Udayavni Special

Don’t want to play characters who have all the answers: Bryan Cranston on ‘Your Honor’


PTI, Dec 8, 2020, 4:46 PM IST

New Delhi: “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston says he is always in search of roles that are “complex, conflicted but interesting” as he believes everyone relates to flawed characters.

This quest led Cranston to “Your Honor” that sees him as a judge who crosses over to the criminal side in order to save his son”s life.

The titular role in the limited Showtime series has led to some comparisons with his “Breaking Bad” character of Walter White but Cranston insists there are no similarities between the two.

“If I read a character who has all the answers, makes the right decisions, is kind to everyone, I”m bored. I don”t want to play that character. But someone who has flaws but tries to be a better person, I think everyone can relate to that,” Cranston said in a group interview with the international media while responding to a PTI question.

“I think that”s what”s necessary for an audience to invest their time, energy and sympathies toward a character to root for them. That”s what I look for… I look for characters that are complex and conflicted but, interesting,” the 64-year-old actor added.

The series, which is currently streaming on Voot Select in India and will also air on Zee Cafe, is created by Peter Moffat, the man behind acclaimed British legal drama “Criminal Justice”.

Cranston stars as Michael Desiato, a judge confronting his convictions when his son is involved in a hit-and-run that embroils an organised crime family. He faces impossible choices and discovers how far he will go to save his child.

Asked about the similarities between Michael Desiato and Walter White, Cranston said the only common link between the two characters is the actor himself.

“… Walter White was very methodical in his journey, what he was plotting out to do. Michael Desiato in ”Your Honor” is impulsive. He has to make an immediate decision on what is going to save his son”s life and then has to suffer the repercussions from that decision.

“There are distinct differences to that. I hope the audience sees that and allows those differences to play into and forget about Walter White, and watch ”Your Honor” with an open mind and be entertained.”

Considered one of the most agreeable actors in Hollywood, Cranston has build an enviable career across mediums on stage, television and in cinema.

His most notable work includes “Malcolm in the Middle”, “Breaking Bad”, which is regarded as one of the best shows in TV history, and movies such as “Saving Private Ryan”, “Drive”, “The Lincoln Lawyer”, scriptwriter Dalton Trumbo”s biopic “Trumbo” and “Godzilla”.

Though there are very few genres the actor is unfamiliar with, the multiple Emmy Award winner said one day he would like to try his hand at musical theatre, something he said he is scared of.

“I wouldn”t call myself a singer. Therefore, I, probably, will do it at some point in the future. Just because, there are things in life that scare you, that you should not do… And then there are things that scare you that you should still do,” he added.

The actor said he is someone who believes in taking the risk of the unknown.

“I want to keep opening up and and be a beginner at something. I think that”s remarkable. And I think that”s what adults should be doing that for the rest of their lives, is to find those things that open them up to the world,” he said reflectively.

Cranston may look for roles that push him out of his comfort zone but when it comes to collaborating, the actor said he looks for people who are willing to be “true partners in the storytelling process”.

That”s why he enjoyed working with both Moffat and Vince Gilligan, creator-director of “Breaking Bad”.

The actor said he is always prepared to encounter different personalities and is mindful of how they approach their work.

“What I really look for, if I”m doing theatre or television or film, is to be able to openly tell each other what you”re feeling, what works for you, what doesn”t work for you, and to be respectful and yet, honest about those feelings. Hopefully, that collaboration will bring out the best story possible.”

“Breaking Bad” lasted for seven seasons but “Your Honor” may or may not have a second season due to its limited series format.

“What I was really attracted to with ”Your Honor”, was the initial premise of it – ”What would you do to save the life of your child?” but also the fact that it is classified a limited series.

“Whereas, I knew going into ”Breaking Bad” that it was going to be, hopefully, several seasons long to tell the beginning, middle and end of that story to the best way possible. The structure of it (”Your Honor”) is a little different. It could end after one season, and be very satisfying of a conclusion. We”ll just wait and see what happens,” he said.

“Your Honor” also features Hunter Doohan, Michael Stuhlbarg, Hope Davis and Isiah Whitlock Jr in prominent roles.

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