How Bryan Cranston stays sane in the Trump age
The legend says his new film “Wakefield” taps into our need to escape reality.
Bryan Cranston’s post“Breaking Bad” life has been going great. He played Lyndon B. Johnson on Broadway and won a Tony. His role in “Trumbo” received an Oscar nod. He’s co-created an Amazon show, “Sneaky Pete,” starring Giovanni Ribisi. His even popped up in the “Power Rangers” movie. Now the 61-year-old legend is in “Wakefield,” which really allows him to shine. He plays a wealthy man who whimsically decides not to go home one night. Instead, he holes up in the attic of his garage, pretending to be missing, presumed dead, all while spying on his wife (Jennifer Garner) and kids. And this goes on for months and months. Ignoring how cruel it is to abandon his family, what your character does here — drop out of society — is pretty alluring these days. This need we have to slow down or to get away, to release yourself of any kind of responsibility, has been eternal. Especially now, in this day of extreme technology, when we’re expected to do more. The advent of all this wonderful machinery has raised our levels of expectation. We’re just now feeling the pressure of it. It’s also important to our mental health to take breaks every now and then from everything Trump does. That is true. What we have to do is find a compromise. I have not read any news today. We can start with that. You can start by allowing your brain to shut off from the bombardment of information. That on its own is like a minivacation, if you don’t read any news.
When I was doing Broadway three years ago, Audra McDonald gave me a tip that she used: She said she didn’t speak on Mondays. She needed to rest her vocal chords to be able to continue strong for the rest of the week. I started to do that. And I kept it up. It was not only good
for my vocal strength, but it saved my energy. By not speaking, my whole demeanor throughout the day was calmer — and quieter, obviously. I would walk at a slower pace. I would take a nap. Boy, I really shut out — and in the middle of New York City. We are capable of doing that, if we choose to do so.
Bryan Cranston plays a man who pretends that he’s missing for months and months in “Wakefield.” Now in theaters.