Walts Warning is an very cool customizable promotional video, check out the hardcore ‘Hal’ go after Francis…
Promos, Inside Breaking Bad and Minisodes
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AMC did 2 interviews with Bryan about acting and directing and had a fan Q&A…
Q&A – Bryan Cranston (Walter White)
AMCtv.com – 2 June 2009
The Emmy-winning star describes Walt’s multiple-personality style, shares a tale of on-set rabble-rousing and denies any secret fondness for Funyuns in AMCtv.com’s exclusive interview.
Q: You directed the first black and white teaser in Episode 1. Did you know then that it would result in a plane crash?
A: I didn’t. And they were trying to keep it a secret. Had I just been an actor, I wouldn’t even ask. But as a director I really felt I needed to know so I could shoot it correctly — is it supposed to be eerie? Odd? Is it scary? And so as we progressed I had more and more questions and I realized I should know where this is going. And when I got the script and found out, I guess I’m very subjective and proprietary to the character, because even after I read it I went, “Well how am I responsible for that?”
Q: Before the big reveal, one of the leading theories was that the water heater Walt installed exploded.
A: They think that I’m that bad of a handyman? I’m pretty handy! I do a lot of things around the house, and I actually enjoy it. Walt is probably not as handy as I am — but he’s much smarter than I am. He looks at a task from a scientific point of view and says, “That makes sense because that connects to that.” And he hasn’t had that opportunity, so putting in a new water heater is like, “I’m doing something for my family, and it keeps my mind occupied.”
Q: Did your knowledge of chemistry improve this season?
A: I learn all my chemistry from my teacher, Walter White. I was from the era where you memorized the periodic table like you’re memorizing dates. “How is that important?” “Nevermind Cranston, just memorize it!” It’s the lazy teacher’s way out. I’m already pissed off that I have to memorize the elements, then I see that Iron is “Fe.” Why is Iron “Fe?” Is that like some joke? I really rebelled against lazy teachers. So the scenes when Walt is teaching are important scenes to me. You get to see Walt in his element and actually enjoying life as a teacher — dispelling myth and encouraging kids and getting them excited.
Q: Walt’s wardrobe shifted to dark colors this season. Was that a welcome change for you?
A: It was something that Vince wanted to do, and I accepted it because I thought it should be a subliminal choice. Walt wouldn’t say, “I’m going to start wearing black.” It’s something that he just starts to feel. He just feels this color is right. The other thing Walt’s done, which I think is interesting, is that even though he’s told his hair is going to start growing back, he shaves his head. I think it’s a subliminal feeling from Walt, like “I don’t recognize that guy in the mirror.” He’s dropped a considerable amount of weight; he’s gotten a lot older in the past four or five months. And as long as he’s looking in the mirror and seeing someone he doesn’t recognize he can justify what he’s doing: “That’s not me; that’s Heinsenberg.”
Q: Do you plan to direct an episode next season?
A: I’m going to direct the first episode again. It’s great to be able to think in terms of the bigger picture. As an actor you only think of me, and that’s why actors are so self-centered. And sometimes that spills over into your real life and that’s no good. So it’s a good lesson in humility, because you realize how demanding actors can be.
Q: Who was the troublemaker on set this season?
A: We all have a lot of fun. You pull some practical jokes from time to time. For the episode where one of Jesse’s guys gets ripped off, I go to his house and I pull out a gun and put it on the counter and say, “I want you to handle it.” Well, props had a dildo, and I’m all serious and Aaron didn’t know so I’m looking at him and I pull out the dildo and say, “I want you to handle it.” He looks down and sees that and it’s all over. [Laughs]
Q: Episode 9’s director, Michelle MacLaren, told us you’re quite the Funyun connoisseur.
A: I never even knew what they were. I’d never had one. And I was like my character: “Funyuns? This is what you get when I say get food? Are you an idiot?” We’re out there and he’s having a smoke and I’m eating Funyuns, just giving in. And it’s like eating anything that’s sugary sweet or salty good. I start eating them during the scene, and then she noticed we’re in between takes and I was still eating them. She’s like, “Oh you like those!” I’m like, “S—! She caught me.” It was just one of those mindless things.
Q: You studied police science in college. What was the inspiration?
A: It was very manly. My brother had joined this police explorer group, and the first thing he did was go to Japan for three weeks. Then the following year he went to Hawaii, so I was like “Man, I gotta join this thing.” So I went through the LAPD training program and I graduated first in my class of 111 recruits. So I thought, “Oh, I’m good at this. I guess I’ll do it.” Then I went to college to get a degree in it, and I was going to become a detective, put in 30 years and then retire. But then I took acting classes in junior college, and that was the end of that. So here I am on the other side of the law, where none of it comes into play because Walt wouldn’t know a thing about it!
Bryan Cranston Answers Fan Questions (Part I & II)
AMCtv.com – 18 March 2009
In the first part of Bryan Cranston’s chat with fans, the Breaking Bad star discusses the importance of the show’s cancer plot line and how he makes his crazy chemist believable.
coco1997: What role are you most recognized for, and what’s it like to go from playing a goofy character in Malcolm in the Middle to such an overly dramatic one here?
A: I’m still mostly recognized for Malcolm in the Middle, and now Breaking Bad seems to have taken over second place. Last year it was Seinfeld second, King of Queens third and then Breaking Bad. And now Breaking Bad has jumped over. As far as playing roles, there are silly parts and there are sincere parts of a person’s character, and sometimes you are very funny and sometimes you’re not. Actors are no different. So if you’ve been doing a comedy for seven years like I did, you look forward to a way to change that up.
chamat: I’m always curious about the method great artists use for their craft. Could you tell us about your own personal recipe?
A: Actors’ basic tools are observation, imagination and experience. So if you can draw upon a personal experience, that helps. But I’m not a chemist, I’ve never killed anybody. So for Walter White, you have to be able to use your imagination of what it’s like, and then your ability of observation of people who are in that environment: Chemists, professors; their manner is more orderly. Their whole world is constructed in a sense that there’s a mathematical answer to every question. Everything is exact and precise, and so too the people tend to be. So you just watch people. As I’ve always said, actors should never be bored. There’s always some work to do. I used to go out with my wife shopping. She would shop and I would sit in the mall and watch the behavior of people — people having a good time, people having an argument, the frustration of people, people scared — you’re watching and looking at all that behavior and you file that away, because at some point in your career you’re going to use it.
zekenzoey: Have you thought about what would happen if Walt had time for introspection, time to confront the consequences of his actions?
A: That’s a great question. I’ve thought about that. He’s a bright man, he’s a scientist, and certainly capable of deduction and assessing what he’s doing. And quite frankly, he doesn’t want to know. I’ve played him where I want him to be selfish. And this is an interesting role, because I have to let negative characteristics seep into this guy. Your impulse as a human being is to fight that — to do the right thing. I have to allow these dark sides of a character to come in and play, and one of them is selfishness: “I want to make as much money as I can before I die, and I want to keep these blinders on. If I look peripherally at what I’m doing to society, I could talk myself out of it, and I can’t afford to do that.” And so that’s how he justifies it. And it’s a very simple, honest human emotion. He’s saying, “I know it’s wrong, but I’m doing it anyway.”
DRKellogg: What would be the worst part about Skyler finding out?
A: Well, Walt’s point of view is that she would never know. Because I couldn’t answer that question — I couldn’t tell her where the money came from because to me it’s a deal-breaker. Adult relationships are all conditional in that when you meet your mate, you’re weighing them, and you accept the given set of circumstances that each person brings to a relationship. But if all of a sudden she finds out that I’m a criminal — a drug dealer and a murderer, to me that’s a deal-breaker. To me, she couldn’t live with that and we’d be done. I can’t afford to have her find out. It would be the end of everything I’ve worked for.
Richard Mansfield: In preparing for this role, did you research meth? Do you have a personal position on it?
A: I restricted my research to chemistry. The production made it available for me to learn more about crystal meth and its effects, and I said, “How much would Walt know about this?” He knows the chemical aspect of it — he also has an opinion on it. If you were to ask him before all of this, he would say it’s a devastating, destructive drug and you’re a fool if you ever start using. I, Bryan, would echo the same thing, and would say that while crystal meth raises the stakes in our show, it’s an incredibly destructive scourge on society. We’re not glorifying the use or making of it. We’re looking at this the same way that Clint Eastwood looked into violence in Unforgiven. In order to show the cruelty and the depth of how destructive violence is, you have to go into that world. And that’s the same thing we’re doing here — we’re putting up a mirror to society.
Clemmiedane: Do you ever wish Breaking Bad’s plot didn’t have a built-in end date based on the terminal illness?
A: No. I think it makes it more real. It sets up a doomsday clock. And that puts pressure on the show, puts pressure on my character: The clock is ticking. It raises the stakes. I have to get this done in a timely period because at some point, even if I don’t die right away, my body is going to start breaking down and I won’t be physically able to continue.
In Part II of Bryan Cranston’s chat with fans, the Emmy-winning actor discusses his love of motorcycles, puppies and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
lauraK: Your character seems to be developing a very dysfunctional father/son relationship with Jesse. How do you feel about the direction the characters are taking?
A: Walt has no interest or desire to develop this relationship with him. He’s strictly there out of necessity, to facilitate my need. We have nothing in common. He is a nincompoop. I’m a man of science – I actually have some contempt for Jesse. He almost enjoys being an idiot and a drug user. He’s failed in everything, and he doesn’t seem to want to change. But you’re right in the sense that despite all that, the way Aaron Paul plays him, he creates such compassion in people and you feel for him despite what he’s doing. I figured out the other day that Jesse is like a puppy dog: He’s cute, and he’s messy. He shits the rug, and you have to scold him: “Stop it! Just stop it! What’s the matter with you?” And then a moment later his tail is wagging and you go, “Oh, come here.” And so despite yourself and despite the fact you have to clean up his mess, you still feel for him because there’s almost a sense, like a puppy, that he doesn’t know any better. For some reason, something skipped in him – some chromosomes were missing, and he doesn’t know how to clean up his life. So where did this come from? It’s awfully interesting, and we’re going to continue to explore it.
kelley_b: If you were told you had a limited time left to live, how would spend it?
A: I would explore the world with my family. I’d probably make a list of the ten places in the world I’d want to see before I die – adventurous places like Machu Picchu in Peru or Easter Island. I’d make a list of the 10 or 12 people that I really want to spend time with before I die — locally one of my heroes is a baseball broadcaster named Vince Kelly and I’d like to meet him. And I’d just spend time with my family. I certainly wouldn’t cook crystal meth.
oatgan: If you were to cast another actor as Walter White, who would it be and why?
A: I just recently met Philip Seymour Hoffman, and he made it a point to seek me out at a gathering; he came up to me and said how much he loved the show and my character and how much he can’t wait for the new season. My mouth was open, it was so cool, which made me think, “God how cool would it be to get him on our show!” He’s a brilliant actor and to have another actor say that to you is really very humbling. I think Phil Hoffman would be terrific in that role. There are so many people who could do this – I certainly accept and understand that. But when you create a role you try to leave an indelible stamp. I sense that the question has a hidden thought, which is that it’s hard to imagine someone else doing this. But the truth is there are hundreds of actors who could have had this role and done a phenomenal job in it.
RJ: In the video of your house, you are showing off your very nice motorcycle. Is that a Roadmaster? Do you ride the bike much?
A: I have a 2006 Heritage Softail with 16,000 miles on it. I like long-distance riding. To me a motorcycle is best when you’re on the open road – when you’re cruising up the coast or in the mountains, that’s heaven to me. And it’s like a zen thing for me, because you’re alone. Even when I’m riding with my brother-in-law and other buddies who have their motorcycles, for that period of time you’re on the motorcycle you’re alone in your thoughts. You just cruise and have thoughts come in and out and you look at pretty scenery and it’s very relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. It’s an interesting dichotomy being on a motorcycle, and motorcycle riders get it. It’s one of those things where you either get it or you don’t. And I like that. I think Breaking Bad is that way – you either get it or you don’t.
KaraA: What’s the mood like on set? Are things always serious?
A: We have a blast. We have a great time, we laugh and we goof around and on our DVD extras for the first season you’ll see outtakes and things like that where we’re goofing around. You can’t keep a somber tone – you keep a distinction between what goes on screen and what goes into making it. Ultimately, it’s a suspension of belief, what we do. We’re asking the audience to believe I’m Walter White, and I’m going through this ordeal. And that’s the contract we have with an audience. But it’s not all down – any good drama has a healthy dose of comedy or levity to it, and so do we off camera.
Lance Foxx: Do you believe Breaking Bad has the potential to make it as a feature film?
A: I would welcome that if the story is appropriate. A story should dictate the medium, not the other way around. In other words, if a story is big enough, or needs to be told over 1.5 to 2 hours and it encompasses a larger frame, then it’s probably appropriate to be a film. If a story is better told in chapter form, well that’s more a television series. So this story is best told in series format, where you follow a man’s life over the course of two years. I don’t know that Breaking Bad would work as a film – and I say that, but someone could propose a storyline that’s big and has a beginning, a middle and end that really makes a lot of sense. And if that’s the case I’m all for that.
Q&A – Bryan Cranston (Director)
AMCtv.com – 12 March 2009
The Emmy-winning star of Breaking Bad discusses the difficulties of directing himself in the Season 2 premiere.
Q: Was there any particular reason you directed the first episode back?
A: Last year I wanted to see how it went being the lead in the cast and being in almost every scene. I wanted to see how that would play out, and whether my desire to direct would be beneficial to the show. They gave me this episode only because I needed the prep time. The only time that I, as an actor in the show, could prep properly would be the first episode when we’re not in production yet. It wasn’t like giving me a place of honor of directing the first show back — it was chosen out of necessity.
Q: What’s it like to direct yourself?
A: I always start by complimenting myself. As a director you come in and tell the actors how good they are. The thing that you have to be cautious about when you’re directing yourself is when you’re in a scene you can’t watch the other actors, so you need to make sure you’re getting what you need. I always advised the producers on set what I was looking for, and to make sure that we got it. I appreciate my role as an actor much more after I direct because it’s just easier. You’re focused on what you as a character want and need and how to go about getting it. As a director you’re worried about everyone.
Q: The episode begins with a mysterious shot of a stuffed animal in a pool. How did you approach that?
A: I had to talk to Vince [Gilligan] to say, “I’m reading this information, but I have no idea what it means. Do I need to know what it means?” And it was interesting because he didn’t have any specific idea about it – at the time the story was still evolving from a writer’s standpoint, and so we talked about it and I just pitched the idea that instead of this bear laying on the bottom of the pool, I wanted it floating – I just thought that image looks a little creepier and a little more interesting. So that was my pitch and they went for it.
Q: There’s a stark contrast between the pink bear and the rest of the scene being shot in black and white. What was your motivation?
A: That was actually done in post-production. I shot it in color, but I think they wanted a sense that it was other-worldly. And when you watch it in black and white, it does feel like, “Where are we?” There’s a conceit that if you see something in black and white it’s out of current, and I think that’s why they chose to do it.
Q: What tone did you try to set with the episode?
A: When you’re directing an ongoing series, the tone has already been set. So a director will come in and fulfill that tone — reinforce the characters and their behavior. The challenge is to find unique ways that you can visually tell the story while keeping the established tone and the pace and the characters. I know the tone, the pacing, the characters; so it was just finding interesting visual ways to tell the story that reinforce the mood, or are counter to the mood: The scene where Jesse is freaking out at the hot dog stand, for example. I wanted the little flashing dog in the background where the tail is wagging happily. Then in the foreground you see Jesse who’s about to puke. That kind of juxtaposition is always interesting visually.
Q: How did you approach the scene where Walt attacks Skyler?
A: I had to grapple with the idea of how we have our lead character rape his pregnant wife. How is that even possibly justified? I approached it from the point of view where he’s so bottled up he can’t tell anyone what he just witnessed – the murder of a man. The horror of that doesn’t leave his head. He doesn’t know what to do. He just needs comfort; he wants to say something, but he can’t. We get confused sometimes – that’s how I justified it as an actor, and that’s how I directed it. Emotions fly around and they hit you a certain way and it doesn’t always make sense. And when she finally yells “Stop it!” I wanted him to look like he’s in shock. Then there’s this long wide shot where he’s sitting in a chair outside and Skyler comes out, and it’s a lovely shot that helps enforce the loneliness and the chasm between the two.