Bryan Cranston: Walk of Fame Is Good for ‘Bad’ Star
Bryan Cranston’s hair has grown back in. His goatee has been shaved. Physically, the thesp has transitioned from the now-iconic Walter White, “Breaking Bad’s” meth-cooking antihero, after wrapping the final episode of the AMC series earlier this year.
But, as Cranston, who will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his TV work on July 16, recognizes, there is a bond between him and the characters of White and White’s alter ego Heisenberg that won’t easily be broken.
“Walter’s a part of me, and I’m a part of him,” Cranston wistfully says of his character. “We’re inextricably tied for the rest of our lives.”
Aug. 11 will mark the beginning of “Breaking Bad’s” swan song, as the Emmy-winning drama enters its final eight-episode run to much fanfare. But AMC’s initial campaign for season six is simple: smoke on a green background with the words, “All Bad things must come to an end.” That’s something Cranston has come to grips with in an almost philosophical manner.
“Just like any good thing, if you know it lasts forever, it’ll lose its value,” he explains. “But because it’s ephemeral and life is ephemeral, you hold onto something like this with more grace, respect and honor than you would otherwise. … It’s like a microcosm of life itself.”
Six years ago, Cranston encountered the pilot script from “Breaking Bad” creator and scribe Vince Gilligan. While he may not have been able to predict the reverential trajectory of the drama during his first glimpse at the script (including his three lead actor Emmy wins), the thesp knew, from conversations with Gilligan, that “Breaking Bad” would be different.
“What Vince wanted to do was something that has never been done before in the history of TV,” the actor recalls. “Take a character, introduce him to the audience with specific characteristics, and then begin to make him change slowly, over the course of two years in storytelling time until he’s a completely different person. What he described to me, that wasn’t evident in the pilot script.”
When “Breaking Bad” debuted on AMC in 2008, some broadcasts barely broke a million viewers. Thanks to word-of-mouth and Netflix making available several binge-able seasons of the show, “Breaking Bad” developed a cult-like following and more than doubled its initial viewership.