LIFE OF BRYAN
The star of Breaking Bad reveals how he became drug dealer Walter White…
For fans of Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston’s new autobiography, A Life In Parts, provides a revealing insight into how the co-star of family favourite Malcolm In The Middle transformed himself into a crystal meth kingpin. Not to mention how, along with ’ Bad creator Vince Gilligan, he inadvertently changed how people actually watch TV.
“When Vince told me he was going to take the central character from good to bad, to be honest I wondered whether audiences would go for it,” he writes. “In the end, they didn’t just go for it. They were addicted.”
When it first aired in 2008, the show was a critical but not a ratings success, yet interest soon snowballed and it became a major box-set bingeing experience. It’s now one of the most eagerly devoured series on Netflix.
“The mania the show inspired was unlike anything I’d seen,” Cranston writes. “The advent of streaming services like Netflix created the opportunity for people to shoot Breaking Bad right into their veins.” Although he faced stiff competition for the role, from actors including Matthew Broderick, Cranston says he was desperate to be become Walter White: “I’m not sure I knew what the title meant then, but the script was oh-my-god superb, the best hour-long drama I’d ever read.” Cranston worked hard after getting the part, and describes gruelling shoots starting at 5.30am, which also included a daily head shave, to maintain the Heisenberg look. To get into the character, Cranston writes that he even imagined the death of his own daughter, to power a scene where White fails to save a character from choking. Cranston also admits to a spat with Gilligan after the star changed a scene, revealing “We smoothed things out later in person”, and that he was reluctant to be filmed wearing those famous Y-fronts, until Vince explained, “Tighty-whities are funnier than boxer shorts.”
A Life In Parts (Orion) by Bryan Cranston is out now.