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Bryan Cranston: ‘My Life in 15 Songs’

Earlier this month, Bryan Cranston (Hal) wrote this piece for BlackBook Magazine’s online site.

In the article, Bryan gives us the ‘soundtrack’ to his life: fifteen songs that have influenced him over the years and that he has found particularly meaningful.

Bryan Cranston - BlackBook Photoshoot

This list is much more than just the songs I like. It is the soundtrack of my life. It pretty accurately expresses how music has influenced and shaped me over the past 54 years. What follows is chronological, not in terms of when the music was produced, but when it mattered to me. So, here it is: my life in 15 songs.

Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.” I was popular in grade school, but that didn’t translate to being bold when it came to girls. Carolyn was a beautiful, fun girl who set my heart afire. I needed to ask her out. A graduation party at a friend’s house was my last chance. Paul and Art were harmonizing this song as I watched a new boy in school accomplish in two seconds what I couldn’t in two years. He went right up and asked her out. She said yes, and before the party was over they were making out on the living room couch. I was staggered, hurt and embarrassed. This song takes me back to that vulnerable time.

The Doors’ “Light My Fire.” My parents ended their marriage in the late ’60s. This song gave me an escape. I’d listen to it over and over again and it took me to another place: “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher. Come on baby, light my fire.” I was still a virgin then and wondered, Can a girl really light you on fire during sex?

Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl.” When I was 16, I followed my brother Kyle’s lead and joined the Los Angeles Police Department’s Explorer program. Every Saturday for eight weeks, I had to get up at 5 a.m. to make it to the Academy for training. The radio alarm was set to jolt me awake, and I liked not knowing what song it would be: Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May,” Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft” or maybe this one, “Brown Eyed Girl.”

Eagles’ “Take It Easy.” In 1972, my Explorer troop traveled to Europe for a month. The official agenda was to learn from other police departments. The unofficial agenda was liquor and women—nirvana for a 16-year- old boy. After a few beers, a couple of the guys would break out guitars and play this song on a street corner. I’d accompany them (poorly) on my harmonica. To our surprise, passersby would drop coins in the hat, ensuring beer money for the next few days. This was also the trip where I lost my virginity to a very professional woman in Austria. I vowed to return one day to find it.

Elvis Presley’s “The Wonder of You.” In the mid-’70s, realizing I was never going to be a policeman, I took off with my brother from California on motorcycles. We traveled for two years with stops to avoid bad weather and to make money. Our destination of choice was Daytona Beach, Florida, where our cousins lived. One of them, Freddie, was accustomed to using his musical talents to pick up girls. We joined in. I honed my impression of Elvis Presley and even won a talent contest or two gyrating to his songs. It was a seminal moment when I realized that timidity wouldn’t win over girls. I changed overnight.

Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Billy’s music reminds me of my years living in the Big Apple. Good times.

Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major.” How can anyone possibly listen to this classic and not be moved? Were my musical tastes maturing or was I still just trying to impress the ladies?

Nat King Cole’s “Our Love Is Here to Stay.” This was “our song” at my wedding to Robin in 1989. Sappy? Perhaps. But you bet it was sweet.

Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” On a thunderous, stormy night in Venice, on our honeymoon, we ducked into a church near St. Mark’s Square. We listened in awe as the musicians made this orchestration come alive.

George Strait’s “I Just Want to Dance with You.” I love this song’s simplicity. It compelled me to lift my new baby girl in my arms and dance her across the room every time it came on.

Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” I was fortunate to have a recurring role on Seinfeld as Tim Whatley, the gang’s dentist. I appeared in some iconic episodes, such as “The Yada Yada.” This song played at the farewell wrap party while clips and outtakes of the nine-year run were shown.

They Might Be Giants’ “Boss of Me.” This was Malcolm in the Middle’s theme song. That show changed America’s view of the modern family, and the experience changed my life forever.

Jack Johnson’s “Taylor.” My daughter’s name is Taylor, so this one is a must for obvious reasons.

Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” What I love about this song is not just that it affects me, but that it makes my girls sing and dance. There is joy in the world.

Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I first heard this evocative cover at a graduation ceremony when my sister, Amy, received her master’s degree, a huge achievement considering our childhood. In a quiet moment, close your eyes and listen to this transcendent song. You’ll have the feeling you’re no longer in Kansas.

Source: BlackBook

April 26th, 2010

Bryan Cranston in Two New Movie Projects

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston (Hal) is currently starring as the character of Walter White in AMC’s Breaking Bad and will also appear in feature film Red Tails sometime this year.

Now, there are reports that Bryan is in the final stages of negotiation for Larry Crowne, a new feature film produced by Tom Hanks in which he will star alongside Hanks and Julia Roberts.

Bryan Cranston is in final negotiations to co-star with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in “Larry Crowne.” Hanks also is directing the dramedy for Vendome and Universal.

Written by Hanks and Nia Vardalos, the story centers on the title character (Hanks), who is downsized from his job and decides to start over by enrolling in college. There he forms some unexpected bonds with fellow students while also catching the eye of a professor (Roberts).

Cranston, star of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” is playing Roberts’ husband, a blogger who spends most of his time looking at porn.

Hanks is producing with his Playtone partner Gary Goetzman. Vendome is financing the film, which begins principal photography this month in Los Angeles. Universal is distributing the movie domestically.

It is also reported that Bryan will also appear with Ben Kingsley in A Birder’s Guide To Everything, a feature-length film from Rob Meyer, expected to start shooting this summer.

The film is a feature length treatment of Meyer’s short film “Aquarium,” and the synopsis below reveals that the film actually centers on teenage leads, not adults, so it’s unclear who Cranston and Kingsley will play:

After spotting what he thinks is an extinct duck, high school sophomore and bird enthusiast David Portnoy persuades his two dorky buddies and the “new girl in school” to join him on a quest to locate the mysterious bird. What begins as a simple and straightforward mission becomes a coming-of-age adventure for all involved, particularly David, who must come to terms with some painful aspects of his family life.

Bryan seems to have plenty of projects lined up for 2010; he also confirmed in a video chat for Malcolm France last month (video coming soon) that Season 4 of Breaking Bad is likely to start shooting in August.

Source: The Playlist, Hollywood Reporter

April 25th, 2010

Linwood Boomer on How to Get a Job Writing for TV

Linwood Boomer, who was of course the creator of Malcolm in the Middle and was the original ‘genius’ that the character of Malcolm was modelled on, has been speaking at the Los Angeles Comedy Shorts Film Festival.

Linwood Boomer

He had some advice for anyone trying to get a job writing comedy for TV — just write lots and lots of scripts.

Linwood Boomer started as an actor, became a writer, made enough money, and retired.

Write TV spec scripts. I wrote Malcolm as a spec script just to keep in practice. The guy at FOX who bought it got fired for some other reason and we were ignored for 12 episodes. By then we had critical acclaim so they poured all kinds of money into it. We had seven years of doing whatever we wanted to. It was like winning the lottery.”

“How to get a job in TV? Write scripts and send them out. You need four or five good scripts and they will do your auditioning for you. If you don’t get any calls write some more.”

Source: BlogCritics

April 25th, 2010

Frankie Muniz Sets up a YouTube Channel

I’ll let Frankie himself introduce this story:

I just made a YouTube account… Things are about to get ugly. Who wants the first video?

According to Frankie’s girlfriend Elycia Marie, Frankie’s new channel was the 12th most subscribed to in the week before April 14th.

Right now there are only three videos – Frankie has so far used the channel to, well, do the Ice Cream and Cake Dance, tell you ‘the truth’ about Justin Bieber and respond to someone on Twitter (language warning!) who had apparently missed the sarcasm of the mentioned Justin Bieber video.

You can watch those videos on YouTube directly (and subscribe to Frankie’s channel there), or view them all here below.

Language may not be work safe on the last video!

It will be interesting to see how Frankie continues to use his new account!

April 20th, 2010

KSiteTV Interviews Frankie Muniz on ‘Pizza Man’

Frankie Muniz (Malcolm) has recently been focusing back on acting and has been working on a new film project Pizza Man, as we have previously reported.

Frankie with Diamond Dallas Page, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and director Joe Eckar

Today, KSiteTV have published an exclusive interview with Frankie, where he talks about the new project as well as his return to acting.

KSITETV: What made you choose “Pizza Man” as the movie that brings you back to acting, and what have you been up to?

MUNIZ: I’ve been off racing cars for a while, and I’m in a band now. I’ve been really busy trying to find some other things I’m into. I always said I would get back into acting, and I just didn’t know when. It literally was a luck of the draw kind of thing. I called my manager for the first time in like four years, and like two weeks later the Pizza Man script came to me. I read it, and I really, really enjoyed the script. I thought it would be a lot of fun; a bunch of good guys working on it, and here I am. I’m having a really good time and I think we’re getting some really good stuff.

I’m really happy to be back as an actor. I didn’t think that I would miss it as much as coming back has reminded me that I did. So I’m really excited to be here.

It is particularly interesting that Frankie seems to have decided to return to acting in a very short space of time. It does now look fairly likely that his car racing aspirations might be on the backburner for some time, as he is also now playing drums for Phoenix-based rock band You Hang Up.

You can read the full interview at KSiteTV; they even promise more Pizza Man interview content over the next week.

Shooting on the new picture is happening throughout the month of April 2010, after which Frankie is set to return to Phoenix, Arizona to continue drumming with You Hang Up.

Source: KSiteTV

April 13th, 2010

Sons of Tucson Cancelled – Remaining Episodes will Air in June

Justin Berfield’s new show Sons of Tucson has unfortunately not been popular enough and it has been confirmed by FOX (via Variety) that the show will be removed from its current time slot. Effectively, the show has been cancelled.

Sons of Tucson promotional image

Thankfully, the remaining episodes will air in the summer, in a process known as ‘burning off’ (where the network just seeks to fill less popular time slots). From June 6, the remaining 9 episodes will air on Sundays at 7:30pm.

This is a big disappointment for the show as well for those who worked on it and means almost certainly that there won’t be a second season.

It’s no consolation, but perhaps fans should be glad that the show got this far — it sounds obvious, but getting a TV show on US national television is very hard. The fact that Sons of Tucson got this far genuinely is an achievement. While the viewing numbers weren’t enough for FOX to want to keep it in its slot, let us not forget that several million people did enjoy watching it.

We look forward to seeing the rest of the episodes in the summer and wish Justin luck in his future projects!

Source: Gouki on our forums, Variety

April 9th, 2010

More Details Emerge on Frankie’s New Film ‘Pizza Man’

Frankie with his girlfriend Elycia at Celebrity Fight Night XVI recently

Following on from the news yesterday that Frankie Muniz (Malcolm) had apparently landed a role in a new superhero movie Pizza Man, it seems that we now have confirmation that this is indeed the case.

Replying to our very own TJ on Twitter, Frankie’s girlfriend Elycia Marie was able to confirm it. It even seems she will have a role in the film!

officially in the film. hellllo SAG card. i hope it’s as valuable as my safeway club card. probably not.

@elyciamarie By ‘the film’ do you mean “Pizza Man”?

@MITM yes… pizza man! 😀

We also received a message on our forums here from the owner of KSiteTV, who we cited in our original article.

Craig from KSiteTV here…

I was just on the Pizza Man set; really good crew and I saw Frankie’s costume and some scenes from the movie… he’s definitely in it.

I should be posting interviews with the writer and director soon; hopefully I can get Frankie if he’s willing to do an interview… he wasn’t on set today as it was his day off (as you all caught on his Twitter).

Some interesting posts on the Los Angeles Craigslist have also surfaced, one requesting a ‘Stand in Actor for Frankie Muniz’:

Hello Lovely Actors! Currently casting for Stand-In Actor for Frankie Muniz. Must be around 5’5”, with brown hair similar in appearance to Frankie’s. no visible tattoos and/or piercings. Must be available FULLTIME and have an excellent attitude. We start shooting next week and it will go for four weeks. Feature film: Genre: Superhero/Comedy/Action Adventure. Email CURRENT photo and resume etc and we will schedule a time for you to come in and interview.

ps. if you can also toss pizza dough that is a plus but def not a requirement:) But must be SAG

Thank you!

Extras Casting Director

So, it’s official! We will hopefully be seeing Frankie back on screen in the not too distant future.

Shooting on Pizza Man is apparently is taking place for the next four weeks in the Los Angeles area. Frankie’s band You Hang Up are to take a brief hiatus while Frankie is busy shooting the picture (according to TMZ), but they are planning a small tour soon.

We wish Frankie every success with the new project and of course continued success with You Hang Up when he returns to that in May!

Frankie drumming for 'You Hang Up'

Source: @elyciamarie on Twitter, Craig from KSiteTV, TMZ

March 31st, 2010

Frankie Muniz Reportedly to Act in New Movie ‘Pizza Man’

In recent years, Frankie Muniz (Malcolm) has seemed to move away from acting and has pursued a racing career as well as recently joining Arizona-based band You Hang Up as a drummer.

Frankie making a recent appearance at Celebrity Fight Night XVI

Now, KSiteTV is reporting that Frankie has landed an acting role in Pizza Man, which is set to be a family-friendly superhero movie.

Malcolm In The Middle star Frankie Muniz is returning to acting for the first time in five years for a new movie currently being filmed with the title of “Pizza Man.”

The film is executive produced by Foz McDermott, known to many online fans of Heroes as “TheMightyFoz” on Twitter. McDermott was involved in many aspects of the show’s production, also producing for the BBC “Heroes Unmasked” series in addition to writing episodes of the Heroes “Slow Burn” tie-ins as well as writing for the online graphic novels.

“Pizza Man,” envisioned as a family-friendly feature that could be enjoyed by fans of the genre as well as their kids, also features former championship wrestler “Diamond” Dallas Page as the villain.

Frankie’s recent tweets do seem to support the story that he is filming something, although there is scarce information available and neither Frankie himself nor anyone officially connected to him have announced his participation in the Pizza Man project.

First day of filming tomorrow. I sure hope I remember how to do this!

First day on set… Everybody tell @elyciamarie to hurry up and drive out from AZ!

Great first day back on set! Cast and crew are all good people! Tomorrow = Day off!

Hopefully some more details and official confirmation will emerge soon, but it does seem likely that Frankie is returning to acting in some capacity. No word on how this affects his role as drummer in You Hang Up or his racing career which appears to be on hold for now.

Thanks to Nico21 on the forums for finding the KSiteTV article.

Source: KSiteTV, @frankiemuniz on Twitter

March 30th, 2010

Justin Berfield Shares Behind-The-Scenes Photos of Sons of Tucson

Justin Berfield (Reese) recently had a ‘live tweet’ event where he shared behind-the-scenes information and photos from the set of Episode 3 of the new show he is producing, Sons of Tucson. The live tweet event is now over, but you can follow him on Twitter — @justinberfield.

Tyler Labine's glasses

“those were Tylers glasses in the 1st scene.The sun was killing him and we thought they looked Snuffkin like.”

Buddy Handleson as Gabe

“Gabe AKA “Asskiss” is played by buddy Handleson. He appears in a later episode called “Kisses and Beads” ”

Fred Savage directed Season 1 Episode 3

“Fred Savage directed this episode.”

Faking Bad Acting

“In this episode the boys make a short film that required to fake “bad acting” Not easy!”

Storm Drain Leaked

“We created the storm drain on stage and it leaked nearly collapsing the entire stage floor.”

'Steer Cleer of Illegal Viagra'


Sound advice from Justin there. You can see all these photos (plus a few more) in our Sons of Tucson Season 1 Behind the Scenes Gallery.

After the jump, read all of the Justin’s questions and answers from the live tweet.


March 29th, 2010

Frankie Muniz at Celebrity Fight Night XVI

Frankie Muniz (Malcolm) and his girlfriend Elycia Marie have once again been involved in a celebrity charity event in Arizona. This was the Muhammad Ali Celebrity Fight Night XVI, held on March 20, 2010 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix.

Frankie Muniz and Elycia Marie at Celebrity Fight Night XVI

Recognized as one of the nation’s elite charity events, Celebrity Fight Night is a star-studded evening presented in honor of our featured guest, Muhammad Ali. Celebrities and professional athletes from all over the country participate in a night filled with incredible Live Auction items and live musical performances by many of today’s brightest stars.

This power-packed night of excitement not only leaves our audience with unforgettable memories each year, but more importantly, provides significant dollars for charities that help many people in need. Throughout Celebrity Fight Night’s fifteen year history nearly $60 million has been raised with the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute as the primary beneficiary. Numerous other charities have benefited and countless lives have been changed thanks to the tremendous generosity of our supporters.

The event this year was hosted by country music artist Reba McEntire, who has hosted the event for the past four years. Other acts on stage during the event included teen sensation Charice and The John Corbett Band.

You can see more photos of Frankie and Elycia in our gallery.

Kyle from JohnJay and Rich (a radio show) even recorded this video of Frankie at the event.

Source: Gather, Examiner, Zimbio, Celebrity Fight Night, Celebrity Fight Night 2010 Calendar of Events, Kyle interviews Frankie Muniz (YouTube)

March 24th, 2010

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