Bryan Cranston (Hal) 'Breaking Bad' [Photo][Video][Reviews] Filming Season 2


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As previously reported Bryan Cranston next major role is in Breaking Bad and AMC original TV series set to air January 2008. Bryan plays a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a meth dealer (using his chemistry skills) <strike></strike> when he learns that he is dying of lung cancer so he can provide for his wife and handicapped son after he's gone.

With its focus on a sympathetic drug peddler, the script from The X-Files exec producer Gilligan had been considered a hot, if controversial, property......The main character does some things that are surprising and questionable........But it’s a classic story of one man against the system, and you’re rooting for him......While the show doesn’t glorify meth dealing, it does paint a sympathetic portrait of the man who decides to take up an unlikely new vocation as a drug dealer, said those familiar with the project.....
Bryan's on screen son (16) is played by RJ Mitte (pictured above) which his biggest role to date. RJ and his character share something in common both have cerebral palsy (although RJ's is mild). For more information on RJ read this article.

Nine episodes will be ordered including a 58-minute pilot. Show will go into production in September in New Mexico and likely air in January.
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Bryan Cranston’s ‘Breaking Bad’ NEW Update [Photos]

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Official details and photos have now been release by AMC, on Bryan Cranston's (Hal) latest project Breaking Bad.

Breaking Bad, the next addictive original series from AMC, is a darkly comic drama that captures life at a moment of irrevocable change. In the ultimate mid-life crisis, high school chemistry teacher Walter White takes a match to his straight-laced existence and concocts a criminal new lifestyle.

Life becomes crystal clear for Walter when he discovers he is dying of lung cancer. With a new sense of fearlessness and desperate to secure his family’s financial future, Walter teams up with a former student to turn a used Winnebago into a rolling meth lab. Released from the daily concerns and constraints of normal society, Walter transforms from repressed everyman into empowered "entrepreneur".

Created by Vince Gilligan (The X Files) and starring Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle), Breaking Bad takes us on a journey where everyday life combusts in an uncontrolled experiment with the American dream.

The series premieres in January 2008.

Other behind the scene photos can be seen here.

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Bryan Cranston (Hal) 'Breaking Bad' Promo [Video]

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Breaking Bad is a new TV series starring Bryan Cranston (Hal) and it looks like Bryan is coming back in a big way.

Its tentatively scheduled to première on <strong>Thursday, January 17th at 10:00pm on AMC</strong>. This is subject to change due to the ongoing <a href="" title="Wikipedia" target="_blank">writers strike</a>. Nine episode of the series were ordered by AMC and it is unclear how many have been shot. Whether or not they have all been completed will determine if the show premières on this date as will when the writers strike ends.

<a href="" title="Source" target="_blank">This interview</a> with a camera rental service says:

Breaking Bad will be returning equipment in late December and shutting down.

However it doesn't say how much filming is completed.

See <a href="" title="bryan-cranstons-breaking-bad-update-photos">here</a> for photos and more plot information.

Source: <a href="" title="Source" target="_blank">AMCTV</a>


Love the teaser! Can't wait to see this new series.

Could someone please tell me what he's saying here : "to all law enforcement, this not..." ? I didn't get it, thanks. :)


[ see Front Page Post for Videos ]

Breaking Bad, the much anticipated TV series starring Bryan Cranston, is now set to air on Sunday, January 20 at 10:00/9:00c on AMC. A little later than we previously reported.

Thanks to Thomas a reader for his tip, you can see behind the scene on set photos in our gallery here.

In an attempt to create internet hype AMC has spread "viral" videos on YouTube and other sites under random usernames, that appear as leaks. There have also been some more official promotional videos, making of videos and documentary clips. Watch them all in the above player.

Source: YouTube 1 2 3 & Flickr & Brightcove

I have also heard unconfirmed reports that the series completed only 7 of the 9 ordered episodes before the writer's strike caused production to close down. Should the strike be resolved soon, the additional episodes will, presumably, be completed this season. If not, we should at least be able to see 7 episodes of this series while we would await AMC's decision as to if they will be renewing the series for a 2nd season. It will be quite some time before we'll find that out there.
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Bryan Cranston's 'Breaking Bad' Update [Video][Reviews]

[See Front Page Post for Video]

<em>Breaking Bad</em>, the much anticipated TV series starring Bryan Cranston <strong>airs </strong><span id="intelliTXT"><strong>on Sunday, January 20 at 10:00/9:00c on AMC</strong></span>.

New videos clips have been added to the above player. <strong>Watch the whole first scene of the first episode below.</strong>

[See Front Page Post for Video]

Breaking Bad have gone Facebook, you can become a <a href="" target="_blank">"Fan" here</a> and add their <a href="" target="_blank">"Chemical Codebreaker"</a> application.

In a case that could be considered as life imitating art, <a href="" target="_blank">a teacher has just been busted on meth charges</a>.

We hope to have the full episode on the site after it airs.

Reviews and Interview With Bryan

<strong>Bryan Cranston Plays A Desperate Teacher In 'Breaking Bad'</strong>

Bryan CranstonNEW YORK (AP) - ''Breaking Bad'' has cooked up this startling premise: A decent man decides to make and sell an evil drug, crystal methamphetamine.

He's a high school chemistry teacher who learns he has terminal cancer. He and his family already are barely scraping by. To leave his wife and kids provided for, he must put his chemistry know-how to a more lucrative purpose than lecturing to vacant teens. Cooking meth is deplorable. But it can mean big money, fast.

Not that viewers who catch the premiere episode (10 p.m. EST Sunday on AMC) will grasp right away what ''Breaking Bad'' is about. The opening scene is artfully bewildering: a frantic fellow in his underpants and a gas mask is barreling through New Mexico no-man's-land in a boxy motor home. Just one thing is immediately clear: Here is a show that will keep the viewer guessing.

Following last summer's ambitious, Golden Globes-winning drama ''Mad Men,'' AMC has further upped the ante with its second dramatic series, taking even more chances. ''Breaking Bad'' dares to be bleak, heartbreaking, shocking and bitterly funny, hurtling its milquetoast hero into situations he couldn't have imagined.

It also took a gamble by casting as the plagued Walter White an actor best-known for playing the goofy, distracted dad on ''Malcolm in the Middle'' - Bryan Cranston. But from the first scene, Cranston proves he's made a thorough transformation, leaving any trace of Hal Wilkerson in the dust of Walter's fleeing mobile meth lab.

Inhabiting this new character wasn't hard, says Cranston. ''Walter White is a guy who has very common flaws. To step into his shoes was a comfortable fit,'' he explains. But there was more to being Walter than shoes.

''When I visualized him, I thought he should be colorless,'' says Cranston. ''So we took out all the ruddiness in my face. I put a brown rinse in my hair, to take out the red highlights.'' He accessorized with glasses and a nerdy Ned Flanders mustache. ''I went to the costume designer and said, 'I think everything he wears should be taupe and sand. I think this man should blend into the scenery.'''

Cranston also gained 15 pounds, to give Walter a doughy waistline. (For later episodes, he dropped the excess weight as Walter undergoes cancer treatment.) ''Here's a man,'' says Cranston, ''who could have done a lot in his life: a high-six-figure income at a pharmaceutical firm of his choice. Maybe share in a Nobel Prize. But he didn't reach for the brass ring, and he has lived a life of regret for 25 years. Then he gets the diagnosis.

''But the irony is, ever since he got that death threat, he's felt more alive than ever. He's fed up and ready to take charge. And given his set of dire circumstances, for him to use what he knows to do what he does - it seems to make sense.'' In an interview, the 51-year-old Cranston is hearty and outgoing, and exudes the satisfaction of an actor who works steadily. But long ago he moved beyond that mark of success. For one thing, he can boast a special status as one of the recurring kooks on ''Seinfeld'': dentist Tim Whatley.

Then he got the hit comedy ''Malcolm,'' which wrapped in 2005 after seven seasons, leaving him in the grateful position ''where you don't have to work for the sake of working, where you have the ability to say no.'' He said an enthusiastic yes to ''Breaking Bad.'' He had gotten a crack at the role by chance, he says, after appearing in a play in Los Angeles directed by ''Seinfeld'' chum Jason Alexander. That performance was seen by ''Breaking Bad'' creator Vince Gilligan, whom Cranston had met a decade earlier while guest-starring on ''The X-Files,'' where Gilligan was a writer-producer.

Gilligan has surrounded his leading man with a fine supporting cast, including Anna Gunn (''Deadwood'') as Walter's pregnant wife, Skylar; R.J. Mitte as their teenage son, Walter Jr., whose adolescence is further burdened by his cerebral palsy; and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, a recent washout from Walter's chemistry class who, now part of a meth ring, becomes his business partner.

Jesse and the man he still calls ''Mr. White'' quickly bond as a fractious odd couple, blundering through their caper with one cruel setback after another. Never does the series glamorize the drug trade - or let Walter off the hook for his ill-advised venture. ''We're not looking for people to accept what Walter White is doing,'' says Cranston. ''We're looking for them to understand.''

For Cranston, the hardest thing to understand was the chemistry. ''I hadn't studied it since high school,'' he says with a laugh. ''So I hung out with a chemistry professor to reacquaint myself with what a periodic table is, and an Erlenmeyer flask, and all that stuff.''

Did he really learn to cook meth? ''Yeah, I did,'' says Cranston, looking surprised to admit it. ''In fact, we had DEA chemists on our set as consultants. I wanted to be sure how a chemist would hold this beaker or measure that ingredient, and so we're going through the whole process. There is a specific way to go about it, and I did learn. ''But I've forgotten already,'' he hastily adds, ''and I have absolutely no interest in repeating it.''

By FRAZIER MOORE AP Television Writer

Source: <a href="" title="Source" target="_blank"></a>

<strong>Review: New AMC series features Albuquerque</strong>

Welcome to Albuquerque, Bryan Cranston.

Thanks for helping make the city look so beautiful and so seedy at the same time.

Cranston, who used to play the dad on "Malcolm in the Middle," can share credit with "X-Files" veteran Vince Gilligan and the cinematographers on "Breaking Bad," the latest series from AMC debuting in January.

"Breaking Bad" stars a forlorn, frumpy Cranston and the craggy New Mexico landscape in the story of a cash-poor Albuquerque high school chemistry teacher who gets a dire diagnosis and decides to use his former Nobel-track prowess to cook up some primo meth and provide a nest egg to bequeath to his wife and handicapped teen son.

It's an interesting premise, and the producers vow that the series won't glorify criminal behavior but merely present a good man making bad decisions for complicated reasons. The results are mixed in the debut episode.

On the one hand, Walter is imbued with an unusual sense of bravado almost immediately after receiving his terminal diagnosis. Suddenly he's superman, staring down bullies much bigger and younger than he is and outwitting bad guys with guns.

On the other hand, Walter is often clad only in his underwear and shoes and socks (he doesn't want the smell of meth to get on his good clothes) and almost shoots his foot off trying to figure out how to work a handgun.

It's up to the rest of the seven-episode series to begin sorting out all the moral implications that get raised.

Albuquerque, meantime, often provides a picturesque setting, with the Sandias and mesas as pleasant backdrops. Cinematographer John Toll, whose work ranges from "Braveheart" to this year's New Mexico-shot "Seraphim Falls," was director of photography for the pilot. The rest of the series is credited to Rey Villalobos ("Risky Business," "Urban Cowboy").

While the landscape looks harsh but alluring, lurking inside innocuous suburban-looking neighborhoods are meth labs, pit bulls and seriously bad dudes.

Walter goes on a ride-along with Drug Enforcement Administration agents and watches one of these operations get taken down. When he spies a former student escaping out a window, he decides to blackmail the kid and corral him into a business proposition.

They buy an RV and drive it to the outskirts of Albuquerque, where Walter's mad chem skills produce top-notch meth.

The main drawback in "Breaking Bad" is the gap between the lead performance and the rest. Maybe Cranston is that good, but his supporting crew is surprisingly wooden, as if Gilligan urged the actors to be mechanical in some scenes.

Anna Gunn ("Deadwood") doesn't bring much to the pilot as the loving, understanding wife, and Aaron Paul looked a little lost as Jesse Pinkman, Walter's former student and new partner in crime.

Elsewhere, Walter's students and extended family are solidly two-dimensional. We get the stereotypical hard-ass buddy cops, one Anglo, one Hispanic. (Walter's brother-in-law, Hank, is a federal drug agent. Can you sense the tension yet?)

This whole production could easily be overwhelmed by Cranston, who was a force on the sloppy sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle" and who had a memorable turn as the dentist on "Seinfeld" in the 1990s.

Cranston has thrown himself into this character, a mix of Walter Mitty and Travis Bickle. He's pale and out of shape. His mustache is pathetic; his eyeglasses are depressing. We cringe as we watch the pilot episode establish his middle-age angst and desperation.

But often, while Cranston and his character are manic, about to burst, the rest of the gang is stuck in traditional TV Drama Land.

There's room for improvement all around, which isn't unusual after a pilot episode. (AMC didn't send out copies of the other six episodes in the series. You can catch a "Making of" preview on the cable channel three times in the next week, starting tonight at 10:30.)

AMC, which started out as American Movie Classics, has begun branching out into series drama, as a sort of junior HBO. AMC struck gold this past fall by tapping the "Sopranos'" crew of writers. Matthew Weiner's "Mad Men," the period drama about the ad game in Manhattan in 1960, scored decent ratings and charmed critics across the board.

"Mad Men" was strong from the start, rich in character, back story and plot. "Breaking Bad" might get there, but to succeed it will have to flesh out the rest of the cast and raise the stakes for our anti-hero.

It's hip these days to be a hardened criminal just trying to make ends meet and provide for the family. Tony Soprano and Dexter Morgan have mouths to feed and bills to pay; how they process their evil deeds can be the stuff of compelling drama.

Gilligan, perhaps, felt he needed to keep up with the Joneses and cover a lot of ground in the first episode. Walter's transformation is rather jarring.

We get two basic-cable explicit sexual situations with Walter and his wife (named Skyler, for some reason), which are intended to be not-so-subtle bookends to show us how defeated Walter starts out and how macho it can be to walk on the wrong side of the law.

In the end, the pilot episode offers a message that doesn't rise much above that of your typical rap video: deal drugs, earn cash and flaunt your virility with the ladies.

We'll see whether "Breaking Bad" rises above that credo and returns to Albuquerque to shoot more episodes.

Source: <a href="" title="Source" target="_blank"></a>

<strong>TV Review - Breaking Bad by Ken Tucker</strong>

Walter White (Malcolm in the Middle's Bryan Cranston) is a weary high school chemistry teacher with a bad mustache, a middle-aged, suburban drone. Until he's diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

This sets him free. Or free enough to get into the crystal-meth business in order to raise enough money for his wife (Deadwood's Anna Gunn, nicely grumpy) and cerebral palsy-afflicted son (RJ Mitte, nicely smart-alecky) to live on after he croaks, and for him to have a few thrills while he's at it. Walt partners with grungy teen meth-head Jesse (Big Love's Aaron Paul), who's trying to launch his own tweak factory. With Walt's chemistry expertise, they cook up primo ice that attracts both profits and murderous enemies.

Breaking Bad is created by Vince Gilligan, who helped oversee some of The X-Files' most witty-rococo episodes (''Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space,''' fans?). This is AMC's stab at a Showtime-y, Weeds-like series — which could have stunk. Instead, there are some twists you'll never see coming, and Cranston gives the kind of shaded, comic-dramatic performance that always bubbled just below the surface of his manic Malcolm dad. Breaking Bad mixes desperation and deviousness to yield a volatile, valuable product. B+

Source: <a href=",,20170018,00.html" title="Source" target="_blank"></a>

<strong>High Schools These Days</strong>
The broke chemistry teacher in Breaking Bad turns out to be pretty handy in a meth lab. By John Leonard

Vince Gilligan, the X-Files veteran who created Breaking Bad, has made it clear that he dreamed up his series idea “several years before Weeds”—and therefore any resemblance between the two shows is purely coincidental. While both ask us to identify with aggrieved suburbanites reduced to dealing drugs to make ends meet, I see no reason not to believe him. Bryan Cranston, whose Walter White in Breaking Bad is a high-school chemistry teacher cooking up crystal meth in a used RV in the New Mexican desert, shouldn’t remind anybody of Mary-Louise Parker, whose Nancy Botwin in Weeds is a soccer mom selling pot in pastries and popcorn to the whiter part of a Southern California town, unless you’re dumb, numb, and weird. Weeds, moreover, required half a dozen episodes before turning semigothic, whereas Breaking Bad can’t even get through its pilot hour without gunplay, sirens, and poison gas.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Even before he gets bad medical news from the hospital, Walter is already moonlighting as a cashier in a car wash to help pay for his Albuquerque house with the desolate patio and leaf-filled swimming pool, his stay-at-home wife (Anna Gunn) who writes short stories and is pregnant again, and a teenage son (RJ Mitte) with cerebral palsy. Now this lifelong nonsmoker with “a brain the size of Wisconsin” is informed that he has inoperable lung cancer, with a year or two left to live if he’s lucky. Well, what is he always telling his apathetic students about chemistry as a metaphor for transformation? Staring into a breakfast plate of “veggie bacon” that smells like Band-Aids, Walter is in desperate need of some risk-taking changes in his anal-retentive life. If Takashi Shimura’s Everyman in Ikiru doesn’t come immediately to mind, maybe William H. Macy’s car salesman in Fargo will substitute.

But never mind Kurosawa and the Coen brothers. Follow Walter from a drug-bust ride-along with his brother-in-law, the DEA agent (Dean Norris), to the garage of an ex-student (Aaron Paul) whose previous partner in the methamphetamine biz has just been arrested to the cubbyhole kitchen of a Winnebago, where Walter proves to be an “artist” at the batching of magic crystals. This mild-mannered high-school teacher is now spending an inordinate amount of time on the road, in a gas mask and his underwear, dodging bullets and (literally) laundering money. In fact, from a chemical reaction peculiar to the cinematography of the Southwest desert, the very colors of Breaking Bad seem to have been laundered: As Walter moves from Mister Peepers to Sunbelt drug lord, the picture shifts from earth-tone beige to livid blue, asparagus green, and piss yellow.

Further to confound anybody still hoping for Weeds-type sight gags (the stolen goat, the sauna sex, the teddy-bear nanny cam), there will be prescribed courses not just in chemistry but also in chemotherapy. From chemotherapy, one shouldn’t expect a lot of laughs. We are being slipped instead something metaphorical about wayward leukocytes and cells gone wrong. It must be said that Cranston, a sitcom stalwart perhaps best known as hairy Hal on Malcolm in the Middle, embodies all these transformations as if he were himself a lost city of the plains—a toppled tower, a ruined wall, a bundle of whispering bones. Not enough of Breaking Bad was available for preview to decide whether the supporting cast will eventually satisfy as much as Weeds regulars like Elizabeth Perkins, Kevin Nealon, Tonye Patano, and Justin Kirk, but Cranston’s Walter is already a winner. He reminds me of Robin Williams’s Tommy Wilhelm in the film version of Saul Bellow’s Seize the Day, back in 1986, when Robin Williams was still wonderful to watch. Which in turn makes me wonder at the number of Walters there are in our literature, from Melville and Twain to Saul Bellow, William Kennedy, and E.L. Doctorow, deracinated walkers on the wild side, urban outlaws as pop icons, on the lam from farm chores, doctors, cops, and schoolmarms.

Source: <a href="" title="Source" target="_blank"></a>

<strong>Vince Gilligan Talks About 'Breaking Bad'</strong>

On January 20, AMC is premiering Breaking Bad, a new dramedy that revolves around a high school chemistry teacher who, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, sets up a meth lab in an RV in order to provide for his wife and handicapped son. Creator Vince Gilligan, the man behind the highly-successful X-Files series, is unsure of what exactly drove him to develop a show with the particular premise.

“I'm not really sure what inspired it. All I can remember is that I was talking to an old college buddy - also a writer - about two years ago. We were joking on the phone about how we should quit writing and find another line of work. Somehow, cooking meth came up as one possibility,” Villigan told the Times-Dispatch. “Obviously, we were joking. But this character sprung into my head. I've never had that happen to me before.”

“This character” is named Walt White, and is essayed by veteran actor Bryan Cranston. Most known for playing Hal on the family comedy Malcolm in the Middle, Cranston “brings an innate likability to the role,” and possesses all the necessary skills to make the character work.

“He is a genuinely good and decent individual, and he's a man of character in real life. And he's a wonderful actor. He's incredibly funny in person and on screen,” Villigan said of Cranston. “If you have a character who's dying and cooking meth, you'd better have some lighter moments... This character is doing some dark deeds, and we have to like the guy who's playing Walt on some deep down level so we stay around for the ride.”

Villigan says that he is not attempting to present viewers with a “morality tale” with Breaking Bad. Rather, the series is focused on how one man has chosen to reinvent himself given the circumstances.

“I love… [stories of redemption], but I didn't know how to tell one in any way, shape or form,” he explained. “So I figured I could turn it on its ear and not tell a story of redemption, but one about a guy with blinders on his eyes who decides to reinvent himself and burn his candle on both ends and really live… The audience doesn't have to agree with everything he's doing, like Tony Soprano. But at least we understand why he's doing it.”

Source: <a href="" title="Source" target="_blank">BuddyTV</a>


Based on seeing this one episode alone, I see an Emmy Nomination in Bryan Cranston's future for this role. He's that good. He completely embodies this role of Walter White and you can't help but feel for him and his situation.

The pilot was extremely good, one of the best pilots I've seen since the first episode of LOST. The supporting cast is strong, the characters interesting, if a bit underdeveloped (I'm sure that will work itself out in subsequent episodes) and the writing is sharp. The subject matter is very dark and the situations the characters find themselves in are bleak but there's some humor in the mix here too, which I think helps the show a great deal and allows it to stay a bit more grounded, a bit more real.

It's a refreshing series, much different than anything else currently on cable, imo.


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The pilot was pretty amazing but it seems like it should have been made a movie I dont know how they are going to make a series out of it. Better then so much other crap on.

Bryan Cranston has a knack for finding scripts that call for him to run around in his underwear?:lol:


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Watch Bryan Cranston’s ‘Breaking Bad’ Episode 1

[See Front Page Post for Video]

Breaking Bad première aired last night and as we previously said, we have got the full episode to watch in the above player.

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Above is Bryan on AMC Shootout.

There are even more positive reviews and interviews since our previous post.


'Breaking' is far from bad; it's fantastic.

By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
AMC is breaking out.

Back in the series game after an extended layoff, the cable channel is suddenly batting two-for-two: first with the exceptional '60s time capsule Mad Men, and now with the alarmingly up-to-date Breaking Bad. But where Mad Men made a new star out of Jon Hamm, Bad brings new life and depth to an old one: Malcolm in the Middle's Bryan Cranston, riveting and remarkable as a chemistry teacher who finds a more commercial use for his skills.

Maybe someone else could do Bad as well, but it's hard to imagine who that might be. As Walt White, a mild-mannered married man whose life has gone to pot — or, more precisely, crystal meth — Cranston adds fed-up desperation to the world-class comic skills he displayed so winningly on Malcolm. It's a vanity-free, unexaggerated, incredibly empathetic performance, and Bad could not work without it, because empathy is not exactly inherent in the show's story.

Walt, you see, is dying. So in a last-gasp effort to provide for his pregnant wife (Anna Gunn) and their teenage son (RJ Mitte, who, like his character, has cerebral palsy), Walt breaks into the crystal meth business. And he's not just making any meth: With the help of a low-life, none-too-bright former student (Aaron Paul), he's determined to market "a chemically pure and stable product that performs as advertised."

Any show built around a meth dealer faces a number of problems, the least of which is the concern that viewers will think it's just the product of some copycat network taking Weeds a step too far. However split people may be on the dangers of marijuana, there's not much debate over meth — and not much sympathy for, or interest in, the people involved in the trade.

Wisely, writer/director Vince Gilligan (X-Files) uses our societal desire to keep the drug at a distance to fuel Walt's dilemma and to separate his show from the lighter, more comic Weeds. There's no doubt that death has brought Walt to life, turning him from a milquetoast to a man of action, but it also leads him into a series of terrible decisions. Bad is no advertisement for drug use or dealing; the world Walt enters is dangerous, dehumanizing and gruesome.

There is humor in the show, mostly in Walt's efforts to impose scholarly logic on the business and on his idiot apprentice, a role Paul plays very well. But even their scenes lean toward the suspenseful, as the duo learns that killing someone, even in self-defense, is ugly, messy
work. As can be acting, by the way, as witness those shots of Cranston in socks, shoes and skintight white briefs. It takes a brave actor to be shown like that, and a fine one to make the scene as poignant and moving as it is funny.

Two Emmy-contender shows; two Emmy-contender stars. Can't wait to see what AMC breaks out next.
Source: USAToday


Bryan Cranston Previews His Bad New Role


For seven seasons, Bryan Cranston goofed off as Malcolm in the Middle's oddball dad, Hal. Now, he's returning to series TV with Breaking Bad (premiering Sunday, Jan. 20, at 10 pm/ET on AMC), an hour-long dramedy whose humor is a bit darker — he's a chemistry teacher who turns to churning out homemade crystal meth after being diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. We talked with Cranston about his trip to the dark side and to hear about some of his career highlights.

TV Guide:
Are you ready to take some heat for this show's touchy subject?
Bryan Cranston: Heat? Bring it baby! [Laughs] Some people call Bad an edgier Weeds and there is some truth to that… but pot makes it kind of tame, which is right for the tone of that show. With ours, crystal meth really ups the stakes.

TV Guide: That's fitting since your character Walt is dying.
Cranston: That's true. I also think it's circumstantial with him. He had no intention of doing this, but he feels he needs to do something profound [to provide] for his family after he's gone. If Walt were a mathematician, he probably would have chosen card-counting and gone to a casino, but his world is chemistry.

TV Guide: After Malcolm, didn't you want a breather?
Cranston: I kind of did! Then the day after I finished Malcolm, I bumped into Jason Alexander, who's an old friend from Seinfeld, and he asked me if I was interested in doing a play. So I did [a Sam Shepard drama he directed], and it was fantastic. Then I read [the Bad] script and thought what a coup it would be to transition in front of the camera into a completely different person.

TV Guide: Speaking of Seinfeld, you guest-starred on some of that show's most infamous episodes. Your Dr. Tim Whatley is the "re-gifter"!
Cranston: [Laughs] I usually use that one in trivia contests: "Who was the original re-gifter and what did Elaine give him for working on her teeth for free?"

TV Guide:
A label-maker?
Cranston: The Label Baby Junior!
Source: seattlepi

Bryan Cranston dishes about tighty whities and cooking meth on the go for his new show
By Maggie Furlong

After the critical acclaim for its original series “Mad Men” last season, AMC—which was once only known for their extensive library of classic movies—is now solidifying its place as a source for fresh and exciting television with a new series, “Breaking Bad.”

Starring Bryan Cranston, of “Malcolm in the Middle” fame, “Breaking Bad” explores what happens when a seemingly average yet absolutely brilliant high school chemistry teacher has a major midlife crisis. And then decides to start cooking meth.

Cranston dished about his new role, his penchant for tighty whities and how being a troublemaking kid paid off.

In this show, you find out you have a terminal illness, then pretty much lose it. Did you feel like the show was limiting its timespan with a dying main character? I mean the series can't go 300 episodes with that…
Well, “M*A*S*H*” was able to stretch the Korean War to 10 years, so we can make cancer work can’t we? [Laughs] We can do that scene, you know, “Mr. White, I made a terrible mistake. It wasn’t you that was a…”

[Laughs] Well, what was your first reaction to the character of Walt White? What pulled you in initially?
I read it cover to cover in one sitting, and I rarely do that nowadays reading scripts. It’s just the storytelling—it was compelling. I related to him, I understood him, I knew who this guy was…I know people like that. There is a massive amount of people who have that feeling of I should’ve, I could’ve, I wish I had taken the opportunities that were present to me. And that’s ultimately tragic and sympathetic.

Somebody described this character as having the worst midlife crisis ever. But wasn’t that the same case every single week on “Malcolm in the Middle”?
Yes. [Laughs] Well for comic reasons, you want to create as much turmoil as you can…and actually the same is true in drama. More turmoil means more conflict. Conflict drives story. What was so important to us was, you’re not going to agree with the choices this character makes, but you’ve got to relate to this guy. If the audience doesn’t sympathize with this man, the show’s not going to work. You’ve got to be able to feel for him.

Sympathize with him making a mobile meth lab. It's kind of a crazy concept, but truly genius. Are you all up for exploring cooking meth in a helicopter, or maybe meth in the back of a taxi cab?

Well Albuquerque [where we shot] has the longest vernicular—the tram—in the world. It’s a beautiful tram ride up to the top of the Sandia Mountain. And so I was fantasizing one day about a storyline that could involve that. I did pitch [the show creator] Vince [Gilligan] on it. He looked at me like I had started smoking some of my own product. [Laughs]

Now, there are lots of different ways an actor can go in terms of comedy underwear, whether it’s boxers or a thong. Were the tighty whities the way to go from day one?

It was written in the script that way and, you know, my character on “Malcolm,” Hal, wore tighty whities a lot too. I remember the first day when I walked into the wardrobe meeting for “Malcolm,” and I kept going back to the tighty whities for one reason: It was funny to see a grown man wearing underwear that should be worn by a seven-year-old boy. And with Walt wearing it, it became not as funny but sad. This man, it’s like he’s stuck in a time capsule! He didn’t mature beyond a certain point. And it was kind of funny, bittersweet.

So is that your undergarment of choice in real life?
I’m wearing some right now…and that’s all I’m wearing by the way. [Laughs]

Were you an ace in high school chemistry? What would your teachers think of you now?
[Laughs] ”Oh, now he who knows the answer why iron is FE on the chart.” You know, I was kind of a troublemaker in high school. I wasn’t a very good student—I was smart enough to know what I had to do to get a C, and then the rest of the time I just goofed off. I’ve lead my life that way philosophically, and it’s paid off considerably. So I would tell all high school and college students, don’t work so hard. [Laughs] Goof around and life will be a bed of roses for you.

“Breaking Bad” Offers Cancer, Crystal Meth - And Tighty Whities

It looks like a worthy - if very, very different - followup to "Mad Men." The new AMC original series "Breaking Bad," debuting Sunday at 10, has the amateur drug-dealing of "Weeds," the midlife crisis of "Californication," and its own dark and desperate gonzo.

Bryan Cranston - the sweetly wacko dad from "Malcolm in the Middle" - stars as New Mexico chemistry teacher Walter White, a nebbish who learns he has terminal lung cancer.

Already living from paycheck to paycheck, Walter finds himself in desperate straits. He’s devoted to his pregnant wife and their son, who has cerebral palsy. How to provide for them once he’s gone?

Walter marshals his chemistry knowledge and teams up with a former student to cook crystal meth in his RV. But of course it’s not going to go smoothly…

Cranston, series creator Vince Gilligan and other cast members met the press on a funny conference call to talk about the show.

Question: I was wondering sort of where the series goes for after this initial storyline involving Walter and Jesse and the two dealers who they get stuck in the desert with. I’ve seen the first three episodes and it’s pretty much devoted to that. I’m wondering, you know, can you talk a little bit about the arc beyond that?
Vince Gilligan: Well yes. I - essentially this is the way I’ve kind of always pitched this was that take Mr. Chips and we turn him into Scarface over the course of however many episodes we get. You know, fingers crossed, we get a lot. And then he drops dead of cancer. So…
Question: Wow.
Vince Gilligan: That’s probably the glib answer. That’s not the best. But this is in my mind always been a story of metamorphosis and transformation. And that is essentially, you know, I don’t want to paint myself into too much of a corner, but the first part of that about the cancer part, the first part of that is definitely true.
This is a guy who is in the process of reinventing himself. And not to give too much away, you know, that’s going to happen in future episodes, but Walt really is going to not just dipped a toe into this new world that he’s sort of, you know, dallying with, but he’s actually going to, you know, do a big cannonball right off the edge of the pool and into it.
And he is going to become a criminal, become, you know, some version, some post-modern version, a highly educated post-doctoral version of "Scarface." And that’s sort of where this is headed.

Question: mostly for Bryan, but for anybody, when you do a show like this with this theme, does it make you think about your own mortality? Does it make you think about the things that you still wish to accomplish?
Bryan Cranston: Gosh, with that description of Mr. Chips turning into Scarface and then dropping dead, I thought we should premiere around Christmas instead because it’s such an upbeat lighthearted fare.
You know, it kind of does it. It’s such a cliché now when someone’s near their deathbed, they say, you know, you’re never going to wish you spent more time in the office. So I think there is that.
I just think it’s ironic that you have a tendency to feel more alive — and certainly the character does — when he’s really faced with death and it really becomes really apparent to you.
I go through life forgetting that someday I’m going to die. I really do. I - oh yes, that’s right. At some point I’m just going to keel over.
I think that’s the best way to do it, just keep working, keep doing the things you enjoy. And when it happens, it happens.. So I don’t dwell on death too much.

Question: Good for you. Vince what was the genesis of the show for you?
Vince Gilligan: Good question and always a hard one to answer. I can tell you when and where the genesis happened. I don’t know where it came from exactly. But I - about three years ago, I was talking on the phone to an old college buddy of mine who’s a fellow writer out here in Los Angeles. We were goofing around as we usually do, talking about what we’ll both do when the money for salaries for writing dry up and, you know, talked about being a greeter at Wal-Mart and stuff like that. And, you know, because it’s about all we’d be good for, the two of us rather.
But - and we talked about, you know, maybe cooking crystal meth in the back of an RV and driving around and seeing America and stuff. We’re joking obviously. But as we were goofing around on the phone, this idea of a mobile meth lab in the back of a recreational vehicle kind of stuck with me. And as I was still on this, you know, short phone call, suddenly his character popped into my head, this character that became Walter White. And I don’t know where he came from exactly. It doesn’t usually happen that way for me. Usually it’s a very laborious process to come up with an idea for script, you know, be it a TV script or a movie script. And it’s slow going. But this guy just kind of popped into my head. This guy as Charlie Collier said who is having the world’s worst midlife crisis.
And I guess that’s where it came from in some sense, you know, not to do sort of the dime store Freud psychoanalysis of myself. But I’m middle-aged now. I guess I officially turned middle-aged last year when I turn 40. And maybe I’m starting to have - you know, maybe this is some weird exorcism, a pre-exorcism of, you know, if I’m headed for a terrible midlife crisis myself, maybe this is my way of staving it off for a few more years by writing about it instead of living at it.

Bryan, there’s lots of different ways an actor can go in terms of comedy underwear whether it’s big boxers or thong. But were the tighty whities the way to go from day one?
Bryan Cranston: You know, it was written in the script that way. And that sent a red flag to me. And I talked to Vince about it. You know, my character on Malcolm, Hal wore were tighty whities a lot too.
And I remember the first day when I walked into the wardrobe meeting for Malcolm and I looked at all the array of underwear that was out there and my choice. And I kept going back to the tighty whities for one reason. It was funny to see a grown man wearing underwear that should be worn by a seven-year-old boy. And I kept going back to that.
And then I told Vince about the underwear thing and he said oh, then we’ll lose it, we’ll lose it.
And I kept thinking about it and going into this wardrobe meeting, I thought well, you know what, I think it’s going to work anyway. And because I start thinking about what it conveyed in this context.
And to me with Walt wearing it, it became not as funny but sad. This man is like he’s stuck in a time capsule. He didn’t mature beyond a certain point. And it was kind of funny, bittersweet.
Question: Yes.
Bryan Cranston: So still funny.
Yes, it works. It works.
Bryan Cranston: I’m wearing some right now. And that’s all I’m wearing by the way.
Vince Gilligan: I originally wanted a yellow slingshot thong but then (unintelligible).
Bryan Cranston: The old banana hammock.
There you go. Well thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.

Question: Yes, I was wondering how much of the success of "Weeds" got this in terms of making if not a heroic character, certainly the character that the audience identifies with a drug dealer? Two years ago that - you wouldn’t have thought that would have been acceptable. "Weeds" I guess made it acceptable.
Gilligan: It’s a good question. I have to start off by saying I was a little embarrassed when I found out about the existence of "Weeds." I came up with "Breaking Bad" about three years ago. And "Weeds" was I assume, well underway in its gestation around about the same time or a little bit earlier. But I never heard about its existence until one of my first big pitch meetings at one of the companies I pitched to before I fortunately wound up at AMC. … And I was half way through the pitch to the head of FX. He said this sounds a little like "Weeds." And I was like, what weeds?
And I’m so lucky or so fortunate I guess I didn’t know about "Weeds" in advance. Because I would’ve said oh this is too much like "Weeds." And I would’ve shut the whole thing down right then and there.
As to whether or not "Weeds" has helped us get on the air, it’s a hard question in to answer. It’s a great show, "Weeds" is. I think it’s very different from our show thank goodness. And since I’ve learned of the existence of it, I’ve tried even harder to make our show as different from "Weeds" as possible. But at the end of the day I’ve like to think of our show is not so much about a drug dealer, although there’s no denying that that is a fundamental, you know, element to the story, but rather I like to think of Walt as this guy who is indeed breaking bad.
"Breaking Bad" by the way is an old sort of Southernism. It’s, you know, in other words, it’s to raise hell. This is about a guy who’s raising hell for the first time in his life, this guy who’s colored inside the lines and played by the rules his entire life He’s never so much as jaywalked. And suddenly he’s doing this really despicable thing. And then we don’t shy away from that, the idea that it’s despicable. I mean crystal meth is a much different drug than marijuana. And it’s much, much less defensible. And we do not defend his choice in the show. We think it’s a terrible thing he’s doing. And then it’s going to come clear that he’s made some very bad choices as the series progresses. He’s - and they’re going to cause some very bad outcomes.

Question: Outside of the drug enforcement administration, you know, pot’s viewed as a fairly benign drug, crystal meth not so much. Was there any fear on your part that people may come to this and go, I don’t want to deal with the crystal meth, you know, dealer? I mean I just can’t get my brain around this that this is somebody I want in my living room once a week?
Vince Gilligan: Absolutely. Good question. And yes, I think in one of my very first meetings with the AMC folks, once they, you know, expressed interest, I think I said to them, you know, the show was never - in my mind I didn’t - and this is just me speaking. I’m not speaking for anybody else. But in my mind this show is never going to be, you know, it’s never going to be "ER." … My best hope for it is that people like it. But it’s very much the people who do like it like it very much.
But I think I said from the beginning, you know, certain folks are just going to hate this show no matter what. And other folks I hope, I pray are going to love it.
But it’s - I can tell you it was not - I didn’t ever come up with it in order to sort of make a big splash of the word, to whip up a lot of controversy. I don’t take crystal meth lightly as a subject.
And I wasn’t just going for - none of us are just going for, you know, sensationalism. It’s - I guess what I was trying to do if anything was trying to pick as a plot point, as a plot element, I was trying to pick the worst thing Walt could do and make money on it.
You know, the idea is that Walt’s dying of cancer. Walt needs to make some - you know, a substantial amount of money very quickly. He needs to make the rest of his, you know, the next 20 or 30 years worth of earnings that he’s going to miss, you know, in the next few months or next year or so to leave to his family. He needs to provide for his family. And how does he do it very quickly? And he makes a very terrible decision with the crystal meth, no doubt about it.

Question: Did you feel you gave yourself - sort of hampered yourself by making your main character somebody who’s terminally ill?
Vince Gilligan: Well, another really good question. Yes.
I mean, this isn’t going to go 300 episodes.
Vince Gilligan: Yes, now that this thing is actually a reality yes, probably. You know, sometimes we don’t perhaps think as far ahead as we should.
Bryan Cranston: Didn’t say that on the (set).
Vince Gilligan: You know there’s just no getting around it, he’s dying of cancer. Bryan, what was your wonderful quote about "M*A*S*H?"
Bryan Cranston: And I said well "M*A*S*H" was able to stretch the Korean War to ten years. So we can make cancer work can’t we? We can do that scene where you know, Mr. White, I made a terrible mistake. It wasn’t you …
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Bryan Cranston's (Hal) Small Interview in People Magazine

Malcolm's Dad GONE BAD!

Malcolm in the Middle dad Bryan Cranston, 51, leaves sitcoms behind as a teacher turned meth dealther on AMC's Breaking Bad.

ON HIS EDGY ROLE I've played a variety of characters, and this is one of my favorites. He's complex--he's burdened. He's a good guy who's got a bad deal.

ON GAINING WEIGHT FOR THE ROLE I didn't recognize myself [onscreen]. There were an extra 11 lbs. of heft around my middle. My wife doesn't like it for the obvious reasons, but I like it because I can eat anything!

ON KEEPING UP WITH THE MALCOLM GANG Jane Kaczmarek and I get together about every three months at a local place, and we catch up over coffee. People passing by will do a double take and go, "Hey, you guys are together! Look at you!"


Bryan Cranston's show "Breaking Bad" renewed for 2nd season

Front Page Post

Bryan Cranston Breaking Bad has been a huge success getting great reviews from critics and viewers alike (The LA Times wrote a begging letter to get it back!) As Malcolm in the Middle fans we have known for many years that Bryan is a genius and he is finally getting the attention he deserves.

Season 1 was effected badly by the Writers Strike but in May AMC renewed Breaking Bad and has ordered 13 new episodes, slated to begin airing in early 2009.

The series, from Vince Gilligan, premiered in January to 1.6 million total viewers and went on to average 1.4 million total viewers per episode, according to Nielsen Media Research. By comparison, "Mad Men," which also has been picked up for a second season, averaged 1.1 million viewers.
The filming of season 2 started on July 15. Bryan is directing the first episode.

“As we ramp up production for the next season of AMC’s original drama series ‘Breaking Bad,’ we look forward to returning to the endless visual settings of Albuquerque to not only work with the talented artists and crew base that the city offers, but also it serves as such a perfect backdrop for the evolution of Walt White's character,” Vlad Wolynetz, VP of production
Bryan talks to:

NPR (Feb 2008)
Listen on the Front Page Post

BuddyTV (Feb 2008)
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971FreeFm Adam Carolla Show (March 2008)
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Talking Pictures' host Tony Toscano chats to Bryan (Jan 2008)

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AP Television Writer Frazier Moore reviews Breaking Bad

Watch on the Front Page Post


BRYAN CRANSTON IS tired of laughing.

To be fair, really, he's tired of the easy laugh.

Cranston is perhaps most recognized as the hairy father in the harried situation comedy "Malcolm in the Middle." But on AMC's new knockout series "Breaking Bad," he's all but unrecognizable in the role of a harried father in a hairy situation.

On the show, which airs Sundays at 10 p.m., Walt White (Cranston) lives a mostly beige existence. He's just shy of 50, has a loving, if impatient, wife and a works in a New Mexico high school science department. An everyman if ever there was one, his life is thrown into tumult when he is suddenly diagnosed with lung cancer and the medical bills for treating his son's cerebral palsy continue to mount.

What to do?

Why, return to the lab, of course. The meth lab, that is.

"What initially captured my attention is that this show really shouldn't work," Cranston told Express. "But Walt is a relatively sympathetic character, and people don't have to agree with his choices. They can have the moral dilemma while they watch, which can heighten the drama."

"Breaking Bad" marks a serious departure for an actor known for his breezy comic flights and slapsticky characterizations. You might remember him on "Seinfeld," playing Tim Watley, the dentist who converts to Judaism so that he can inject his patients with borscht belt humor between root canals.

"Actors are looking for diversity," he said. "If something comes by that's really interesting, credible and compelling, you jump at it. 'Breaking Bad' is a fragile, delicate story that's still comic, but also tragic."

Cranston's performance has garnered much acclaim from critics, and viewers have been tuning in to AMC in droves to witness his searing portrait of an ordinary man in extraordinary times, going to desperate lengths.

"Breaking Bad" comes just a few short years after Showtime's similarly themed "Weeds." In that show, a single mother (portrayed by the vulpine Mary Louise Parker) is forced to deal pot so that she can maintain her chic lifestyle. Walt White, by contrast, is thrust into his new line of work by necessity, to ensure the survival of his family.

"He's really just a guy," said Cranston. "There's nothing heroic about him, He's a good man who's made a bad decision, he lives a life of regret and we're watching it happen to him."

The transition to dark comedy was a natural progression for an actor who cut his teeth in soap operas, and worked regularly in television in a number of successful comedic roles. In his small but critical role as an elusive motivational speaker in last year's sleeper hit, "Little Miss Sunshine," moviegoers got a glimpse of the bitter that comes with the sweet in comedy. For Cranston, it's all about the writing.

"I was finished with 'Malcolm,' and was looking for another project that I could really connect with," he said. "I had this stack of TV pilot scripts. As an actor, you'll find that there's only one or two of every 10 that's really very good.

"And after seven years playing a goofy dad, this was a different, exciting script. I think this is what storytelling is all about. It poses questions. And in the case of this show, imagine being put in a situation like Walt's. You ask yourself, 'What would anyone else do?'"

Written by Express contributor Christopher Correa
Transcript from audio interview with Bryan.

Hey everybody. This is Gina from BuddyTV, and today I'm talking to Bryan Cranston from the new AMC show, Breaking Bad. When you meet fans, what do they know you most for do you think?

Right now it's Malcolm, they'll know me as the dad from Malcolm in the Middle for the most part. I still get a legion of people who remember my character Tim Whatley, the dentist on Seinfeld. There are people who know me from the neighbor on King of Queens, and then every once in awhile I'll get some egghead guy who goes "Oh, From the Earth to the Moon, the Apollo project. I saw you." So I love to talk to them.

Well now people are going to know you as Walt White, since you're starring in a new show on AMC called Breaking Bad. How did you get involved in the project?

I got a stack of scripts to read, new pilots that were starting up, from my agents. I flipped through the first one and it was boring and I tossed it aside. I got down to a couple others and I was reading Breaking Bad, what's this about? I started reading it, and reading it and reading it and reading it, and usually you'll stop somewhere because it's just not that good. I read Breaking Bad from cover to cover, and I stopped right away at the end and I called my agency and I said, "I need to get in on Breaking Bad." It just seemed to work out, and I love this character, he's wonderfully complex. What we've created on Breaking Bad is this dilemma for the audience even, that they like this man, they sympathize with this man, and yet they hate what he's doing. It's a great moral dilemma for them.

Now the show just premiered late last month on AMC. Can you give the BuddyTV readers a little synopsis of the show for those who haven't become familiar with it yet?

Sure. Breaking Bad is about a middle-aged high school chemistry teacher who is depressed. He's filled with regret, he probably should have gone after his dream all those years ago and he didn't, and that sort of informed his life. He became introverted and soft, a little flabby, colorless. He's invisible, basically, to the world around him. He's got a wife who he loves, a special needs son of 16 who has Cerebral Palsy, an accident baby on the way, and on top of this he finds out that he's got terminal lung cancer with a year or two to live, regardless of treatment. So at first he's numb by this information, and then he's thinking what am I gonna do? I can't leave my wife with these two children penniless, I need to do something, anything. In that desperate condition he decides to make a desperate move, and he uses his chemistry background to make as much money as he can before he dies by cooking crystal meth and becoming a drug dealer.

People are drawing comparisons to the show Weeds. What is the difference for you between the two shows?

I like Weeds, I enjoy watching it. It's funny and it feels real, and the actors are terrific and the writing is great. I think we are different in that it seems like she is in a upper middle class and she's trying to maintain her lifestyle. In Breaking Bad, we are definitely in a lower middle class and just trying to hang on, going from paycheck to paycheck. The other difference is the drug of choice in here. Marijuana, which is very mild really and a passive drug, the crystal meth is anything but. It's a very serious, dangerous drug, that is very dangerous to society. My character, even though he is busy making this and putting it out on the street, he is also feeling the effects and the repercussions from what he's doing. That certainly heightens our drama on Breaking Bad, and as the season progresses you'll see that he's going to face the ramifications of his decision.

When you're acting, do you have a preference of doing comedy or drama?

I really enjoy comedy, because the nature of it. You're going to work, you're cracking up, the crew is laughing and having fun, and it seems to make the day go faster. On the other hand, drama is really more heartfelt and it sinks into your soul more, so the best thing for an actor is to be able to mix it up and do both. After seven years of Malcolm in the Middle, of doing comedy both verbal and physical, and now doing Breaking Bad, I have an opportunity to explore that part. The irony too is that Breaking Bad is also very funny. At times it's really darkly funny.

We never hear anything about you, Bryan Cranston, getting into trouble or being in the tabloids. What's life like for you outside of Hollywood when you're not acting?

I think my favorite story that refers to that question is, I was nominated for an Emmy a couple times. One year, I had just come from the red carpet, I'm in a tuxedo, people are asking for autographs and taking my picture and all this. We got home, and my wife is in the kitchen and she smells something funky, and said, "Oh, the trash. There's something leaking here, you've got to take this out." She hands me the trash, and like a dutiful husband I grab the trash and I go out to the trash can, keeping it at arm's length because it's dripping. I realize I don't want it to drip on my patent leather shoes or my tuxedo that I'm still in, and I'm thinking, 20 minutes ago people around the world are asking for my autograph, and now I'm taking out trash. That is really how life is, and that's how it should be, that you enjoy the fruits of your labors and yet that's not where you live. The foundation of your life that you create is how you want to live day in and day out. I have really a very normal lifestyle at home. A wife, a daughter of 14, and a house, a dog, chores, bills to pay, the normal thing.

Well, this Sunday AMC is going to air the first two episodes of Breaking Bad after the Super Bowl, and a new episode is premiering February 10. Thanks so much for talking to us today, Bryan.

Thanks, I appreciate it. Thanks so much.

'Breaking Bad's' Bryan Cranston on the quiet desperation of Walt White

Walt White would feel out of place in a trendy downtown hotel.

Walt, the lead character in the darkly comic drama “Breaking Bad” (9 p.m. Sunday, AMC), walks with stooped shoulders and has a doughy body clad in colorless drone-wear.

In other words, he looks almost nothing like Bryan Cranston, who plays Walt. The affable actor, most famous from his long stint as the father on the Fox comedy “Malcolm in the Middle,” fit right in at the W Chicago City Center’s restaurant.

Cranston was in town recently to promote “Breaking Bad,” which airs its fifth episode Sunday (there are seven episodes in the show’s first season). He was tanned and looked much more fit and energetic than Walt, who, as Cranston reminded me, also sports a sad little mustache.

“One reporter compared it to a dead caterpillar,” Cranston said. “And that’s how I wanted it. This is a guy who doesn’t recognize himself. He doesn’t know who he is.”

Walt Walt is a middle-age chemistry teacher who got a cancer diagnosis, which radically changed his humdrum life. He ends up cooking and selling crystal meth with a former student to make money to leave his family.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the cancer diagnosis woke up Walt, who had been sleepwalking through his life.

“For so many years, Walt had felt emasculated,” Cranston said. “He wasn’t able to provide for his family what he really wanted to give, what any man would want to give. [The diagnosis] really gave him the impetus to prove everyone wrong, to leave some kind of legacy.

There are hints in the first few episodes of the show that, when he was much younger, Walt had been a respected, rising scientist.

“He was brilliant at chemistry, and he had a great opportunity to really seek his own personal dream,” Cranston said. “And for some reason, [show creator] Vince [Gilligan] didn’t explain it. I’m thinking Walt developed a fear of success. At some point, for some reason, he failed to reach for that brass ring and got scared. So he took [a job] everyone would pat him on the back for — he’s a teacher.”

Walt’s wife, Skyler (Anna Gunn), is pregnant with their second child, and the couple live with their teenage son in a nondescript part of Albuquerque. Early on in the series, Skyler starts to wonder what’s going on when Walt starts acting suspiciously.

“He did this for his family,” Cranston says of Walt’s comically inept forays into Albuquerque’s drug underworld. “I think he does not consider himself a criminal. I don’t think he wants to think about it. He’s a smart man and if he really analyzed this, he could talk himself out of it. But he doesn’t have time for that.”

Walt’s whole mission in life is to earn enough money to leave a nest egg for his family. But almost nothing works out as planned. Though neither party knows Walt’s secret identity as a meth maker, both local Drug Enforcement Agency agents and and the city’s drug aficionados come to the conclusion that the chemical Walt has whipped up in the back of an RV is the most pure product they’ve ever seen.

Though his partnership with his former student is nothing but a series of darkly comical errors, Walt keeps pursuing the drug trade as a chance to make a fast buck. And the man’s desperation and risky behavior put him in a long line of TV anti-heroes who do things that are not necessarily admirable.

“There is a renaissance going on in TV. I think the heightened competition has driven that. Everyone says, ‘We have to dig deeper,’” Cranston said.

“With ‘Breaking Bad,’ we don’t expect the audience to condone or agree with what [Walt] is doing, but just understand it — to understand what this man did with this set of circumstances,” Cranston said.

The most interesting thing about “Breaking Bad,” which I find well acted but frustratingly sluggish in its pacing, is Cranston’s portrayal of a man who didn’t even realize how deadened he was until he got a shock to the system.

“What he didn’t see coming is the feeling of being awake,” Cranston said. “At least he’s feeling something. Even fear is better than numbness.”

But Walk’s diagnosis prompts the question – just how sick is he? In the first few episodes, he’s shown wracked with coughs and he even passes out.

“As I’ve jokingly justified, if ‘M*A*S*H’ could extend the Korean war for 10 years, we can certainly have Walt have lung cancer for a year,” Cranston said. “There are so many variables – a doctor’s prognosis can be wrong. Walt could have a year, it could be two or three years. And also, in television, we manipulate” how the passage of time is depicted.

Thanks Tyno | Source: TheHollywoodReporter, TVWeek
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I intended to watch it and just kind of ran out of time this year. I'm going to have to watch it now that it's been renewed!