On the last day of shooting for Breaking Bad, which begins its final season this Sunday at 9pm on AMC, Bryan Cranston tattooed his right ring finger with the letters: BRBA. “It’s the greatest role I’ve ever had in my life,” says Cranston, “and this reminds me of it.” But it’s not like Cranston or anyone else will soon forget his triple-Emmy-winning performance as chemistry teacher-turned-drug lord Walter White. We caught up with the amiable actor to discuss the end of the road for Walt and what’s next for the man who played one of TV’s greatest antiheroes.
“I think every fan of the show will be satisfied and pleased at the ending.
It’s unapologetic, very Breaking Bad.”
MADE MAN: How much good is left in Walt at this point?
BRYAN CRANSTON: Walt has a large reservoir of good to be shared with everyone, and he spreads his joy throughout the last eight episodes. Looking into this character and what happens to him and the transformation, I really believe that everybody is capable of good or bad. We are all human beings. We are all given this spectrum of emotions, as complex as they are, and depending on your influences, DNA, parenting, education and social environment, the best of you can come out or the worst of you can come out. If given the right set of circumstances—dire situations—any one of us can become dangerous.
MM: What are you proudest of, looking back?
BC: What I love about this whole journey is that I was able to be the mouthpiece for [Breaking Bad creator] Vince Gilligan. I wanted this series to end exactly how Vince Gilligan wanted it to end, and I’m really proud that it has. I think every fan of Breaking Bad will be satisfied and pleased at the ending. It’s unapologetic and it’s very Breaking Bad.
Remember when Walter White was sorta wimpy? Yeah, he’s changed a little bit.
MM: How did you originally envision the ending, and how has that vision changed?
BC: I wanted this role really bad. So coming in for the pilot, our discussion in the first meeting was how he should look and walk and what his sensibility is and this and that, but we never discussed where it was going to end up. It was just too big a subject. And as the season went on, I never found out. I never asked. I never wanted to know. The twists and turns of my character were so sharp that it wouldn’t help me to know. So I was just holding on, much like the audience was, week to week. I would read a script about five to six days before we shot it, and this was no exception. It was about a week or six days before we started shooting the last episode, and Aaron Paul and I read the last script together. And it will be part of a documentary on the show.
MM: What’s next for you?
BC: I’m going to do a play, All the Way, in Boston.