While Bryan Cranston had already been acting steadily in Hollywood for decades – and had garnered a good deal of fame for playing Hal on FOX sitcom Malcolm in the Middle – it was his Emmy-winning work as cancer-afflicted chemistry teacher-turned-drug kingpin Walter White on AMC’s Breaking Bad that truly cemented him as a household name.
Well wonder no more, as Cranston was asked that very question on a recent episode of The Rich Eisen Show, and unequivocally answered in the affirmative:
“I owe Vince Gilligan so much. He was my champion to get [the Walter White] role. I was the guy coming off Malcolm in the Middle. If they were to call me and say, ‘We have this idea, we’d like … ,’ I would say, ‘Yes, you don’t have to finish the pitch. I’m there, what do you want me to do?’
I know how careful they are and proprietary they are with those characters and those storylines, and it wouldn’t be something, ‘Oh, isn’t that kind of a stunt casting kind of thing.’ It would be something kind of unique and obscure and creative, and I’m all in.”
Considering all the fame and opportunity that Breaking Bad has brought Cranston’s way, it’s no surprise that he feels he owes a debt to series creator Vince Gilligan, who personally pushed for the then primarily comedic actor to get the lead role after previously working with him on an episode of The X-Files. While some stars have been too happy to leave their past roles behind after using them to get to the A-list, Cranston clearly still has a great deal of love and respect for the world he and Gilligan created.
Additionally, it doesn’t hurt that Cranston is himself a huge fan of Better Call Saul as a TV show, to the point where he’s not sure whether he wants to accept their invitation to direct an episode for fear of learning spoilers:
“I’m a fan of the show, and in order to direct, I need to know what no fan knows … and there’s a part of me that says that would kind of kill it for me as a fan to peek behind the curtain, so I don’t know if I am [going to direct] or not.”
While he’s certainly most well-known for his exploits in front of the camera, Cranston has directed multiple TV episodes in the past, including installments of MitM, Modern Family, The Office, and of course Breaking Bad. With that experience under his belt and his close connection to the material, he would seem like a natural choice to assume the Saul director’s chair, should he ever overcome his worries about getting spoiled.
Since Saul is set prior to Breaking Bad, it remains a mystery as to how exactly Cranston’s character would be worked into things, or whether his appearance would be more than a one or two scene cameo. For continuity reasons, Walt definitely can’t interact much with Jimmy (Saul), or else he would likely be aware of him before their first meeting during season 2 of Bad. The same thinking would apply to Mike, who didn’t meet Walt until after both men worked for Gus Fring. Still, whether it ends up being a quick cameo or a juicy supporting role, fans would surely be overjoyed to finally see Walter White grace their TVs once again.
Better Call Saul returns for season 3 on AMC in 2017.
Source: The Rich Eisen Show