Bryan Cranston, who plays the science-teacher-turned-meth-maker on AMC’s Breaking Bad, has had plenty of experience playing a messed up father figure before, but his role in Total Recall presents a whole new complication:
The man he feels fatherly towards is messing up his evil plans.
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In Sony’s reboot of the 1990 sci-fi action film, Cranston plays Vilos Cohaagen, the leader of a futuristic nation who has some big, bad plans up his sleeve with regards to the other half of the world.
The reboot follows factory worker Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) who – after visiting a facility called Rekall – discovers that he may be a high-level spy whose memory was erased and replaced with a false life. He then sets off on a mission to save the world, which has been divided into two nations (EuroAmerica and New Shanghai) from destruction at the hands of Cohaagen.
Rather than just play Cohaagen as a straight villain in Len Wiseman’s reboot, Cranston wanted him to have an emotional tie to Farrell’s character.
“I told Len, I had a feeling that I want to play Cohagen as a father figure to Colin Farrell’s character. And that he loves this kid and desperately wants to keep him alive as opposed to desperately wanting to kill him.”
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The Emmy-winning actor has created a string of memorable characters in films over the past few years, including roles in Drive, John Carter, The Lincoln Lawyer and Larry Crowne. He accomplishes this once again by creating a more relatable character in Cohaagen.
“Someone you love is only capable of absolutely pushing every button you have and making you incredibly mad,” Cranston says. “If a taxi cab driver said, ‘Hey go to hell, lady,’ it doesn’t feel as bad as when someone you love says, ‘Hey, go to hell.’”
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Cranston, who saw the movie for the first time two weeks ago, says the futuristic world that Wiseman has created amazed him.
“It blew my mind,” he says. “It just makes me so much prouder to say I was a part of this because it works as a film.”
Total Recall, which also stars Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, opens in theaters on Friday, Aug. 3.
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