CRANSTON BREAKS BAD

From breaking into acting to “Breaking Bad,” Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston is back to discuss his journey to the big screen.

For more info on Cranston’s Broadway Show “Network” click here.

Aired on May 17, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> EMMY AND TONY AWARD WINNER BRIAN CRANSTON IS UP FOR ANOTHER AWARD FOR HIS PORTRAYAL OF HOWARD BIEL.

BEFORE HIS SUCCESS ON BROADWAY, AND IN THE HUGELY POPULAR TELEVISION SHOW 'BREAKING BAD' HE ALMOST CHOSE A DIFFERENT CAREER.

SOMETHING THAT MIGHT SURPRISE YOU.

I RECENTLY HAD A CHANCE TO CHAT WITH HIM ABOUT HOW HE DECIDED TO BECOME AN ACTOR AND WHETHER THERE WILL BE A BREAKING BAD MOVIE.

I WAS THINKING THIS IS DIFFERENT.

I SAW INITIALLY YOU WERE IN COLLEGE AND YOU WERE TAKING POLICE SCIENCE COURSES.

YEAH.

MAYBE THIS IS MY DIRECTION.

RIGHT.

TALK ABOUT WHAT GOT YOU THERE AND WHAT ALL OF A SUDDEN GOT YOU TO SAY, YOU KNOW, I DISCOVERED SOMETHING.

ACTING

WELL, AS WE WERE TALKING BEFORE THE SHOW ABOUT THE TREMENDOUS SIMILARITIES WITH OUR BACKGROUND GROWING UP WITHOUT A FATHER FOR A SIGNIFICANT PART OF OUR LIVES.

WHEN I -- BEFORE I WAS A TEEN, MY FATHER WAS GONE FROM THE FAMILY.

MY BROTHER JOINED THE LAPD GROUP.

I WAS A POOR KID IN THE SUBURB OF LOS ANGELES.

THEY WENT TO HAWAII.

THE GROUP OF KIDS WENT TO HAWAII.

I'M LIKE MY GOSH!

HE HAD THE NERVE OF SENDING ME A POSTCARD OF A GIRL IN A BIKINI ON THE BEACH.

THE SECOND YEAR HE WENT TO JAPAN WITH THE GROUP.

I MEAN, THEY'RE TRAVELING!

THAT WAS IT.

WHEN I'M 16, OF AGE, I'M JOINING THIS GROUP.

I GRADUATED TOP OF MY CLASS.

OUT OF 111 16-YEAR-OLDS I HAD NO IDEA I HAD ANY APTITUDE FOR POLICE WORK.

I WENT TO EUROPE.

IT WAS GREAT.

IT WAS ME SEARCHING FOR A FATHER FIGURE.

YEAH.

AND A MASCULINE SENSIBILITY.

A POLICEMAN AND I RESPECT THEM AND THE INSTITUTION OF LAW, AND I THOUGHT THIS IS WHAT I'M GOING TO DO.

AND THEN IN COLLEGE, I TOOK AN ACTING CLASS BECAUSE I PLAYED A AROUND IN ACTING WHEN I WAS YOUNGER.

A YOUNG COUPLE IS KISSING ON A PARK BENCH.

IT WAS LIKE MY GOSH.

AND I'M KISSING THIS REALLY PRETTY GIRL.

I CAN DO THAT.

THAT WAS MY -- THAT'S WHAT I WAS TASKED TO DO.

AH.

IT WAS THAT MOMENT I WENT MAYBE I DON'T WANT TO BE A POLICEMAN.

MAYBE I CAN PLAY A POLICEMAN!

GET TO KISS A PRETTY GIRL.

RIGHT.

THAT WAS YOUR TRANSITION.

YES.

YES.

A VERY NOBLE CAUSE OF GIRLS IS WHY.

BUT, YOU KNOW, IT GOT YOU TO THE RIGHT PLACE.

I THINK SO.

YEAH.

I THINK SO.

YEAH.

I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT.

AND NOT JUST BASED ON SUCCESS.

PEOPLE CAN BE SUCCESSFUL AND NOT LOVE WHAT THEY DO.

BUT HEARING YOU TALK, IT SEEMS LIKE YOU GOT TO BE THE EXTRAORDINARY SUCCESS OF DOING SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO.

BOY, IT'S A MARVELOUS COMMENTARY ON A LIFE.

IT WAS SOMETHING A CREDO I CAPE UP WITH WHEN I WAS 22 YEARS OLD.

AND I FINISHED READING THE BOOK.

I WAS ON THE ROAD ON MY MOTORCYCLE NOT KNOWING -- I WAS BASICALLY RUNNING AWAY BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT I WANTED TO DO OR SHOULD DO.

BUT I NEEDED THAT BUFFER TIME JUST TO GROW UP.

JUST TO FIGURE OUT THAT IT'S OKAY TO BE LOST BECAUSE YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE FOUND, IF YOU'RE LOST.

AND FIND THE RIGHT PATH AS OPPOSED TO A PATH.

AND I CAME UP WITH THIS CREDO THAT I WAS GOING TO ATTEMPT TO DO SOMETHING THAT I LOVED.

HOPEFULLY BECOME GOOD AT IT.

AS OPPOSED TO DOING SOMETHING I WAS GOOD AT BUT DIDN'T LOVE.

AND I SIGNED OFF ON THAT AND SO NO MATTER WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN, IN MY ACTING CAREER, WHETHER IT MEANT AT THIS AGE I WAS STILL HAD THREE ROOMMATES AND WE WERE TRYING TO SHARE SPAGHETTI DINNERS TOGETHER TO SAVE MONEY.

IT DIDN'T MATTER.

I WAS ALL IN.

THIS IS WHAT I'M DOING.

AND I THINK BECAUSE OF THAT, BECAUSE OF LOOKING AT THE LONG ROAD OF IT, THE MARATHON IT IS, I HAD NO DESIGNS ON I HAVE TO REACH SOMETHING BY A CERTAIN AGE.

YOU HAVEN'T SAID IF I'M NOT A STAR BY --

I NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT BEING A STAR.

EVER.

I DIDN'T WANT -- MY GOAL WAS TO BE ABLE TO HONESTLY SAY THAT I MAKE A LIVING AS AN ACTOR.

NOW WHERE THAT LIVING WAS, I WASN'T GOING TO SAY.

RIGHT.

I WANT TO BE ABLE TO SAY I EARN MY LIVING AS AN ACTOR.

I'VE SEEN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS.

ALL OF A SUDDEN 22 YOU SAID THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO.

YOU HIT ABOUT 25 AND FROM THAT POINT ON, YOU WERE ABLE TO DO THAT.

YEAH.

YOU EARNED YOUR LIVING AS AN ACTOR.

YEAH.

AND THEN IT GOT MUCH MORE THAN JUST EARNING A LIVING.

YOU GOT 'MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE.'

IT WAS A MARVELOUS FAMILY COMEDY.

IT WAS A COMING OF AGE FOR NOT JUST THE CHILDREN BUT THE ADULTS.

YEAH.

AND COMES 'BREAKING BAD.'

RIGHT.

'BREAKING BAD' HAS BEEN IN THE MINDS OF MANY OF THE REALLY RESPECTED CRITICS IN THAT INDUSTRY DESIGNATED AS ONE OF THE BEST TV SERIES EVER.

SOME HAVE SAID PERHAPS THE BEST EVER.

WHEN YOU FIRST LOOKED AT THE SELF-INCR SCRIPT OR SYNOPSIS OF WHATEVER YOU SAW FIRST, DID YOU HAVE ANY SENSE FROM THE BEGINNING HOW SUCCESSFUL IT WOULD BE?

NO ONE DOES.

NO ONE CAN.

THE ONLY THING THAT ANY ACTOR CAN DO IS TO CORRECTLY EVALUATE THE MATERIAL.

THE LEVEL OF THE MATERIAL.

I DON'T KNOW WHY I KNEW THIS EARLY ON -- THE WRITTEN WORD.

THE STORY ITSELF IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT IN PERFORMANCE ART BAR NONE.

NO EXCEPTIONS.

I KNOW IT.

ABSOLUTE.

THERE'S NO ARGUMENT TO THAT.

THERE'S NO WAY YOU CAN ARGUE THAT.

IT IS THE POWER OF THE STORY THAT WILL PROPEL AN ACTOR TO WHATEVER HEIGHT THEY MAY BE ABLE TO GET TO.

THEY MIGHT HAVE TALENTED BUT IF THEY DON'T HAVE THE STORY.

RIGHT.

MERYL STREEP.

IF MERYL STREEP WAS GIVEN C-LEVEL MATERIAL AND SHE WORKS AT HER ABSOLUTE BEST, B.

THERE'S NO WAY IT CAN GO HIGHER.

MERYL STREEP!

YOU KNOW, IT'S LIKE THAT'S IT.

SO WHEN YOU SEE A-LEVEL MATERIAL, WHICH WHEN I READ THE PILOT SCRIPT FOR 'BREAKING BAD,' MY EYES -- I WENT OH!

RIGHT AWAY YOU SAW IT?

YES.

THIS COULD BE SPECIAL.

I WANT TO BE A PART OF IT.

IT DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING AS FAR AS IS IT GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE EYES OF RATINGS OR MAKING MONEY OR ALL THE THINGS THAT ARE OUT OF OUR CONTROL.

THE ONLY THING I CAN BE INVESTED IN IS THAT CHARACTER AND TELLING THAT STORY THE BEST I CAN.

AND THEN IT'S LUCK.

LAST QUICK QUESTION ABOUT 'BREAKING BAD.'

IS THERE A MOVIE COMING OUT?

NO.

BUT MY THOUGHT WAS, I WONDER IF THERE'S A LOT OF BREAKING BAD FANS OUT THERE SAYING WE DON'T WANT ANYMORE.

IT WAS PERFECT.

YEAH.

YOU KNOW IT WAS FIVE SEASONS OF PERFECTION THAT GOT BETTER EACH YEAR.

RIGHT.

SO I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED IF A LOT OF FANS ARE SAYING THAT.

BUT, YOU KNOW, I CAN GO BACK AND WATCH IT IF I WANT ANOTHER BREAKING BAD.

IT'S FUNNY WHEN YOU SAY THAT.

PEOPLE ASK ME.

IT WASN'T PROVEN THAT WALTER WHITE DIED.

HE WAS SHOT BUT -- THEY DIDN'T SAY HE WAS DEAD.

MAYBE HE'S STILL ALIVE AND THE REBOOTS YOU SEE OF THE OLD SERIES THAT ARE COMING BACK, WOULDN'T YOU LIKE TO DO A REBOOT OF 'BREAKING BAD' I FEEL THE SAME WAY YOU DO.

NO.

I WOULDN'T.

BECAUSE I WAS FORTUNE, GREAT GOOD FORTUNE OF BEING GIVEN A BEAUTIFUL BEGINNING, MIDDLE, AND END.

IT'S ALMOST LIKE THE PERFECT MEAL.

YOU SIT DOWN AND HAVE A WONDERFUL MEAL.

PERFECT.

JUST PERFECT.

AND IF SOMEONE BROUGHT YOU MORE FOOD, OH, HUH, IT KIND OF RUINS THE MEAL YOU HAD.

IT'S LIKE I DON'T NEED ANYMORE.

NOW I'M STUFFED.

EXACTLY.

NOW I DON'T FEEL AS GOOD.

IT'S BEEN A DELIGHT TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH YOU.

I'VE BEEN A BIG FAN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.

I WOULD LOOK FORWARD TO WHATEVER THE NEXT PROJECTS WILL BE.

THANK YOU.

IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Funders

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