Bryan Cranston may have been sporting a full head of hair on the set of the new film “Get A Job” this week, but that won’t last long. The actor is on a plane today to return to the Albuquerque location of his critically-acclaimed hit show, “Breaking Bad,” and sounds thrilled to be getting back to work as Walter White.
During a conversation with a group of reporters visiting the set of the comedy, Cranston was asked about the difference between building a character like White over several years of a television show and on a film where he has significantly less running time to make an impression. “I’m so excited. I finish this Thursday night, my last day, and then I’m on a plane Friday morning. I buzz my head over the weekend. And then we’re in front of the cameras on ‘Breaking Bad’ on Monday.”
Rian Johnson, director of “Brick” and the upcoming science-fiction film “Looper,” showed up at last week’s WonderCon to discuss his new film, and confirmed there that he’d be returning for an episode of “Breaking Bad” this year, good news for those who loved his episode “The Fly”. When this was mentioned to Cranston, he beamed. “Good. I’m glad he was set. We’ve been trying to get him to come back. He deserves to come back. He’s not only a really terrific filmmaker… because that’s not enough. You have to fit in. And as I get older and I’m leading casts, and producing a show and being part of that, it truly is ‘How are they to be with for 13 or 14 hours a day?’ I won’t stand to be with someone who yells at me or yells at other people. Life’s too short. I go to work because I love to work, but if someone’s abusive, that’s the end of that. I’m not into that.”
Asked if he would also be directing an episode this year, he confirmed it. “Yeah, I will.” Cranston recently directed an episode of the hit show “Modern Family,” and asked to discuss the difference between directing his own show and guesting as a director on someone else’s show, he seemed happy to elaborate. “There’s a clear, distinctive difference between directing TV and directing films. Directing film, you are the person who sets all the tone. The style, the tone, the pace, all of it. And your relationship with the actors, you’re creating those characters with them. You’re guiding the nuances of that. And then it’s over. Then you all go your separate ways, and you get to go into editing and finesse. And an actor in that case… unless you’re a superstar, the director has all the power. On ‘Get A Job,’ I can share my opinion with [director] Dylan Kidd and [producer] Michael Shamberg, and they listen, but I have no control over if they’re going to listen and use what I said. In television, [the director] is the guest of the crew. You’re not even part of the crew. You’re a guest. You come in, you shoot for a week, and you’re gone. So when I did ‘Modern Family,’ I’m not there to change things. No. You are there to follow the system, and I feel that when I direct TV, I need to give my showrunner what he or she needs. I’m not about to tell the actor ‘Change that point of view,’ but I can suggest ‘Maybe you can turn down that color right now so it’ll come in stronger later.’ You can maneuver, but you’re not going to wholesale change anyone.”
With production resuming on “Breaking Bad” this coming Monday, fans don’t have long to wait for the return of Walter White, and just based on Cranston’s enthusiasm, it seems like they’re planning to hit the ground running.