Watch: Bryan Cranston describes wig acting in ‘Total Recall’

07.30.12 5 years ago

When I sat down to speak with Bryan Cranston on Friday, I told him that, based on the comments I hear from everyone else who does this same video interview circuit, he may well be one of the most universally liked interview subjects out there today.

And why not?  Here’s a guy who was a working actor for decades who is finally having that moment where he is getting near-universal praise for his work and who is in demand in a way that few actors ever experience, and he seems genuinely grateful for the experience and, beyond that, aware of just how unusual it is.  When you sit down with Cranston, you can count on a real interview.  You can count on real answers.  You can count on a guy who wants to be in that chair, who actually thinks about what he’s going to say instead of just spitting out a stock answer.

Cranston was at the press day to talk about his work as Cohaagen, the main antagonist in the remake of “Total Recall” that opens on Friday.  In the Paul Verhoeven film, the role was played by Ronny Cox, and I love that Cranston goes out of his way to talk about his regard for Cox and his work in the film.  That’s one actor paying lovely tribute to another actor that he obviously thinks highly of, and it’s just one more reason to like Cranston.

On “Breaking Bad,” of course, he spends the show with his head basically shaved.  Each season, he has to go back to skin, and that means that he’s going to have to be wearing wigs on whatever he does right after wrapping “Breaking Bad.”  I love wig acting.  I think it is a very specific type of acting, and you’ve got guys like Nic Cage who wouldn’t have careers if they didn’t have wigs.  You’ve got guys like Sean Connery, whose careers can be broken down into eras based on which fake hair they were wearing in what film.  And with Cranston, he seems to have fun starting from the blank slate of a bald head and giving himself whatever hair he feels is appropriate.  Watch for his reaction when I bring up “Cohaagen wig acting.”  This is why it’s fun to interview Cranston.

We’ll have more conversations with the cast this week, and our review of “Total Recall” will be live here on the site Wednesday night at 11:00 PM PST.

“Total Recall” opens in theaters everywhere on Friday.

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