If you watch Breaking Bad you should stop playing Bejeweled Blitz immediately and cruise on over to GQ's five-page profile of lead actor Bryan Cranston.
Those of you not jonesing for the meth-fueled return of Breaking Bad in less than a month might remember Cranston as the dad from Malcolm in the Middle or as the recurring dentist on Seinfeld, the Internet will always remember him as the one who knocks. And the GQ profile is only going to further that notion.
Some of the gems contained in the piece include:
- Cranston got the Breaking Bad periodic table logo tattooed on the inside of his finger
- He once fantasized about smashing his stalker ex-girlfriend's head into a brick wall
- Creator Vince Gilligan got cold feet and offered to have Cranston wear boxers or sweatpants in the iconic tighty-whities scene, but Cranston wanted to look as pathetic as possible
- He has a penchant for on-set humor and is known for wearing things on or around his down-there during shooting
- He would only read the scripts five days in advance of shooting because he was so hooked on the story that he didn't want to spoil it for himself
- Cranston's a bawse at ping-pong
Writer Brett Martin gets into Cranston's head and gives us a glimpse at the man and mind behind one of television's greatest antiheroes as we all sneak ahead and eat all of the candy out of our Breaking Bad Advent calendars. The danger returns to AMC on August 11th with eight episodes to conclude the tale of Walter White/Heisenberg.
"We sat around this table talking about every possible kind of ending," Gilligan says. "Sometimes you start talking really macro. Like, 'What kind of responsibility do we have to find a moral in all this?' 'Is this a just universe that he lives in, or is it a chaotic universe which is more in keeping with the one we seem to live in?' 'Is there really karma in the world? Or is it just that the mechanisms, the clockwork, of the universe is so huge and subtle in its operation that we don't see karma happening?' We talk about all that stuff, and then, at a certain point, you stop and say, 'Let's just tell a good story.'"
The writers spent hours discussing the endings of other series, of movies, of books. Surprise or innovation wasn't necessarily the criteria. "I keep coming back to M*A*S*H," Gilligan continues. "From the first episode, these people sit around and say, 'All I want to do is go home.' So of course they all get to go home in the final episode. Sometimes the best moment in a TV show is an unpredictable moment, but sometimes it's actually being predictable."
By that measure, for those obsessed with guessing ahead, it may be worthwhile to remember Breaking Bad's first principles, the nature of the project—charting a man's free fall into the hell of his own worst impulses. And to count the number of endings free falls usually have. [GQ]