if he’s trying to prove he can do it all, it’s working. whether playing the goofy dad on Malcolm in the Middle, a ruthless drug dealer on Breaking Bad or an unhinged, mad-as-hell TV anchor in Network on Broadway, the 62-year-old Bryan Cranston draws euphoric acclaim—and awards. Among many others, he has won four Emmys, a Tony (for his portrayal of Lyndon Johnson in All the Way) and an Olivier for Network’s London run. His method? “Whatever I’ve just done, I tend to not do that,” he says. “I had opportunities to play a hapless dad after Malcolm, and my absolute inclination was to say, ‘Thank you, but no thank you.’” His current job, in Network, he describes as “exhilarating and exhausting.” Things were slightly more, well, stationary, filming The Upside (opening January 11), a remake of the 2011 French blockbuster The Intouchables, which is based on the true story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, a quadriplegic aristocrat who hired an ex-con as his unorthodox caretaker. So, yes, Cranston has only his face to work with this time (Kevin Hart plays the caretaker). But the role offered something else he’d never done before: the chance to play “a man whose freedom was taken away from him.” In the ɿlm, you navigate your wheelchair with just your chin. How did that go"
It was much harder than I thought it would be and took a lot of time. I had one sent to my house—i was rolling around, bumping into the furniture. My wife was like, “You’re chipping paint and knocking into things!” I had to just calm down—and that’s actually how I realized how I was going to remain immobile throughout my scenes. I had to be so relaxed I didn’t need to move.
Did playing a disabled person concern you"
2h, most deɿnitely. It was not my decision to offer the role to me, it was someone who felt they could make money by doing that. Are there any disabled actors who have the notoriety that I have? Maybe not. That highlights a relatively new sensitivity and one worthy of a conversation: Why aren’t there? Why don’t disabled actors have more opportunities to be able to be play characters who happen to be disabled? It’s good for our society to be aware of these things.
Is there a role or project of yours that you think is underrated"
I did a bizarre little movie called :DNHƟHOG that I really liked. More recently, there was /DVW )ODJ )O\LQJ— a beautiful movie directed by Richard Linklater, with Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne and me. It’s about how men grieve, and it was also very funny. It didn’t get the play I thought it should have gotten. Ŝ$QQD 0HQWD
“Why don’t disabled actors have more opportunities to play characters who happen to be disabled"”