“Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston is breaking out in a big way into films. Cranston’s taken home two consecutive best dramatic actor Emmys for his turn as the cancer-stricken teacher-turned-meth-dealer Walter White on the acclaimed AMC series and was nominated three times for playing “Malcolm in the Middle’s” hilariously befuddled dad Hal, and now he’s making a break for the big screen. The actor gave ComingSoon.net the scoop of who he’s playing in a trio of anticipated films: Red Tails, Larry Crowne and John Carter of Mars.
ComingSoon.net: You have some interesting films that you’re working on: first up is George Lucas’ “Red Tails,” about the Tuskegee Airmen, African American combat of Word War II. What are you playing in that, and what did you respond to in that story? Bryan Cranston: A couple of things. The biggest thing that I responded to was the writing. If it’s well-written, it has a chance to be a good production, and this was well-written. The second thing was the historic value of it. It’s just a great story and it’s an American story, warts and all. We need to look back at those stories of prejudice and restrictiveness and denial and the ultimate celebration to appreciate how far we’ve come and still where we need to go in society. So that had a historic value to it. The character I play was really an amalgam of the naysayer: the white man denying the African American the ability to stretch and grow and become a fully realized citizen of this country. So it was great to be able to play that type of character and playing the so-called bad guy.
CS: And you’re being directed by Tom Hanks now? Cranston: We’re doing a movie called “Larry Crowne,” which we’re having a blast on and Tom is directing. He wrote it, he’s starring in it. Julia Roberts, and it’s just too much fun. It really is. We’re having a great time and we should be finishing soon and that will probably come out, I would say, early next year is my guess. I play Julia’s husband. He’s sort of an under employed ne’er-do-well, misunderstood sycophant, if I can put all those together.
CS: It sounds a good opportunity for you to get back to some comedy? Cranston: It is, and it was also huge for me to be able to seen in that light whereas for the past three years I’ve been Walter White [on “Breaking Bad”], who is deeply troubled and anguished and carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and bald and hunched and almost physically crippled and emotionally crippled. To be able to play younger and more vibrant and active and to be even thought of as a possible match to Julia Roberts was huge for me. I owe Tom Hanks everything for that. In fact, he took me up on that. I have to wash his car once a week for the next six weeks.
CS: I imagine Tom keeps his car in pretty clean. Cranston: Because of that he’s messy now. He’ll spill coke in there, like, ‘Don’t forget that. Look at that.’
CS: And then you’ve got Andrew Stanton’s “John Carter of Mars.” Cranston: “John Carter of Mars” Another fantastically-written film. This is based on the book “Princess of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burrows, which he started writing way back before “Tarzan” and wrote eleven novels following the exploits of John Carter, who’s kind of a rebel from Virginia during the Civil War time. My character is a Northern Colonel and wants to and needs to recruit him into the cavalry of the northern army to help settle the Arizona territories because we’re having tremendous difficulties with the Indians. He refuses and I keep grabbing him and forcing him to come into the fold. There’s a whole bunch of exploits and he goes to Mars. He finds a portal to Mars, which is fascinating. Then the story takes places on Mars with all the creatures that Disney is so wonderfully and incredibly expert at creating, and then it also takes place back in the American Civil War time.