BRYAN CRANSTON

May 17, 2019 at 4:45 am

Bryan Cranston takes the anchor desk as mad prophet of the airwaves Howard Beale in the hit Broadway play inspired by Paddy Chayefsky’s classic, “Network.” Now, the “Breaking Bad” star is here to share his take on the media and life in and out of the public eye.

For more info on “Network” click here.

Aired on May 16, 2019.

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>>> I WAS MAD AS HELL And I'M
NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE.
>> ACTOR PETER FINCH PORTRAYED
PETER BEAL IN THE 1976 OSCAR
WINNING FILM "NETWORK."
IT ARRIVED MORE THAN 40 YEARS
OLD.
IT WAS WHERE TV NEWS AND TABLOID
TELEVISION WERE HEADED AND IT
FEELS JUST AS PERTINENT TO OUR
TIME AS IT DID BACK THEN.
THE CURRENT ACCLAIMED BROADWAY
ADAPTATION OF THE 1976 MOVIE
"NETWORK" STARS BRIAN CRANSTON
AS THE MAD PROPHET OF THE AIR
WAVES.
CRANSTON, PROBABLY BEST KNOWN
FOR HIS FILM AND EMMY AWARD
WINNING SERIES "BREAKING BAD" IS
ALSO AN ACCOMPLISHED STAGE
PERFORMER.
WON A TONY AWARD FOR PLAYING
LYNDON JOHNSON IN THE PLAY "ALL
THE WAY" AND HE BRINGS ALL OF
HIS WEIGHT TO THE ACTING PART OF
HOWARD BEAL AND THIS MULTI-MEDIA
SPECTACLE.
WE ARE DELIED TO HAVE BRIAN
CRANSTON JOIN US.
BRIAN, IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU
HERE WITH US.
I WANT TO START WITH "NETWORK."
YOU'VE HAD A LONG AND
EXTRAORDINARILY SUCCESSFUL
CAREER.
I WOULD SUSPECT THAT GIVES YOU
THE LUXURY OF A LOI THE OPTIONS.
>> YES.
>> WHAT WAS IT ABOUT "NETWORK"
AND HOWARD BEAL THAT YOU SAID,
THIS IS THE NEXT THING FOR ME?
>> IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT THE STORY
FOR ME.
THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT
ELEMENT IN ANY PERFORMANCE ART
IS THE FOUNDATIONAL VALUE OF THE
WRITTEN WORD.
SKBL HOW FAMILIAR WERE YOU WITH
THE FILM BACK IN 1976?
>> SAW IT WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE
AND BACK THEN I THOUGHT, AS I
THINK IT WAS WRITTEN, INTENDED
TO BE A SATIRE, AND HOW CRAZY
WOULD IT BE IF WE CAN JUST TURN
ON OUR TELEVISIONS AND WATCH THE
DEATH HOUR, THE VIGILANTE SHOW
OR SEE AN EXECUTION ON -- YOU
KNOW, HOW SILLY.
HOW CRAZCRAZY.
>> MADNESS TAKING OVER OUR
TELEVISION.
>> WELL, NOW HERE WE ARE AND OUR
TELEVISIONS ARE JUST A LOT
SMALLER NOW.
THEY'RE IN THE PALM OF OUR
HANDS, AND -- BUT THAT
TECHNOLOGY IS, YOU KNOW, ALIVE
AND WELL AND LIVING IN THE
CENTURY.
>> AND I WONDER WATCHING IT, I
SAW IT AT THE SAME TIME.
AROUND THE SAME AGE, I'M A
COUPLE YEARS OLDER THAN YOU SO I
WAS JUST FINISHING LAW SCHOOL.
I HADN'T GOTTEN INTO THE
TELEVISION NEWS BUSINESS.
IT WOULD BE 15 YEARS BEFORE I
DID THAT.
I REMEMBER WATCHING THAT
THINKING, THAT'S KIND OF CURIOUS
THAT THEY WOULD THINK THIS IS
WHAT IT COULD BECOME BECAUSE AT
THE TIME, 1976, WE HAD THREE
NETWORKS AND WE HAD CLRONKITE,
NAMES THAT YOU RESPECTED.
>> RIGHT.
>> BUT YOU COULD TELL THAT
SOMETHING WAS STARTING TO CHANGE
BUT I LOOK AT IT AND SAY, HOW
PROPHETIC WAS HE?
WOULD WE KNOW WHAT IT WOULD LOOK
LIKE IN 2019 OR HE WAS THINKING
IT MIGHT SO MAYBE I BETTER SEND
OUT A WARNING ABOUT THIS?
WHAT DO YOU THINK LOOKING BACK?
>> WELL, PATTY HAD A VERY
CHALLENGING CAREER IN TELEVISION
AND FILM.
HE WAS A VERY PROUD WRITER AND
HE DIDN'T APPRECIATE NOTES FROM
MANAGEMENT ON THE VALUE OF SOME
OF HIS WRITING.
CHANGE THAT, CHANGE THAT AND HE
WASN'T PLEASED WITH THAT.
HE SAW THE MECHANISM OF
TELEVISION ADJUSTING TO THE
TEMPERAMENT OF ITS AUDIENCE.
I'LL BE HONEST WHEN I WAS
WATCHING CRONKITE OR BRINKLEY OR
ANY OF THOSE NOBLE AND REVERED
ANCHOR PEOPLE OF THE DAY, IT
NEVER OCCURRED TO ME THAT I WAS
BEING PACKAGED, THAT THEY WERE
SELECTING THE STORIES THAT THEY
WANTED TO TELL AND TO FEED ME.
>> AND THAT'S THE WAY IT IS,
FRIDAY, MARCH 6th, 1981.
>> I REALLY THOUGHT THAT WHEN
WALTER CRONKITE TOLD US ONE NEWS
ITEM AFTER ANOTHER, THIS IS JUST
WHAT IT IS AND THAT'S THE WAY IT
IS.
AND HE WOULD -- BUT, OF COURSE,
SOMEONE HAD TO MAKE DECISIONS
ABOUT, WELL, WE ONLY HAVE TIME
FOR THESE 12 STORIES AND THESE 6
NEED TO GO AWAY.
WELL, SOMEONE MADE THOSE
DECISIONS OF WHAT TO SAY AND
WHATNOT TO SAY.
AND YOU'D LIKE TO THINK THAT IT
WAS VERY ALTRUISTIC.
NO, IT WAS THIS IS WHAT THE
PEOPLE NEED TO HEAR.
THIS IS HEARSAY AND OPINION AND
WE DON'T WANT TO HAVE THAT IN
OUR NEWSCAST.
>> I TELL PEOPLE WHEN I FIRST
STARTED DOING TELEVISION NEWS 30
SOME YEARS AGO, IF I EVER LET MY
OPINION SEEP INTO MY REPORTING,
THEY'D PULL ME OFF THE AIR.
ISN'T THAT A QUAINT NOTION
TODAY.
>> NOW THEY PAY YOU MORE.
>> IF YOU DON'T GET AN OPINION
IN, NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR FROM
YOU.
>> ANGRIER ON THAT POINT.
GIVE ME A HOWARD BEAL.
LET'S JUMP IN ON THIS.
>> GET IT TO THAT POINT.
>> I HAD A MENTOR BY THE NAME OF
FRED FRIENDLY.
>> YES.
>> YOU KNOW THE NAME.
FRED FRIENDLY WAS THE CONSCIENCE
OF TELEVISION NEWS.
>> YES.
>> I STARTED DOING THINGS WITH
FRED ON PBS, MODERATING THE
PANELS.
FRED HAD A GREAT EXPRESSION HE
WOULD SAY.
IT'S WHAT I THOUGHT AFTER
WATCHING THIS.
I WANT TO KNOW IF YOU AGREE.
HE WOULD SAY THE PURPOSE OF THIS
SHOW IS NOT TO MAKE UP
EVERYBODY'S MIND, RATHER, IT'S
TO MAKE THE AGONY OF DECISION
MAKING SO INTENSE YOU CAN ESCAPE
ONLY BY THINKING.
>> OH.
>> ISN'T THAT A GREAT LINE.
>> THAT IS SO GOOD.
>> IT WORKS FOR ALMOST
EVERYTHING.
BUT I REMEMBER SITTING WATCHING
"NETWORK" AND IN THE END SORT OF
TAKING A BREATH THINKING, FRED
WOULD HAVE LOVED THIS.
NOT BECAUSE HE WOULD HAVE BEEN
TERRIBLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE
DIRECTION OF THE NEWS, AND HE
WAS, BY THE WAY, BACK THEN, BUT
HE WOULD HAVE LOVED THE FACT
THAT IT MADE EVERYBODY IN THE
AUDIENCE THINK.
>> WELL, YOU MIGHT BE PLEASED TO
KNOW THAT PATTY TALKED WITH FRED
ON THE RESEARCH FOR THIS.
>> I HAD HEARD THAT.
>> QUITE EXTENSIVELY.
>> I HAD HEARD THAT.
>> HE HAD PASSED BUT HIS WIFE
CAME TO THE SHOW.
SHE SENT ME A NOTE AND SAID,
FRED WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY PROUD
TO SEE THIS.
>> HE WOULD HAVE.
>> TO GET A STAMP OF APPROVAL
FROM A PERSON LIKE THAT WITH
THAT BACKGROUND, IT IS REALLY
SATISFYING.
>> YOU APPRECIATE THE STORY AND
THE LINE.
>> YES.
>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THE STAGING
BECAUSE IT'S SO DIFFERENT.
YOU KNOW, YOU START OFF AND
YOU'RE COMING OUT AS HOWARD
ABOUT TO ANCHOR THE NEWS AND I
THINK ANY OF US WHO HAVE EVER
ANCHORED A NETWORK NEWSCAST WERE
STARTING TO SWEAT RIGHT AWAY
THINKING THE CLOCK IS COUNTING
DOWN TO IT.
AND THERE'S SO MUCH GOING ON.
>> YEAH.
>> AND I THINK ONE OF THE GREAT
PARTS OF THE STAGING IS THE BIG
SCREEN SORT OF BEHIND YOU.
>> YEAH.
>> IT'S AS IF WE'RE WATCHING YOU
AND THEN WE'RE GETTING TO SEE
WHAT THE AUDIENCE GETS TO SEE
ALSO.
WHEN YOU FIRST SAW HOW THEY HAD
SET THIS WHOLE THING UP, WHAT
WAS YOUR REACTION TO EVERYTHING
THAT WAS GOING ON THERE?
>> EVA VANHOBART AND JAN, THE
SET DESIGNER, THEY LOVED THAT
MULTI-MEDIA INCLUSIVE KIND OF
BRING EVERYTHING AT YOU.
IT REALLY FITS.
IT'S VERY APPROPRIATE AND
GERMANE FOR THIS STORY.
A NEWSROOM AND THE ACTIVITY OF
IT.
AND ALSO THE -- IN TIMES THE
COMPLACENCY OF IT.
WE HAVE A LIVING RESTAURANT AND
BAR.
>> YEAH, THAT'S INTERESTING, ON
THE SIDE.
>> KIND OF CRAZY.
>> THEY COME IN, THROW MORE
MONEY, SIT THERE, HAVE DINNER.
AND YOU INTERACT WITH THEM ON
OCCASION.
>> EATING AND DRINKING.
>> YEAH.
>> YEAH, IT'S CRAZY.
>> IN SOME WAYS ALL OF THAT
ACTIVITY CENTERS YOU INTO
HOWARD.
>> GOOD.
>> AND I DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD,
BUT IT DID.
SO ONE OF THE THEMES, THE OVER
ARCHING THEMES OF THIS IS THE
NOTION OF THE POWER OF ANGER
AND, AGAIN, GOING BACK TO THE
FACT THAT THIS WAS WRITTEN 44
YEARS AGO?
>> YEAH.
>> AND NOW BEING PERFORMED IN
2019.
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE
NOTION OF IT IS AS REAL NOW,
MAYBE EVEN MORE SO THAN IT WAS
WHEN PATTY PUT IT DOWN ON PAPER
44 YEARS AGO.
>> HE RAILED AGAINST THOSE OF US
IN -- BACK IN THE DAY BEING SO
ADDICTED TO TELEVISION THAT
THAT'S -- WE COMPLETELY RELIED
ON IT AS IF IT WAS GIVING US OUR
SUSTENANCE THAT WE DEPENDED UPON
LIFE.
REMEMBER, WHEN IT WAS IN OUR
HOMES AND IT'S LIKE, THEY'VE GOT
COLORED TV.
REMEMBER THE FIRST, THEY'VE GOT
COLORED TV.
LET'S GO WATCH IT.
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU'RE
WATCHING, YOU'RE WATCHING COLOR
TV.
>> IT WAS MIRACULOUS.
THEY HAVE A COLOR ONE.
>> WE WERE ADDICTED TO THIS.
THEY WERE SO TAKEN IN.
WHO'S FIGHTING OVER THE CHANNEL?
DAD'S GOT IT --
>> YOU HAD TO FIGHT FOR THAT
HOUR.
>> YOU HAD TO BE THERE.
>> IT WENT AWAY.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
IN THAT CASE IT WAS MORE LIKE
LIVE THEATER BECAUSE ONCE IT WAS
OVER, IT'S OVER AND THAT'S IT
UNTIL THE RERUNS CAME IN AND
THEN IT WAS -- THEN IT BECAME --
AND THEN THE VCRs AS BIG AS A
SUITCASE.
BUT THAT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT RESONATES SO STRONGLY NOW.
WE ARE EVEN MORE ADDICTED TO THE
LATEST TECHNOLOGY.
OUR PHONES, OUR TELEVISIONS
WHICH IS NOW IN THE PALM OF OUR
HANDS.
HOW COMMON IS IT TO WALK DOWN
THE STREET AND YOU'RE SEEING
PEOPLE WALKING AND JUST -- IT'S
REALLY AMAZING, ISN'T IT, THE
ADDICTION.
>> AND FRIGHTENING.
>> AND FRIGHTENING YET I WILL
CONFESS THAT I, TOO, IT'S AN
AMAZING TOOL.
IT IS THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE THAT
IS TRULY VALUABLE.
>> SO --
>> THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS.
BUT THE OTHER THING THAT REALLY
STRUCK ME THAT IS THE POWER OF
ANGER, THAT WE SHUN IT.
IT'S NOT AN EMOTION THAT WE
WELCOME, BUT WHAT PATTY WAS
TAPPING INTO IS THE VALUE OF THE
REAL AND HONEST HUMAN EMOTION OF
ANGER.
AND IN MOST CASES IT'S PROBABLY
NOT VERY BENEFICIAL TO YOUR LIFE
TO EXPRESS IT.
>> RIGHT.
>> BUT SOMETIMES, AND SOME
PEOPLE WILL ARGUE MAYBE NOW IN
OUR POLITICAL -- SOCIOPOLITICAL
ENVIRONMENT NOW, MAYBE ANGER IS
THE APPROPRIATE EXPRESSION.
AND IS IT WRONG TO BE PUBLICLY
ANGRY IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC
DIRECTION?
>> WATCHING YOU ON STAGE AND YOU
ARE, YOU KNOW, SO DEEPLY
INVESTED IN THE DIFFERENT
EMOTIONS, AND I WAS ASTONISHED
WHEN I GOT A CHANCE TO GO
BACKSTAGE.
HOW IS HE NOT EXHAUSTED NOT
GOING THROUGH ALL OF THAT ANGER?
>> WELL, BECAUSE LIKE AN
ATHLETE, YOU'RE STILL ON
ADRENALINE.
YOU'RE STILL -- THAT GAME IS
STILL FRESH AND YOU'RE PUMPING,
YOU'RE SWEATING, YOU'RE STILL
FEELING THAT.
ISN'T IT TRUE THAT WHATEVER YOUR
SPORT WAS, THE NEXT DAY IS WHEN
YOU GO, WOW, WHAT HAPPENED
THERE?
>> YEAH, GOOD POINT.
>> WHERE DID THIS BRUISE COME
FROM?
>> I DON'T REMEMBER THAT HIT.
>> YEAH.
YOU'RE SORE AND YOU CAN -- IT'S
THE NEXT DAY EFFECT.
AND IT IS FOR ME, TOO.
YOU GO THROUGH ALL OF THIS.
YOU'RE PUMPED.
IT'S WHAT I LOVE TO DO.
IT'S MY JOB AND I WANT TO TELL
THE STORY AND I GIVE IT
EVERYTHING I CAN.
I'M WEEPING.
I'M ANGRY AND ALL THIS AND IT'S
THE NEXT DAY THAT I WAKE UP
AND --
>> BUT YOU'VE GOT TO DO IT
AGAIN.
>> GOT TO DO IT AGAIN.
>> LET ME ASK YOU A COUPLE OTHER
LINES IN THE SHOW AND THEN I'M
GOING TO TALK ABOUT YOUR CAREER
A LITTLE BIT.
WE TALK ABOUT SORT OF THE
TIMELESSNESS OF THIS TODAY,
2019, OF SOMETHING THAT'S
ADAPTED FROM SOMETHING THAT'S
WRITTEN 44 YEARS AGO.
THERE ARE TWO SPECIFIC ONES I
REMEMBER.
ONE WHERE YOU'RE TALKING
ABOUT -- AND LAMENTING, THE
CORRUPTION OF WALL STREET AND
FINANCE AND THE PARALYSIS OF
POLITICS IN WASHINGTON AND THEN
YOU TURN AND YOU SAY, AND THE
RUSSIANS.
AND IN MY AUDIENCE IT GOT A
GREAT REACTION.
>> EVERY DAY.
>> 44 YEARS AGO THAT WAS
WRITTEN.
>> NOT CHANGED.
>> I'M SAYING, IF PATTY WAS
WRITING TODAY, THAT SAME LINE
WOULD BE THERE.
>> SAME LINE.
>> WHAT DOES THAT TELL US ABOUT
US?
>> THINGS CHANGE AND THINGS STAY
THE SAME.
THE SAME IS TRUE WHEN I DELIVER
A SPEECH ABOUT -- I'LL TELL YOU
WHO'S BUYING UP CCA.
THE SAUDI ARABIAN INVESTMENT.
WHEW, YOU KNOW?
>> DID THEY ADD THAT?
>> NO.
NO.
>> THAT WAS FROM BACK THEN.
>> YEAH, HOW PRESCIENT IT WAS
AND IT JUST -- IT'S REMARKABLE
WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT HOW HE
WAS ABLE TO DO THAT.
>> LAST THING I WANT TO ASK YOU
ABOUT IN NETWORK, AGAIN, ANOTHER
LINE AND GET YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT
TODAY WHERE YOU SAY, DON'T LOOK
TO US FOR THE TRUTH ESSENTIALLY.
WE'RE JUST GOING TO GIVE YOU
WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR.
>> YEAH.
>> AND WHEN YOU SAID THAT LINE I
THOUGHT, OH, MY.
YOU KNOW, THAT HAS TO HAVE BEEN
WRITTEN YESTERDAY.
>> RIGHT.
>> AGAIN, BECAUSE THAT'S --
>> NO.
>> -- YOU KNOW, THE NOTION OF
THE ECHO CHAMBERS.
I'M TALKING ABOUT BOTH SIDES.
>> YES.
YES.
>> THE NOTION OF WHERE DO YOU GO
NOWADAYS IF YOU WANT SOMEBODY TO
SAY TO YOU, HERE'S WHAT'S
HAPPENING IN THE WORLD.
LET US DISTILL IT FOR YOU --
>> RIGHT.
>> -- SO YOU CAN UNDERSTAND IT
AND LET US PRESENT IT TO YOU AND
YOU DECIDE.
>> WHERE DO YOU GO?
>> WHERE?
>> RIGHT HERE.
FOR ME, THIS IS WHERE YOU GO.
THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE YOU CAN
GO THAT MIGHT BE UP FOR DEBATE
BUT TO ME INTO MY SENSIBILITIES
AND MY TRYING TO BE OPEN AND
THOUGHT FULL AND SEE -- AND HEAR
ALL SIDES, THIS SEEMS TO BE THE
PLACE TO GO.
>> WELL, IT'S -- I'VE GOT TO
TELL YOU, NETWORK IS MAGNIFICENT
THEATER.
IT'S WHAT THEATER IS SUPPOSED TO
BE.
IT ENTERTAINS US AND IT MAKES US
THINK AND YOU ARE NOT
SURPRISINGLY FABULOUS IN THE
ROLE.
SO IT'S BEEN A DELIGHT TO SPEND
SOME TIME.
AS PEOPLE SAY, A BIG FAN FOR A
LONG PERIOD OF TIME AND I WILL
LOOK FORWARD TO WHATEVER THE
NEXT PROJECTS ARE GOING TO BE.
>> THANK YOU.
>> MY PLEASURE.
>> IT'S BEEN FUN.
>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Funders

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