Bryan Cranston: 'I Talk About Breaking Bad Every Day'

The man who was Walter White on his legacy and new comedy with James Franco

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Tell us about Why Him?

It's a story that is not unfamiliar to me. I have a daughter the same age and it's what every father fears. You raise them from a baby: changing their diapers, taking them for their first bike ride, their first athletics event, you go through all these things and at the end you have to let her go, and you hope she settles with someone suitable. That's what being a father involves. And there's every chance you won't approve of her choices. That's when you get two men fighting for the affections of a female. I mean: would you want your daughter settling down with James Franco?

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It's a change of tone from your recent work: like Trumbo and The Infiltrator.

I have done a lot of serious things. And I want to be a well-rounded actor, so it was part of the thinking. I wanted to have fun. And I just laughed so much making it. I don't think I've had as much fun on set since Malcolm in the Middle. It's an extremely funny movie. But it wouldn't have been a "yes" if it hadn't been for the pathos in the story.

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It opens on Boxing Day in America (a few days later in the UK). Is going to the cinema then a big tradition in the States?

It's a big day to go and see movies. But listen, our movie isn't It's a Wonderful Life. It isn't Miracle on 34th Street. But if you want something to enjoy and have a lot of laughs then I recommend it.

How many times today have you been asked about Breaking Bad?

I don't think a day goes by when I don't talk about it. But I'm OK with it. It was a huge part of my life. So it's not like I want to push it away. I want to embrace it.

Are there still as many rabid fans? Or have they moved on to Game of Thrones?

It's perpetual! It's continual — I still get approached by an awful lot of people who are out of their minds about it. About what it meant to them. I have exchanges with fans on a daily basis: about which episode is their favourite, about "Do you think Walter White is really dead?"

Walter White is really dead, isn't he?

This is my own fault. I once teased in an interview with CNN, "We didn't see him put into a body bag. He could be alive." I don't know. You tell me. I think he's dead.

If you were offered untold riches for a sixth season but on the preposterous premise he'd been resurrected, would you do it?

The litmus test for that: it's not money. It's [creator/ writer/ director] Vince Gilligan. If Gilligan came to me and said, "I have an idea. We could do one more season…" Then why not? Never say never.

It feels like there's too much great TV on. Finding time to watch it all is impossible. Is it Breaking Bad's fault?

Breaking Bad broke down some barriers. It showed you that characters didn't have to stay the same — that they could develop over a long time and audiences would come with you. We broke that down and showed that you could take that risk. And now other shows are doing the same thing. That's what good writing and storytelling is. Storytelling shouldn't be constrained.

We'll next see you and James Franco together in The Masterpiece, the true story of "the worst movie ever made", Tommy Wiseau's The Room. Had you seen it?

Yes, I had seen it and I was astonished it ever got made. It's so bad. Then you look at it again and think, "This isn't just bad. This is brilliantly bad."

Are actors always aware when something's heading for disaster?

You are. You're aware of it. And then you live in denial that it's going sideways. But when you're as "experienced" as I am, you learn that you cannot predict success even when everyone involved in a project is great. You have to hope and trust.

Why Him? is out on December 30