, growing up in Southern California, are you a big Dodgers fan?

Cranston: Huge. Huge Dodgers fan. Yes.

The Life: As a kid, what are your favorite memories of the Dodgers?

Cranston: I remember going to, actually, the Coliseum before Dodger Stadium was built in 1962. I’ll be 53 in another couple of weeks, so I remember that when I was very young.

And then I grew up with Dodger Stadium. It was my home, and I knew certain things, even when times were rough or things not going well in school or my parents splitting up or whatever the case may be. I could always depend on the smell of the grass, listening to Vin Scully’s voice to bring back a sense of calm and safety. And it was that to me. It represented something, a touchstone, that was always there that I could always go to in times of trouble, and it was there for me.

I really grew to passionately love the game for those reasons, for what it meant to me, not just physically but emotionally. It’s that important. And when Vin Scully finally retires, it will be a very sad day for me.

The Life: Who were your favorite players growing up?

Cranston: I was a big Sandy Koufax fan, for style and grace. And I was a big Don Drysdale fan for just brute aggression. So those two pitchers growing up in the most influential time of my life in the ’60s, they were the best one-two punch that I could imagine.

It represented both sides of who I felt I was. There was a certain amount of decorum and honor that you display and sportsmanship, and that’s what I felt Sandy represented. And then there was the fierce competitor and just bulldog mentality that Don Drysdale brought forward. And each were successful. So it’s like, maybe if you can combine the two … so I guess those were my big heroes.

But it was really fun because the ’60s had that group and you know with Wes Parker and others and Lou Johnson coming in in the ’70s. And then later in the late ’70s you had, of course, [Bill] Russell, [Davey] Lopes, [Steve] Garvey and [Ron] Cey and all that group. And then later you had [Fernando] Valenzuela and now we have more kids, you know. So it’s like every decade we have a new group of Dodgers that I can get behind, and these kids are exciting to watch now, too.

The Life: The big question is, should they bring Manny Ramirez back or not? What do you think?

Cranston: If you come to accept the economics, how can you deny what this man has done? I mean for two months he just crushed everything. And he’s a Hall of Famer. I think, absolutely, I do. And I think the only delay has been more of the economic condition that our country finds ourself in. I think [agent] Scott Boras was like, “Wow!” He didn’t expect this. I think Scott Boras would say later on, “I had no idea that even with a talent like Manny Ramirez we would have such limited opportunities.”

But the economic environment is such that it’s affected everything, even America’s pastime. But personally, yeah, I think they should bring him back.

The Life: It certainly would give the team a better identity.

Cranston: A better identity, but also I think it’s infectious. I think the younger hitters, they start watching him. They go, “What makes him so much better than me? What is it?” You know, and they start watching or talk to him and get an idea and perhaps make an adjustment here and there.

It’s like the same thing what they said if you had Greg Maddux on your pitching staff. You maybe only get eight or 10 wins out of him, but what he does for the young pitchers, you can’t pay enough for that, bringing confidence or style or sense of history, experience, you know, it’s fantastic. So I was sorry to see him retire.

The Life: It’s still early with spring training just starting, but what are your expectations for this year after making it to the National League Championship Series last year?

Cranston: I’m dubious about this year. I mean, pitching is everything, and I just don’t think they have it this year. Unless they make some quick changes, I don’t see them doing that. I think Arizona is going to win the West because of their pitching. Another year for their young hitting talent to mature, so I think they’re going to make their move and win that.

Colorado seems to be an anomaly now, an apparition, their World Series appearance. Because I don’t think they have the pitching either. As much boppers as they had, I don’t think that’s gonna do it.

San Diego is in a complete rebuilding.

San Francisco, I don’t know. If you’re old, come to San Francisco. Randy Johnson, come to San Francisco. You know it’s like, what? I don’t understand that. I don’t get that. So I don’t think they’re going to be in the picture, either.

So I think it’s going to be Arizona. If the Dodgers can stay close, they might have a run near the end. But again there are talented teams in the East. And I think you’re gonna see your wild card come out of there again.

And Chicago looks stronger this year as far as the Central. So I think you’re going to see Chicago and the Mets might bounce back because, quite frankly, I didn’t think that Philadelphia was all that solid up and down the lineup, and their pitching. So I think you’re going to see the Mets come back and win it. Chicago in the Midwest. Arizona in the West. That’s my guess.

In the American League, how can you go against the Yankees? They’ve just clobbered everybody in the free-agent world. With the nucleus, not to mention who they already had, I don’t see them not winning this thing. I think they will win the East. And it’s going to be a dogfight to see if Tampa Bay can do what they did last year. Boston’s always going to be there. So you’re going to see those three teams battle for the wild card.

The Life: With your schedule, do you make it out to as many games as you’d like?

Cranston: Well, my schedule has it where I leave late June and I get to Albuquerque. Last year I saw the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Triple-A farm club for the Marlins, play several games. Because it’s baseball. If you love baseball; I just want to see baseball.

Minor leagues are great because these kids have a dream they’re still working toward. And they’re playing their hearts out. So it’s great to see that.

What’s really good is that Albuquerque has become the home of the Triple-A Dodgers affiliate again. So the Isotopes will now be a Dodger affiliate once again. Years ago they were the Albuquerque Dukes, and so now they are going to be a Dodger affiliate, so I’ll get to see young Dodgers. I’m so thrilled. I’ll be out at the stadium on any night I can.

The Life: So you’ll be there from late June until when?

Cranston: Late June, and I’ll be there through the middle of December. I’ll miss everything after the first two months of the season.

The Life: Not working for Fox anymore, you can’t use those perks of prime playoff seats?

Cranston: Damn it!

I still have some friends. I still have some friends who say hey. … But it would mean that I’d have to get out of … but I’m working. So I’d have to fly out quickly for a weekend and see the game. Of course I would do that for a World Series and stuff like that.

So, yeah, I’ll sniff around, of course. Absolutely.

The Life: Is it true your wife threw a surprise 40th birthday party for you at Dodger Stadium?

Cranston: It was great. She blindfolded me, so I knew that I was either going to be shot and killed and left dumped in the desert or a nice surprise place. And so I was fortunate that it was the latter.

It was great. And to be at this place that has meant so much to me growing up and then having all my friends there, it was just fantastic. It was really, really a great surprise.

The Life: How did she pull that one off?

Cranston: I think it was easy, because I was out of town for a few weeks working and so she had free reign to be able to plan it without me knowing anything. And then I got back just in time two days before the birthday party, and boom! Then it happened, and I was like “What? Whoo!”

The Life: Has your celebrity status allowed you any other perks in regards to the Dodgers?

Cranston: Yeah, we did the Hollywood Stars games. I would go onto the field and actually play. Now they do softball, but when I first started doing the Hollywood Stars, it was like, oh, it’s hardball, you’re out there playing. It was fun.

I have a picture of myself, I’m looking at it right now, a big panoramic view, I’m playing third base. Jonathan Silverman is the shortstop, and he’s a very good ballplayer. And, yeah, it was great times.

The Life: So what are your thoughts about steroids and baseball?

Cranston: I use steroids when I act, it just makes me act better.

It’s a shame. And I do believe that it was just part of the norm that you know if you can get an edge. There’s so much pressure on these kids. I can’t say I don’t fault them, but I understand.

You know, much like my character, you think of Walt White. Why is he doing what he’s doing? Well, it’s reprehensible, yes, but I kind of understand it, right?

The feeling you have of what he’s doing. And I feel the same thing about A-Rod or whoever it might be, where I can’t condone it, but I get it. I see that they have, “This is all I wanted to do ever in my life. I have a window of opportunity.”

Especially, I see it more from the guys who are on the fringe. If you are a good ballplayer and a professional and you’re in the minor leagues and you think that taking a steroid for a year would get you to the major leagues and you might not get there otherwise. How can that not be the biggest temptation of your life?

And, remember, you’re only 20 years old. You’re very young. So you’re just desperate to fulfill your dream. And I can understand it. And so I think if you understand it, then there needs to be a place for sympathies that you can get why they’re doing it.

Still, you can’t condone it and you can’t permit it, but you understand it. So I don’t think that the initial punishments should be as harsh. I read in the paper where Big Papi says you should be banned for a year. And you know from his point of view I can see why because, “Man, I’m playing clean. Why should I be penalized by a pitcher who’s taking it, firing BB’s 98 miles an hour when without it he’d probably throw a 90-mile-an-hour fastball, and I’d hit it out of the park?”

And I get that, too. He’s diminishing my numbers and my legacy because he’s juiced up. And so it’s a tough, tough thing and I can see both sides. And I just hope they get it to where it’s not a choice. It’s banned, it’s checked, everybody is on the same level playing field, and it’s not possible to be available anymore.

The Life: You touched on where I was leading to in equating it with Walter in that, although obviously he’s compromised far bigger moral issues, but he justifies it in his own mind, and he has good reasons for it.

Cranston: Yes, exactly. And it didn’t even dawn on me to make that analogy, but I think it’s the same thing. You root for the man, Walt. He means well. He’s a good man who’s making bad decisions, so you can find yourself rooting for him. But you root for him to make good decisions. “Come on, get it together, dumbass.” And you want to smack him in the head and say, “You’re gonna get caught! Don’t you realize that. Stop, get out. Get out now.”

But he feels that he’s at a point where he can’t turn around and just go back the other way. But we’ll see.

The Life: How about the Lakers, do they come close to the Dodgers?

Cranston: I’m a baseball fan first and a basketball fan second. It’s fun to watch these kids now, and I was just ooohhhh, Andrew Bynum, what a great player he’s going to be and unfortunately he’s hurt again now.

This last road trip that they took where they were 6-0 and they went against an up-and-coming, tough Toronto team, [then] Milwaukee, but then they beat Boston, they beat Cleveland, they beat New York, which is a much-improved team, and to go 6-0 when your starting center is on the DL and you have to make huge adjustments, that’s enormous. And what a boost of confidence.

And I’ve just become a huge Kobe Bryant fan. Yeah, he’s had problems in the past. I think he’s matured greatly. I think he’s matured greatly and become the man that I think that he’s always wanted to be and the leader he always envisioned himself to become. And he’s done that for the Lakers.

And he sets the tone much like Magic Johnson set a tone when he was playing. That if you come play for the Lakers, I expect you — not hope that you — play at a level, I expect you to play at a level. And if you don’t, you’re gone.

And I think his presence there, just like Magic Johnson, his presence there raises everybody else. You’ve got to play at a higher level, or you’re going to hear it from him. And because he has tremendous pride, and that works well in sports.

The Life: Obviously, they’re a title contender and one of the West’s best. Are there any missing pieces needed for a championship?

They’re a stronger team than they were last year, and they went to six [games] last year.

I think balance-wise, I don’t think the Celtics are balanced. They have a great starting staff, but you’ve got to have a strong bench, and I think the Lakers have a much stronger bench. Trevor Ariza, who’s come into his own, is a terrific defensive player and will give you 10 points a game. And you get that off the bench, that’s fantastic.

Jordan Farmar coming back from an injury, who is a terrific defensive player as well, will give you eight to 10 points. Then you’ve got [Pau] Gasol, who is consistently going to give you 16 to 24 points and Kobe who’s going to go 24, 34 or 40 points a night. So you have those kind of weapons and you can pop it out to anywhere.

The triangle offense seems to work well for the Lakers — it has for a long, long time — and is very tough to defend against.

The Life: You made your prediction for the Dodgers, what do you see for the Lakers’ playoff hopes?

Cranston: I think it would be a disappointment if they didn’t go to the finals. And everything being equal, meaning that if they stay healthy and if Bynum comes back, there’s a lot of ifs, there’s always ifs. Bynum’s got to come back and be healthy. And if he can come back and be healthy, I think they’ll win it. I think they’ll win it all.

The Life: Finally, what’s your connection to the “Power Rangers” kids show?

Cranston: What happened is that I’ve never done voices for the “Power Rangers,” but I did a lot of voice-over work for the company that did it. And this was prior to the “Power Rangers” coming in, so I did all these voices for different movies and Japanese anime and this and that coming in for several years. …

And so, and then I left to do other things. And they just got the “Power Rangers” in, and they said, “Well we’ve got to give these guys names, American names, and so I’m told that they … ‘Well, how about Bryan Cranston? We’ll give Cranston the name. We can’t give him Bryan Cranston, but we can use his last name.'” And so they assigned names from people that they worked with over the years, and apparently I was the blue Power Ranger person.

The Life: Is that a Dodger Blue connection or just a coincidence?

Cranston: Subliminally? Absolutely … Absolutely.

Bryan did a brief round table with Simon Baker (CBS’ The Mentalist), Laurence Fishburne (CBS’ CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), Michael C. Hall (Showtime’s Dexter), Denis Leary (FX’s Rescue Me) and Bill Paxton (HBO’s Big Love). Based on his answers he didn’t seem to be in the best of moods, rather blunt which is unlike him, but we all have our bad days, right?

The Hollywood Reporter Round Table (extract)
by Ray Richmond and Matthew Belloni – 22 June 2009 –

THR: What’s the craziest thing you’ve read about yourselves?

Cranston: I don’t read anything, I don’t go online. I don’t read tabloids. No one says anything about me. No one knows anything about me.

THR: How did you pull that off?

Cranston: Because it’s not why I love to act. So I got what I wanted. I’m able to be this other guy and look completely different and just be in the woodwork. And nobody follows me. I don’t have any paparazzi, there’s nothing like that.

Paxton: You need a drug habit.

Cranston: I’ve been married for 20 years.

Paxton: That’s the problem right there.

THR: What is the best thing about fame? Or the worst?

Fishburne: One of the best things is getting good tables at restaurants. And when people are really genuinely complimentary about your work.

THR: Instead of being mistaken for someone else?

Fishburne: Even when they mistake you for somebody else, it’s cool.

Paxton: Dude, you were awesome in Pulp Fiction!

Fishburne: We all have that guy.

Leary: My guy is Willem Dafoe. I get mistaken for Willem Dafoe all the time.

Hall: Matt Damon.

Cranston: I don’t get anybody. I don’t look like anybody.

THR: Does it worry you to see actors being replaced by reality shows and NBC destroying the 10 o’clock —

Cranston: I was reading something the other day about the girl who does this thing called The Hills, which I’ve never seen. And she was like, “I don’t want to do it anymore. They’ve followed me around for the last five years.” That would be my personal hell.

September 30th, 2009 (0) Comments - Post a Comment

Bryan Cranston’s ‘Breaking Bad’ Gets 3rd Season, Season 2 DVD Pre-Order & Interviews

Bryan Cranston as Walter White

Bryan just won his second Emmy for his role of Walter White in Breaking Bad, its no surprise to hear the show got great reviews again this season.

Bryan did a phone interview with Patricia Sheridan from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in May this year, about his life, Breaking Bad and that Bryan thinks cannabis should be legalised.

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Season 3 started production last month (hence Bryan’s shaved head at the Emmys) Its expected to premiere March 2010. Like last year Bryan is directing the first episode of the season. The Season 2 DVD has no release date yet but you can pre-order it (at a discounted price of $31.99) from

Our GALLERY now has a large set of promo photos, stills and ‘behind the scenes’ snaps from both seasons.

Source:, TVGuide

Bryan did some funny and interesting interviews this year, worth reading…

Bryan Cranston Interview
by Fred Topel, 23 March

Crave Online: What was your favorite stuff to play this season?

Bryan Cranston: In the first season I was only partially clad with my tidy whitey underwear. I’m proud to say that in this next season, I’m completely naked. Absolutely in the buff naked, in the middle of a grocery store, so that was exciting for me.

Crave Online: Does it go to some pretty far places this year?

Bryan Cranston: Amazingly so. What happens is one of my secrets gets exposed. Dean [Norris] gets closer and closer to the truth and it’s only by a twist of fate that he doesn’t find out who he’s been actually hunting for for a long time, right?

Crave Online: Do you want to direct another one?

Bryan Cranston: I do. I really enjoyed it. I can only direct the first episode of a season because I’m in the production, so once production starts, there’s no time to take for the prep week. That’s what you need to be able to take that week to prepare for the show. But I enjoy it. I really do. I also enjoy when it’s over because I sleep probably for four hours a night average. It’s so consuming, so amazingly pressured because you have a finite amount of time to get an incredible amount of work done. And you want to get some cool shots. You don’t just want to do over, over, close-up, close-up, master, master, let’s move on. You really want to stretch and see if you can tell the story in a different way.

Crave Online: Where do you keep your Emmy?

Bryan Cranston: Ah, it’s in my office. I know Aaron Paul grabbed it for a while. He asked me if I could borrow it and take it home. I said sure and he showed me some pictures of how he used it, which is not right. It’s just not right. Actually, he placed it next to the toilet and put a roll of toilet paper on one of the wings. It could hold two roles, one as a backup. I had it at home in Albuquerque and it was in my kitchen. I used it as a banana tree so the bananas wouldn’t get bruised. Right now it’s at home, it’s on my shelf in my office.

Crave Online: How did your Malcolm in the Middle costars react to your Emmy win?

Bryan Cranston: It was an “Oh my God, had we known you had any ability” riles from Jane [Kaczmarek]. Chris Masterson said, “Oh, now you did it.” No, it was nice to hear from them and hear from them again because it’s kind of like they’ve become family you see once a year. You go home for Christmas or something and then you see them. That’s the way it’s become now so I see them a couple times a year, Jane more than anyone else. Yeah, it was fun. I was happy to hear from them.

Crave Online: Could you see Hal breaking bad at some point?

Bryan Cranston: Hal was breaking bad constantly and that’s what made him so fearful is that he lived in fear. That was Hal’s emotional center and that’s where a lot of the comedy stemmed from, his fear of failing at marriage, at parenthood, at his job, at everything. So that manifested in every single way and it was great for comedy to have that happen. Walt, if you did a Ven diagram of the two characters, there’s more similarity than just tidy whitey underwear. Walt also lives in a world where he was numbed by his inability to cope with life. So he imploded and the best way I can describe it is numb. It wasn’t until this diagnosis that automatically blew it off and he can’t control his emotions anymore. Even still, as he goes through feelings of fear and anxiety, it’s still better than numbness and not being alive. I think Walt would be very hard pressed to want to put the genie back in the bottle. I don’t think he would.

Crave Online: How long do you see the series going for?

Bryan Cranston: I would love to have it, because my sense is that it could go five years, maybe six, maybe. But I think there’s an inherently natural end to it. It feels that way. I know I won’t be waking up from a dream and in a shower or something. It’s not going to happen.

Crave Online: Are you practicing a great deathbed scene?

Bryan Cranston: When Walt dies, and I think that’s a good bet that he will die by the end of the show, it’s not going to be in bed. I can almost guarantee that. I don’t think he’s going to die of cancer.

Crave Online: Is it liberating to play a character you know will die when it’s all over?

Bryan Cranston: But would it be liberating then to play a human being? We don’t go through life going, “I’m going to die today” or “I’m going to die someday.” He loses track of it just like anyone else does. It’s not foremost on our minds until you’re sick and then you start thinking about it. And you realize that in my own personal philosophy, there’s nothing more important than good health. Love is not as important as good health. You cannot be in love if you’re not healthy. You can’t appreciate it. That’s all you can do.

Crave Online: Have you gotten healthy as a result of playing this role?

Bryan Cranston: That’s a great question. God, I wish I had an equally great answer. It’s funny, I do try to maintain health. I started doing Bikram yoga which is that hothouse yoga, the 105 degrees yoga for 90 minutes. It’s great, you purge out all the sweat and you’re drinking water. It was a great way for me to just help me completely relax.

Crave Online: Does it help to be bald for that?

Bryan Cranston: I’m telling you, until I shaved my head, I never realized how much heat is lost through the top of the head. I walk out in winter and it feels like I have an ice pack on my head. Unbelievable.

Crave Online: What hopes did you have for the show going in?

Bryan Cranston: When I talked to Vince [Gilligan] the first time, it was a 20 minute scheduled meeting and it ended up being an hour and a half. We went back and forth. What I was fascinated by, there were two things. The script itself of the pilot was a page turner and it’s rare. I’m sure other actors have told you that you don’t get pilot scripts and just go. You put it down, you pick it up, you put it down. This was I couldn’t stop it and I called right away and said, “Get me in on this. It’s unbelievable.” The other thing that struck me is that what he told me, he’s mentioned this before so it’s no secret, but I’ve never seen or heard of this in any series history. That is to take a character from one kind of person and over the course of the story, justifiably turn him, through a metamorphosis, into another person. So given an opportunity to tell our story in completion, five years, six years maybe, we will take Walter White from being the milquetoast, self oppressed science teacher to becoming a sometimes, often ruthless drug dealer, kingpin. Has anyone ever seen that?

Crave Online: Most shows couldn’t. House couldn’t get nice. Archie Bunker couldn’t get tolerant.

Bryan Cranston: Well, I think that’s the key word. It can’t happen suddenly. Everything has to be justified. If you can accept where my character has come to thus far and it’s justified, then just imagine then keep pushing that envelope, keep pushing the conditions that change a person. You talk about a mother with superhuman strength if her child was in danger. These are things that happen. Given a death sentence of a year to live, it changes you. It changes you and this man who is so depressed and for lack of taking chance or opportunities that he missed in his life, now has a pocketful of money which he never had before, adrenaline is pumping in his veins, he feels like a man. He’s got nothing to lose so these are natural changes in a person. Now, can that sustain? No. You can’t sustain on adrenaline. Yet this seems to be what’s happening. He feels that even feeling fear or anxiety is better than being numb. So he’s not resisting the changes. He’s welcoming the changes as they come. As abhorrent as they may be from time to time when he takes the time to analyze what exactly he’s doing to society, to his family, to himself, it doesn’t seem to outweigh the impact of what he’s going through personally.

Crave Online: Isn’t it all about the nest egg to leave it for his family?

Bryan Cranston: Right but after a while, it could change. Now what’s happened in the second season that you’ll see is that he’s been given more time than he initially thought. It’s not one year. He goes through a procedure that allows him maybe a few years. Now, he’s got the moral dilemma of oh, do I just go back to teaching now? Never mind what happened. What do you do? Well, you can’t go back. He’s a completely different man, so it creates a wonderful moral dilemma for the show to figure out. Then things start to happen that you go, “Yes, it’s for my family.” Well, it could get kind of self-righteous. It’s for my family I’m doing it, bang, it’s for my family. I’m killing for my family. As long as you can justify your actions, then any means is justifiable then, right?

Crave Online: He might want more than $700,000?

Bryan Cranston: I think he might find some justification or some manufactured need. No, no, I need more than that.

Crave Online: Is it kind of like Michael Corleone?

Bryan Cranston: Maybe. “I try to get out, I keep getting sucked back in.” Yeah, it’s very seductive. He’s never felt this before and so he’s being totally seduced by power, by corruption, by the sense of omnipotence almost. He can call his shots, people are afraid of him. It’s like wow, he’s never felt that before. It is seductive.

Crave Online: Does that come with the discovery that he can reinvent himself?

Bryan Cranston: It has to. It certainly was not in the cards when he was contemplating this decision, his first decision. He couldn’t have foreseen this change in his personality. He made this decision because he felt backed up against a wall. He had no choice.

Crave Online: Which role are you recognized most for: Malcolm, Breaking Bad, Seinfeld?

Bryan Cranston: Seinfeld is a lot and of course Malcolm is a lot. I was just in Egypt for two weeks on vacation in little bazaars around the city or something and Germans, Australians, Spanish, Italians and Brits, they were for different things. Whatever they were recognizing me for, I was like oh, that must be playing more in that country.

Crave Online: What do you prefer, comedy or drama?

Bryan Cranston: I probably enjoy performing comedy more just for the obvious reasons. If you’re laughing most of the time, that’s a lot of fun. Yet, I did a comedy for seven years and it was time not to do it and to hopefully look for a character. When I left Malcolm, my goal was to find something where I can get lost in another character. Probably the biggest compliment I can get is not, “I love your work” but “I can’t believe you’re the same guy from Malcolm in the Middle.” That to me is the end all.

Crave Online: Did you imagine finding that?

Bryan Cranston: No, and certainly there is no sense of deserving something like that, having two incredibly well written series that hopefully will become both successes.

Crave Online: Does this success change the way you think of yourself as an actor?

Bryan Cranston: No. Just like anyone, you want to live a well rounded existence, life. I was offered a couple comedies, playing dads when I left Malcolm and turned them down. The response was mostly, “Why would he turn it down? It’s perfect for him.” Then I go, “What you’re thinking is the exact reason why I have to turn this down,” because I don’t want to be the guy who does, “Oh, he’s doing another goofy dad.”

Crave Online: Your costar, Jane Kaczmarek, had to go play a bitchy judge.

Bryan Cranston: Well, she is one in real life so that’s actually… I’m teasing.

Crave Online: Does your deadpan ever get you in trouble?

Bryan Cranston: Yes. Yeah, of course. I was telling my daughter this a little while ago. I said, “Never be afraid of saying I’m sorry or I apologize.” I would rather have to apologize than to not take risks. It’s just not in my realm. Occasionally when you do take risks, and our business is inherently risky, so you’ll run that gamble. But it’s okay. You more than likely won’t make too many huge faux pas. Maybe a few here and there.

Cranston, AMC catch a good break with ‘Breaking Bad’
by Gary Levin, 8 March 2009USA TODAY

So to many of his fans, Breaking Bad seems a 180-degree turn. Actors “always love to play the bad guys because they’re the juiciest roles,” Cranston says. And lately, cable dramas have embraced the flawed antihero as more realistic.

“I wanted to go in a different direction. This was fantastically written, nuanced, just beautifully sculpted,” he says. “You have a character who has troubles, he’s trying, but his inability to function in certain areas is very honest, very human.”

In his long dues-paying career, Cranston had done dozens of less memorable drama stints. Some turned out better than others. He met his wife, actress Robin Dearden, while shooting a 1986 episode of Airwolf. (He was a criminal, she his crying hostage.) And he’d parlayed a guest role as a seemingly deranged bigot on an X-Files episode into his current gig: Both were written by Vince Gilligan, who remembered him years later when crafting Bad.

To his Malcolm co-star Jane Kaczmarek, the transition from comic sad sack Hal to the down-and-out everyman Walt is a natural: “He’s like Jack Lemmon, except now he’s doing Days of Wine and Roses or The Apartment.”

Gilligan says Cranston’s “bedrock humanity” and his ability to play very dark humor helped make a lying, desperate meth cooker relatable to an audience that might otherwise recoil. “Because he’s so decent and likable, Bryan allows you to comprehend why he does what he does, even if you don’t agree with it.”

It also helps explain why Cranston, nominated three times for Malcolm, claimed his first Emmy for Bad last fall. It also surprised him (and many others) to beat Jon Hamm, the media-darling star of AMC companion Mad Men, much as Bad’s ratings (a modest 1.4 million viewers) had topped Mad’s first-season 1.1 million.

“I was the dark horse,” he says. And though his wife was all sweaty-palmed, “I wasn’t nervous, because I wasn’t going to get it. It was a surreal moment.”

Malcolm creator Linwood Boomer says he was “not even a little bit surprised. It’s an extraordinarily difficult character (that) requires someone who’s really game and courageous in addition to being smart and insightful.”

The genesis of Walt

Gilligan, a laconic writer with a Southern drawl, dreamed up Bad a few years ago while musing with a TV-writer buddy about their next careers: “We should drive around in an RV and sell crystal meth,” he joked.

“As we were laughing about it, the image of a middle-aged guy (doing this) stuck with me. Not as a future life goal but as, ‘Man, who would this be?’ What if he weren’t a criminal but a straight-arrow guy, sort of boring, like myself? And this character just popped right into my head.”

(“Breaking bad,” a Southern expression, refers to someone who has gone wrong, who has veered off the normal path.)

Gilligan knew he wanted Cranston: “In my mind, he was integral to the role from a very early stage.” But it took some convincing for AMC. And the show itself was no easy sell, thanks to fears it would glorify meth, a damaging, addictive drug that ravages many towns.

“There was a lot of initial concern about the subject matter,” says Zack Van Amburg, programming president at Sony Pictures Television, who’d pitched the show to “every major cable network” and eventually developed it at FX, which later passed.

“They (all) said, ‘Could we change the nature of who Walter White is? Could he maybe rob some banks? Could he be involved with a different drug?’ ”

But AMC embraced the weirdness, and picked up the show around the same time it gave the go-ahead to stylish period drama Mad Men, which premiered six months earlier.

Both shows “have created a new relevance for AMC,” known previously mostly for its old movies, says general manager Charlie Collier. Now it’s packaging movies around them: A “March Badness” stunt, hosted by Cranston and co-star Aaron Paul, groups like-minded films with stars such as Clint Eastwood.

To lure newcomers, Bad’s first season is just out on DVD, and both recaps and stand-alone “minisodes” are on AMC’s website and Sony’s Cranston also wrote and directed Last Chance, a romantic TV movie in which he stars with Dearden, airing Saturday (11 p.m. ET/8 PT) on AMC sibling WE.

Acting was ‘like nirvana’

Cranston had an unlikely career path. Raised in Canoga Park, Calif., a nondescript L.A. suburb, he tasted acting at 8 in a United Way commercial his dad produced. But he enrolled in a nearby community college to pursue a very different path.

“I was going to be a cop,” he says. He worked nights as a security guard at a gated community, nabbed shoplifters at a Hollywood market and was briefly a bodyguard for Alfred Hitchcock (“not a very nice man”).

But an elective acting class changed his mind. “This was like nirvana; I just saw the mountain,” he says. Cranston worked as an extra, did more ads and voice-over work, and got his first big break in 1983 with a role on ABC soap Loving. He spent the next dozen years as a journeyman guest star, highlighted by those Seinfeld episodes in which Whatley regifted a labelmaker, dated Elaine and converted to Judaism.

He was the last actor cast for Malcolm, on the day before the pilot episode was filmed. “They were looking for a big fat hairy guy, and they had every fat hairy guy in California come in,” Kaczmarek says. “Nothing clicked.”

So they cast him anyway, and he made a startling entrance for a memorable scene in which Lois shaves Hal’s back. “It’s the first day, he’s meeting everybody, and he’s naked with yak hair being glued all over his body,” she recalls. In later episodes, he’d gamely be slathered with blue paint, and thousands of live bees.

Boomer says Hal was “the one character in Malcolm not written ahead of time, that was as much created by Bryan as me.”

The show was an instant smash, with more than 20 million viewers. When Malcolm called it quits in 2006, Cranston was offered two pilots calling for silly, offbeat dads, which he promptly declined. “I don’t know another way to do that.”

Bad means good for his career, even though he’s spending almost half the year on set in Albuquerque, away from Dearden and their daughter, Taylor, 16. “It’s definitely opened some doors already,” Cranston says. “I’m just on the radar more.”

The unpretty repercussions

The seven-episode first season (shortened by the writers’ strike) focused on Walt’s cancer diagnosis and his desperate decision to seek a sideline drug business.

The next 13 focus on the repercussions, and they aren’t pretty. “He is absolutely beside himself,” Cranston says. “In his world as a scientist, it all makes sense. There are mathematical answers for everything, there’s order. But you get outside the doors of his classroom, and everything goes upside down. He’s dealing with these horrible thugs and murderers, and he can’t hold onto the tiger. He doesn’t have the skill set.”

His DEA agent brother-in-law, Hank, on the hunt for the meth dealer known only as “Heisenberg,” is closing in. Walt’s motivation — providing the $737,000 in drug money he figures his family will need — is now jeopardized. And Jesse, Walt’s partner, is in over his head and distracted by love.

“While Walt becomes more and more comfortable in his own newly minted criminal skin, Jesse is finding himself less and less comfortable, and Walt won’t let him quit,” Gilligan says.

“We’re getting into a deeper, more dangerous part of this drug world, and Jesse’s never experienced that,” says Paul, who plays Jesse. “He’s just been totally OK selling dime bags and doesn’t need this rich lifestyle. But Walt needs to act fast; he needs his nest egg for his family when he’s gone, so he takes risks, and he’s getting the wrong people upset.”

Can a show about a drug-dealing terminal-cancer patient last? Gilligan has paced himself, plot-wise: Both last season and the new one take place in the space of a few months. And AMC’s Collier, though waiting for a formal greenlight, is counting on a third season early next year. “If M*A*S*H can make the Korean War last 11 years, we can keep Walt around a long time.”

Still, Gilligan says, “it feels like there’s a certain inevitability at the core of it.” But although the cancer is terminal, “there’s a lot of ways to check out in this life,” he says. “When you choose to become a drug kingpin, that greatly increases the scenarios.”

Cranston has his own idea, with apologies to Newhart: “I wake up from this bad dream and Jane Kaczmarek is lying next to me and I say, ‘Oh, my God, I had this horrible dream that I was this chemistry teacher.’ And she says, ‘Hal, get back to work!’ “

Go Inside Breaking Bad
by Eric Goldman, 5 March 2009IGN

We talk to Bryan Cranston and Vince Gilligan about Season 2 of the acclaimed series – and Cranston’s contribution to the Power Rangers.

One of last year’s best new series, Breaking Bad, is about to debut its second season on AMC this weekend. If you haven’t seen the show, you’re missing out on something special, as the series follows the story of Walt White (Bryan Cranston), an overqualified high school chemistry teacher. When Walt finds out he has terminal lung cancer, he makes a dramatic decision, teaming with former student Jesse (Aaron Paul) in order to use his scientific skills to make and distribute meth.

Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with Cranston and Breaking Bad’s creator, Vince Gilligan, for a conversation about the series. When Cranston found out I was from IGN, he mentioned the fact that we’d named him Best Actor in our IGN Best of 2008 awards. Cranston, who won a well-deserved Emmy for his role as Walt, jokingly teased me over the fact that we didn’t have a physical award to give him, exclaiming, “When do I get the award? This is bulls**t!”

During the conversation that followed Cranston and Gilligan discussed what it’s like working together on Breaking Bad, Cranston taking the reins as director for the season premiere, and the acclaimed actor’s strange connection to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

IGN TV: When you’re on a hit show like Malcolm in the Middle, it’s great to have the success, but unfortunately you can also get very easily pigeonholed. Vince, when you were coming up with Breaking Bad, when did Bryan come on your radar?

Vince Gilligan: He was on my radar before I even thought of the show. He starred in an episode of The X-Files [“Drive”] I wrote about ten years back. Bryan is a chameleon, and I mean that in the best possible sense. This is a guy, who when he came and read for us for that X-Files episode, I was like, “I’ve never seen that guy before. Where’s this guy been hiding? This guy’s great!” And then they said, “Well, he was the guy with one arm who gave Tom Hanks his orders in Saving Private Ryan and sent him on a mission. He played Buzz Aldrin in From the Earth to the Moon. He’s the dentist on Seinfeld.” I was going, “What? That’s not the same guy!” He’s a chameleon, and that’s the best thing you can say about an actor. A lot of them aren’t. A lot of actors just play themselves over and over again, which can be find if they’re interesting to begin with. But that’s the mark of a real actor, in my opinion.

He was on my radar because I wanted to work with him again ever since that episode. And lo and behold, I got my chance, very briefly after I came up with the idea of this character. I started to think, “Well, who would be the right guy for this?” And very shortly, I thought, “Bryan Cranston. I want to work with this guy again.” Because he can be dramatic as hell, he can be funny as hell, and he’s got this deep, abiding humanity that just pours out of him, whether he means for it to or not. You’ve gotta like this guy Walt, because he’s making a lot of bad decisions. You’ve got to get the audience to go with him on this journey – on this really ill-advised journey that he’s taking. He’s cooking crystal meth and people have to buy into it and not necessarily like what he’s doing, but understand why he’s doing it. You need that humanity and basic likability and Bryan’s got the whole package.

IGN: Bryan, what did you think initially? I’d imagine your interest would be piqued even by the basic description.

Bryan Cranston: From the first page… [Cranston gets up and goes to his bag, pulling out a script] I brought this in, because I want Vince to write something terribly meaningful on this script.

Gilligan: Oh, wow!

Cranston: This is the script that I first read when I came in. When you read the first page… “The Winnebago zooms past. Inside, you see a driver’s knuckles clinging… his eyes bug wide. He’s wearing underpants.” Right? So I’m going, “What the f**k is this?!” And I keep reading, “Behind him are breakers, beakers, flasks. Some kind of chemical spills on the floor, yellow liquid. Two dead bodies…” And I’m going, “What the hell is going on?”

IGN: You’re thinking, “Another one of these shows?”

Cranston: Yeah, exactly. Same old thing… [Laughs] So it provoked me. It challenged you to go to the next page. And you have this [description] on Walter White and who this person is and what’s going on and he’s full of emotion… and that’s the end of the teaser. It’s like, what’s next? What’s going to happen? It is that proverbial page turner. I got to the very last page and I closed it and called my agents and said “Get me in to see Vince Gilligan!”

IGN: You could have taken a lot of different tactics with Walt, like having a voice over for instance, to try to directly explain his actions. Instead, I love that we understand that the guy has cancer and is trying to take care of his family, but it’s a little bit ambiguous for people to figure out what drives him to such extremes in these circumstances.

Gilligan: If I’d written this ten years ago, I would have done it that way. I think you naturally, no matter what your line of work is, as an actor or writer or whatever you do for a living, I think if you’re doing your job and learning every day, you become more competent in your abilities. You always know there’s more you could do and there’s a better way you could do it. Ten years back I would have thought, “I better spell this out a little more. I’m a little scared of this guy. Is he likable enough, no matter who’s playing him? Is he a good enough guy and will the audience go with him on this trip? Do I need more extenuating circumstances? Does he have a mother in an iron lung who’s about to get evicted from her house? Do I have to give more reasons why we should like this guy and do I need to explain more about why he does what he does?”

I’m glad I wrote it now instead of ten years ago, because I would have f**ked it up back then. And also, I learned a lot from watching The Sopranos, for instance. A show that had the courage to present a guy who’s not always likable, to say the least, and not say why he necessarily does what he does at every step of the way. There’s a lot of good motion pictures or television of the last ten or fifteen years, where not every i is doted and not ever t is crossed. Not every action they take is spelled out and I realized those were sort of trailblazers and allowed me to see you can tell a story that way. You don’t have to worry at every moment whether or not the character will be liked or understood.

Cranston: When movies or television shows do that, it has a tendency to try to defend the character’s actions at every turn – when they’re explaining too much, you know? And it’s almost a defensive stance. It’s not necessary and usually less compelling if you’re saying, “Well, yes, he steals, but he’s stealing because…” The way [Vince] carefully dispenses information… and you’re waiting for more and he’s putting it out there and making the audience reach and pay attention. That’s brilliant writing, when you dangle something out there – “You want to see this?” and make the audience participate, as opposed to just being in that mode, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” It’s when you’re actually actively involved in the storytelling, is when you’ve got them.

IGN: Here’s the requisite question for the creator of a serialized drama – how much did you plan ahead where you want to go? You have the ticking clock of his mortality…

Gilligan: I’m trying to think how I want to answer that…

Cranston: Try truthfully.

Gilligan: [Laughs] I’d love to say I had the whole thing mapped out from day one. And that’s safer. There’s a comfort level if you know where you’re going. There’s always a comfort level. You get in your car and know you’re going to California. But it’s more fun to meander around the countryside and find out where it is you’re going. We’re trying to do a little bit of both. I have a rough destination in my mind, but we’re taking a lot of side roads along the way. Certain things happen logistically that make us change plans. For instance, this season coming up, Jesse has to move out of his house, simply because the homeowner of the house we shoot in decided to sell the house. So we’ve got those kind of logistical things, and then we have other things that come up because my writers come up with a better idea than I had. Or [Bryan] will call me up and say, “Hey, what if you did this?” I go, “Oh yeah, that’s a good idea!” So it’s less of a comfort zone to be in, when you don’t quite know exactly where you’re going, but it’s more exciting.

Cranston: It’s also like life.

Gilligan: It’s also like life. That’s the best answer.

Cranston: We really don’t know where our lives are going. We have an idea. We don’t really know.

IGN: The clips we’ve seen show that Walt’s actions are causing even bigger rifts with his family. Can you talk a bit more about Season 2 and how it progresses?

Gilligan: The clips are good, but what you don’t see is the humor. We had plenty of humor in Season 1 and we have a lot more in Season 2. This is a season with a lot of fun stuff and humorous moments and a lot of very dramatic, heavy moments too. A little bit of everything. A really interesting bouillabaisse of drama and comedy. God bless the folks who liked Season 1. If they liked Season 1, they’re going to love Season 2. Season 2’s got some big, big plot moments that happen. The ending of the season is pretty big and we’ve got some fun stuff along the way. It’s sort of the season where chickens come home to roost in my opinion. My writers and I always talked about, all through the season, that the chickens are coming home to roost for Walter White. He is a guy who has made a very out there decision – a very questionable decision about what he is going to do with the last 18 months of his life and he decides to cook crystal meth. Now, this act of criminality he’s embarked upon, this life of criminality, is baring strange fruit. That’s what Season 2 is about, in a nutshell, without giving too much away.

IGN: Bryan, are you constantly in awe of the places your character and his story goes?

Cranston: It’s like opening a present when we get the scripts. The general feeling is that we know well ahead of time. I really don’t know. What I do know is that we’re in capable hands. There’s an acting exercise, when you first start acting – it’s a trust exercise where you fall back and you’re caught by your partner. It’s all geared towards trusting the person you’re with. So when you’re onstage, trust that they’re there. We’re making eye contact. I know you’re going to be there for me. I’m here for you and we can get through this and we can listen and respond. And that’s the same thing that’s happened here. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I trust that he will create the environment that will make it justifiable where we go. Otherwise, it would be like murdering his own child.

Gilligan: It would be.

Cranston: It would be just unfathomable to be able to do that to your own creation, and so I trust that. Now that doesn’t mean that every step of the way, we understand. But when we get to that point where we’re thinking “Oh, what?” we talk about it. It’s alive and it moves and so there might be one line that might take me off into a different area, that when explained to him he might go, “Oh, I see where that goes. Yeah, let’s take that out.” So we take it out and it’s like, “Oh, that’s better!” Often, an actor doesn’t know what you’re hitching on, as I call it. You’re hanging up on something. It’s not flowing and something’s hitching and until you locate where that burr is, that pang – “Oh, there it is! There’s that splinter!” – then you can go on. It’s a great experience.

Gilligan: The other side of that trust Bryan speaks of is my writers and I trust that when we give a script to Bryan and the other actors, no matter how shaded and delicate a series of emotions they’re asked to play, they’ll pull it off – without having to explain in dialogue what it is they’re feeling. You don’t have to explain everything going on. People say the opposite of what they’re feeling or don’t say at all what they’re feeling and you just infer it through their behavior and what they do or don’t do. You’re always going to be biased towards your own TV show. Everyone is going to say, “I have the best cast on TV!” Luckily for me, we in fact do.

Cranston: It’s documented!

Gilligan: It’s provable mathematically.

IGN: IGN says so.

Cranston: IGN says so! It must be true.

IGN: You guys have this great collaboration. What was it like shifting that dynamic a bit when Bryan directed the Season 2 premiere?

Cranston: It was great. At the end of Season 1, I waited for several months to see if I still wanted to do it. Because I wanted to see what the experience was, the working relationship, the conditions and that sort of thing. And then, as I knew it was getting close to plan Season 2, I called Vince and told him what I’d like to do. I wanted to get his feeling on it and he…

Gilligan: “What the f**k?!”

Cranston: And he said no, and then I pointed out a small clause in my contract that nobody knew and I said, “It’s right there! It has to happen!” No, to be honest with both of you, I don’t want to impose. I want to direct if I’m wanted. I don’t want to because we have to. I want it to be a mutual desire. And it worked out really well. I enjoyed it. My feeling as a director in TV, and I’ve done a lot actually, for beginning just a few years ago – my goal is to get the showrunner as close to what he or she was hoping for. I know it’s not going to stay in the [same] state as my director’s cut. I have no delusions of that. But my goal is to get it close enough so that it’s not “What the f**k is this? We have to start from the beginning and assemble some kind of story.” And that has a lot of prep. You’ve got to prep. A lot of questions… You could say, “Yeah, it’s a big sandwich.” Well, big to me could be different than you. What’s big? It’s a subjective viewpoint. So I try to ask the questions – “how big are you thinking? Four inches?” – just so we’re on the same wavelength.

Gilligan: That sounds very Freudian when you put it that way. A big sandwich…

Cranston: [Laughs] A big sandwich. Especially when I say, “are we talking big like four inches big? Because that’s big.”

IGN: Could Walt’s wife process what he’s done if she found everything out?

Gilligan: Well, that’s a good question.

Cranston: It’s a very good question. No one’s asked that before, and I’m glad you ask that, because she’s an integral part of the show and a very bright woman and it’s Walt’s dire worry. That’s the thing that’s most on his frontal lobe is “She can’t find out, she can’t find out.” Because, quite frankly, I’m not a good provider. I’m kind of moody and kind of quiet and antisocial. I’m not a bad father, but there’s a lot of problems there. The thing I think she thinks of me is that I’m honorable. And if I lose that, I’ve lost everything, meaning I’ve lost her. So she can never find out. As far as I’m concerned, I, Walt, she can never find out what’s happening. Of course, that may not be the case. But that’s how he feels.

Gilligan: Without giving anything away, I can say that you ask a very good question and it’s one that we talked about in the writers’ room for hours and hours on end. What if? That’s all we do all day long. What if, what if… One of the man things I love about this show is that there are so many juicy possibilities. It doesn’t mean we’ll explore all of them, although I’d like to, but I think there’s a near infinite number of possibilities we could explore. And we’re going to explore some fun ones. We do this season and I want to continue in Season 3 and just make it as juicy as possible, but as real as possible too – emotionally real and emotionally true. And it sure helps to have great actors too, to keep you honest in that regard.

IGN: Bryan, I was looking at your IMDB credits and it’s a long and impressive list, but there’s one I just have to ask about it, because it jumped out at me, which was Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Gilligan: You were on that? How did that suit fit?

Cranston: [Laughs] Well, I was younger then.

One of my jobs as a young actor starting out was voiceover. I also did dubbing. A lot of dubbing and a lot of voiceover. So foreign films would come in and I’d go in. One of the places that did a lot of that was Saban Entertainment. And they would take movies and then cartoons from all over the world and we’d go and do the English dub. And the Power Rangers came in and I did some voices for that. I had already been there for a number of years, just as a freelance guy coming in and coming out. And it paid like $50.00 an hour, which was fantastic. And you’d work two, three hours at least a day. So I had been there for awhile already and then the Power Rangers came in. They actually named one of the Power Rangers after me.

Gilligan: Yeah?!

Cranston: The Blue Power Ranger’s last name is Cranston.

IGN: [Laughs] Wow, that’s pretty funny.

Gilligan: That’s an awesome story!

Cranston: He’s the fey one, that’s the problem.

Bryan Cranston: This dad stops at nothing on ‘Breaking Bad’
12 March 2009 –

Watch out, Al Pacino. Bryan Cranston is on his way to becoming a new generation’s Scarface.

Last fall Cranston won an Emmy Award as best actor for his performance in “Breaking Bad,” the AMC series about Walt White, a mild-mannered chemistry teacher who decides to make and sell crystal meth. His motivation: He has terminal lung cancer and his family needs big money.

The second season began Sunday; the story line will get even darker.

“Walt is getting deeper and deeper into his new lifestyle,” Cranston said by telephone from his Los Angeles office. “He’s already killed a couple people, and to deal with that he’s putting on blinders. His wife gets closer to the truth, as does his brother-in-law, the DEA agent.”

Cranston came into the show already a familiar face on television: He played Malcolm’s father, Hal, on “Malcolm in the Middle” (2000-2006) and Jerry Seinfeld’s nitrous-oxide-addicted dentist in five episodes of “Seinfeld” (1994-1997).

“Breaking Bad,” however, shows a new, virtually unrecognizable side of the actor.

“I had to check my ego at the door,” said Cranston, who turned 53 this week. “I didn’t recognize myself when I saw the pilot. I thought I was looking at my dad.

“I basically designed Walt,” he said. “I wanted him to be heavier, with love handles. He’s pudgy and pasty, and his skin and clothes are colorless. He has a little, impotent mustache and glasses. He’s hiding. And his hair has no shape or color to it.”

Cranston eagerly uglified himself because he saw enormous potential in the character.

“Vince Gilligan, who created ‘Breaking Bad,’ told me that over the course of the series he wanted to take Walt from Mr. Chips to Scarface,” he recalled. “Vince said, ‘I want this character to change from a milquetoast to a drug kingpin.’ I was fascinated. I’d never seen a lead actor on TV completely change who he is.”

And when he says “Scarface,” he definitely means Pacino in the 1983 version, not Paul Muni in 1932. For Cranston, Pacino’s performance is a touchstone.

“Every guy I know is a fan of ‘Scarface,’ ” he said. “It was brutal and eye-opening, and he was over the top. Omigod, it was like an accident. You couldn’t take your eyes off him.”

Cranston has been acting for three decades, and hopes that “Breaking Bad” has a long run.

“It’s going to take five or six years to completely tell the story of the metamorphosis of this character,” he said. “With ‘Malcolm’ we did seven years, 151 episodes. There was a lot of talk about an eighth year, but artistically it didn’t reach the point where we had more to explore.”

Hal and Walt, the characters for whom Cranston is best known today, seem to have little in common, but the actor has found two similarities.

“They both wear tighty-whitey underwear,” he said. “But, more than that, they’re Everymen, trying to do the best they can despite their flaws.

“Hal was a fearful man,” he continued. “He was afraid of losing his job, losing his wife, of not being a good father. That translated to fear of heights, fear of everything. For comedic purposes it worked out well.

“Walt is not afraid,” Cranston said. “He’s numb. He’d been stuck in an emotionless chamber and didn’t know how to get out of it. It was the result of missed opportunities. There were years of depression and malaise. The irony is that the diagnosis of terminal lung cancer propels him out of his rut.

“He’s now thrown into this world that he doesn’t have a skill set for,” Cranston said. “He’s a man of science. Everything has a reason, a formula, a mathematical explanation, but not the world he’s finding himself in now. It’s filled with really bad people, terrible intentions, egos and greed. But he’s already gone past the point of no return.”

Cranston could be the Everyman of actors. He grew up in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley in an acting family, and has been married for two decades to actress Robin Dearden, with whom he has a 15-year-old daughter, Taylor.

For much of his three-decade career, he has flown under the radar.

“Maybe it’s my fault for not having a plan,” he said. “Recognition is a wonderful byproduct of my chosen profession. But I just thought, ‘If I could make a living as an actor, and that’s all I had to do, what great joy that would bring.’

“I remember going to studios as a kid,” Cranston said. “The newness of it, the spectacle of it, wasn’t there for me when I started becoming an actor. I accepted that it was a business long ago.”

When Cranston was 8, his father cast him in a United Way commercial he was producing.

A ‘Breaking Bad’ Q&A: In the bedroom with Bryan Cranston and Anna Gunn
by Josh Gajewski, 28 April 2009 –

“Breaking Bad” seems to be working on a different level than in the show’s first season, and one of the key reasons has been the relationship between Walter and Skyler White emerging into one of the more compelling marriages on television. While the pregnant Skyler mostly played dumb to Walt’s odd behavior in Season 1 and always proved sympathetic above anything else, this season she just isn’t taking it anymore.

In the Season 2 premiere, for instance, she berated him for getting too physical with her in the kitchen. He’d just returned home from seeing a man beaten to death, and was so emotionally charged from the event that he found himself wanting to hold her … and then suddenly much more. Like a dog in heat, he pressed her up against the refrigerator and, when things grew more violent, she was forced to push him away. “You cannot take it out on me,” she later yelled.

The third episode ended with the click of a lamp. Skyler had just asked her husband if he had a second cellphone, a concept he denied, and when Walt went in for the goodnight kiss, she simply turned away from him and clicked off the lamp on her side of the bed. She knew he was lying, and now he knew she knew it as well.

No sympathy for the dying.

During a visit to the “Breaking Bad” set last summer, Bryan Cranston and Anna Gunn joined me for a chat in that very bedroom. They were between scenes, and as the crew set up for a shot in the kitchen, Cranston and Gunn sat beside each other on their TV bed, traded some sarcastic jabs and spoke about playing house.

The following is an edited version of the chat:

Gunn: I think it’s pretty clear at the end of the first season that Skyler, she’s been wondering what’s going on. She knows about the cancer and attributes much of Walter’s behavior to that. But stuff keeps happening that’s odd and she’s got more questions. A lot more questions.

Are you glad to see her grow stronger in Season 2?

Gunn: Yeah! And sometimes it was frustrating and I wanted to jump up and go, “My God! Ask a question, Skyler!” But I’m happy about it because I think she’s really a keen, smart person and people who are married for a while get to kind of know things about each other – unspoken things. And, you know, illness, if that’s presented, you can say “OK, you know what? That’s got to be huge.” So the strange behavior, OK, but then after awhile, if it continues . . .

Are you guys feeling more comfortable with each other as an on-screen couple?

Gunn: Yeah, I’ve never really liked Bryan. [turns to him] Oh hi!
Cranston: True story: I auditioned all the Skylers, and while I didn’t remember her name, when I talked to Vince [Gilligan] after . . .
Gunn: Yes you did. Come on, you Googled . . .
Cranston: . . . Vince said, [busts into his Gilligan impersonation, a higher pitch with a twang] “Well, what do you think?” I said, “I don’t remember her name, but the blond I liked.”

Lot of brunettes, I take it?

Cranston: There were a couple of redheads, I believe a brunette, and like a dishwater blond I think . . .
Gunn: So he said, “That, you know, remarkably blond blond.”
Cranston: But it worked. She just dove right in and it’s always a little odd because it’s a facsimile of a relationship at that point. You don’t know each other, you just met. But if you’ve been doing it awhile and you’re able to just jump in, that’s what we wanted. And what was the first thing I said to you? “I hope you’re sane,” something like that?
Gunn: Yeah, you said, “I hope you’re normal.” I said, “I hope you’re normal.”

[Cranston gets summoned away by the crew]

Anna, where would you like to see this season go?

Gunn: I’d love to see more of who Skyler is in her private moments, in her personal moments that are not necessarily related to the illness of her husband. Because so much of her stuff last year was about concern over Walt. And, you know, I’d really like to see the things that she might be keeping to herself. I’d like to dig deeper into who she is and I’d love to see some different colors in terms of her emotions. I mean, she had the patience of almost a saint last year, she really did. And I think this year we’re going to see her not going down that road.

Did you have discussions with Vince in the off-season?

Cranston [returning]: More like demands. …
Gunn: Not a lot. To me, I trust the direction he goes in. I think he knows when things need to unravel. But I did have a few thoughts on things and I did express them. He’s really open to them . . . and then he discards them [smiles].
Cranston: In fact, one of his catch phrases when he hears something that he doesn’t like is, “Oh, that’s real interesting!” And that’s when I go, “Oh, he hates it.”

What does he say when he actually likes an idea?

Cranston: He goes, “I like that!” [in Cranston’s impersonation, this sounds like “Eye LIIKE that!”]

Can you point to a note he liked enough to put in?

Gunn: We talked about Skyler having a talent, and I felt strongly that she should sort of have to work at something, or have a passion. And he said, “What would she do?” I just saw her as a writer, the way she expressed herself, the fact that she’s at home – I thought, that would make sense to me. And what was set up in the pilot was the fact that Walt’s working very hard as a teacher and he also has to have a second job at the car wash, so my thing was, in this day and age, if her older son is at school – and yeah, she’s pregnant, but pregnant people work and do stuff all the time – I thought, you know, I want to make sure that it doesn’t seem like Skyler’s at home eating bonbons and doing her nails. So at least it’s in there that she’s trying to do something, even if her line of work isn’t something you can’t always count on. You have to get published as a writer. [note: Skyler ultimately got a job this season, returning to work as an accountant.]

What kind of stuff does Skyler write?

Gunn: Short stories. And I myself am a short story lover so that’s something I want at some point to show up on the bedside table [points to it]. You know, I’ve only got pregnancy books here. So at any rate, I think that’s what she works on. And maybe she has an idea for a novel.

Any ideas on if Skyler were to “break bad,” what she might do?

Gunn: [smiles] Yeah, I really do.

Anything you can share?

Gunn: Nooo [laughs]. Yeah, I do have a lot and I’ve mentioned a few of them to Vince and he said, “Oh, that’s real interesting!” [they laugh]

How much do your characters stay with you? When you leave the set, are you constantly thinking about them?

Cranston: There is a natural digression of character that happens when I take my makeup off, take off these clothes. It seems to shed it, and then I go home and I pick up my personal life. But when you’re alone and you’re reading through a new script – and I like to read a script at night, in quiet – I dream about it, and I welcome the dream, because things do come to me and they seep into me, whether it’s a different way of saying something or whatever. The thing is, playing this out is like reading a good novel. And every week we get to read the next few chapters. You know the feeling when you’re reading a good book and you can’t wait to get home? It’s like a little secret you have with just yourself, and at that moment in time, it’s just you and that novel. We’re playing this out. I too don’t really need or want to know too far into the future, because it could only negatively inform what you’re doing now. You know what I mean? Same thing with researching cancer. You know, that question’s been asked, and I just, I don’t really want to. I want to let my character discover it.
Gunn: And that’s true about reading it. When you first read it it’s so important because it’s where your intuition goes, because right when you’re reading a book, you start creating a vision of a character, and when you’re reading this script, your first instinct, that’s usually the best. Sometimes not, but usually. And then, yeah, things start to crystallize at night when you’re going to bed.
Cranston: For an actor, the better something is written, the less work we have to do because it just naturally comes to you. You don’t have to think, “Well, how am I going to make this real?” You don’t have to worry about that because they’ve done the work, the guide posts are all there, and you just have to go from one thing to the next. It just kind of seeps into you, you know?
Gunn: My daughter was here yesterday, and I think it was the first time that she sort of got it that mom plays this person that’s different. And she says, “Mommy, how do you talk? How do you know what to do?” And I thought about what to say and I said, “You know, I have a story to tell, and I’m just trying to tell the story.”
Cranston: For me, the truth is that [Anna] makes me so unhappy, that this role just comes naturally to me.

September 27th, 2009 (0) Comments - Post a Comment

Bryan Cranston PSA for Pancreatic Cancer Research [Video]

curePC is the public awareness campaign in support of The Lustgarten Foundation, the USA’s leading private source of funding for pancreatic cancer research. They are working with Cablevision who own AMC who air Breaking Bad. Bryan’s character Walter White has cancer. 100% of donations go directly to research.


September 27th, 2009 (0) Comments - Post a Comment

Bryan Cranston – After The Emmy [Video]

This very funny video with Bryan and his Breaking Bad co-stars Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul and Betsy Brandt was made after his Emmy win last year, I never got round to posting it, but I felt better late than never.

Bryan Cranston’s face would be right at home in a cartoon. It just has an especially elastic quality to it. “I’ve been teased by my family all my life,” said Cranston “I can open up a jar of pickles and make the most excruciating face. . . . I don’t even know I’m doing it.”

Source: AMC

September 27th, 2009 (0) Comments - Post a Comment

Bryan Cranston Wins 2009 Emmy for ‘Breaking Bad’

20 SeptemberBryan won for the 2nd year running in the category Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for the role of Walter White in Breaking Bad at the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy awards. Congratulations Bryan!

Watch Bryan accept the award above and below chat in the press room and on the red carpet…

Bryan and Aaron Paul sign autographs for fans outside…

See our GALLERY for many photos from the event and after parties.

Source: samrubintv, TVGuide, PopCandiesTV

September 22nd, 2009 (2) Comments - Post a Comment

Bryan Cranston Emmy Nomination for ‘Breaking Bad’

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul at Emmy Awards Performer Nominee Reception

Bryan Cranston has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role of Walter White in Breaking Bad. Bryan was also very excited for his co-star Aaron Paul’s nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ and the show for ‘Best Series’. Breaking Bad has already won an Emmy this year for editing. The predications are looking good for the show. The Emmys air live tonight 8pm EST on CBS. Can Bryan win 2 years in a row?

It’s like being crowned homecoming king, except you don’t have the pimples anymore….It’s one of those things where you get the call in the morning and you think, ‘Oh, my God, somebody died.’ You can’t imagine what that is for a split-second. You think no good can happen that early in the morning.

Source: TVGuide,,,,

September 20th, 2009 (8) Comments - Post a Comment

Bryan Cranston on ‘Anytime with Bob Kushell’ & ‘Adam Carolla Podcast’

March 31, 2009Anytime with Bob Kushell

March 26, 2009The Adam Carolla Podcast

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

GayEye (first 5 minutes of the audio podcast in video)

September 20th, 2009 (0) Comments - Post a Comment

Jane Kaczmarek ‘Raising The Bar’ Update

Jane Kaczmarek in Raising The Bar

Jane stars in legal drama Raising the Bar as Judge Trudy Kessler on TNT. We posted the whole first episode of Season 1 a while back, but now the Season 1 DVD is out and available on

Season 2 started airing in June and has just finished mid-season with 12 episodes. The final 3 of the season will air early next year (2010).

Added to our GALLERY

We currently don’t know if the show will be picked up for a 3rd Season.


September 19th, 2009 (2) Comments - Post a Comment

Jane Kaczmarek ‘I take classes in letterpress, oil painting and music theory’

Jane Kaczmarek (Lois)Jane Kaczmarek (Lois) did a short interview with in June (before the divorce news broke) She seems very upbeat, “It’s a wonderful life” we can only guess if this was genuine or if she was just keeping things private.

» EXPRESS: “Raising the Bar” is such a change from your “Malcolm” days.
» KACZMAREK: The funny thing is that I went to Yale School of Drama, and the work that I got for years afterwards was serious stuff. I couldn’t even get auditions for comedies! After “Malcolm,” people now think of me as such a comedian. But “Raising the Bar” is really returning to what I’ve done for most of my career.

» EXPRESS: Do you prefer being on a drama?
» KACZMAREK: Doing comedy is really a blast, but “Malcolm” had its challenges, like working with children all the time. What I really love about “Raising the Bar” is working with adults. It’s fun to go to work and be surrounded by grown-ups — really, really good-looking grown-ups.

» EXPRESS: It is a very young, attractive cast.
» KACZMAREK: At 53, I’m the veteran. When I hang out with the other actors, I think, “Boy, they know a lot about computers and popular music.” And then I realize it’s because they’re 20 years younger. It’s funny to work with these boys who you think are so cute, and then you realize you could easily be their mother.

» EXPRESS: You once said a great thing about playing a judge was getting to wear comfy clothes under your robe.
» KACZMAREK: If there’s one thing that every actress asks before a scene, it’s “Are you going to see my feet?” If you are, you put on your beautiful shoes that are killing you. If you’re not, you put on your Uggs.

» EXPRESS: Your wardrobe must be all black robes and fancy collars.
» KACZMAREK: I love that because my character is unmarried, has no children and has no life other than her political aspirations, she really dolls herself up. You mostly see the robe, but they always add beautiful scarves, earrings and bracelets.

» EXPRESS: Are you a clotheshorse in real life?
» KACZMAREK: As I’ve gotten older, I realize I have a lot of beautiful things. What am I saving them for? Now I take the time in the morning to put on a nice necklace and a bangle. I feel so much better when I’ve put attention into what I’m wearing.

» EXPRESS: Your charity,, auctions celebrity clothes and swag for children’s groups.
» KACZMAREK: When Brad was on “West Wing” and “Malcolm” was in its heyday, you wouldn’t believe the stuff we’d get! If you were a presenter at an awards show, they would give you a gift basket that they’d usually have to wheel out to your car. It would make me anxious. I knew something had to be done with it.

» EXPRESS: You’ve kept busy since “Malcolm.”
» KACZMAREK: I take classes in letterpress, oil painting and music theory. I’m having a mad affair with Beethoven! It’s a wonderful life — kind of like college again.


September 15th, 2009 (2) Comments - Post a Comment

Jane Kaczmarek has ‘The Jiggles’ [Music]

Jane and Brad at CD Launch Party For A World Of Happiness 3 April 2004

April 3 2004 – Jane Kaczmarek (Lois) and then husband Brad launched the A World of Happiness music CD for kids. They sing a song entitled The Jiggles on the celeb filled album. Proceeds go to various charities, Jane picked the Children’s Defence Fund, who she often supports. The song is quite catchy and very well produced, I’m sure kids love it.

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At the launch event Jane and Brad taught kids The Jiggles dance, check out the photos in our GALLERY.

The CD was just recently re-issued so go and grab the whole album as an MP3 download on for $8.99 or just Jane’s track for $0.99 ( £6.99/£0.79)


September 14th, 2009 (3) Comments - Post a Comment

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