Although it becomes increasingly harder to remember as the years go by, Bryan Cranston was once primarily known as a comedic actor, thanks to his acclaimed portrayal of dad Hal on the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. That was until 2008, and the premiere of AMC’s Breaking Bad. Cranston earned raves and multiple awards statues for his work as chemistry teacher turned drug lord, Walter White, forever changing his status in Hollywood. Cranston has embarked on a string of beefy dramatic roles since, with his latest endeavor once again returning him to the drug trade, although this time his character is out to stop a criminal instead of become one.
Based on true events, The Infiltrator takes place in 1986, during the height of the Reagan fueled re-ignition of America’s War on Drugs. Cranston plays Robert Mazur, a federal agent assigned to go deep undercover with the goal of first infiltrating famed drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s inner circle and then using that trust to bring his operation down from the inside. Distributor Broad Green Pictures has just released the first trailer for the film, which reunites Cranston with director Brad Furman, who previously worked with him on The Lincoln Lawyer.
To accomplish his mission, Mazur assumes the identity of Bob Musella, a slick businessman ostensibly looking to launder money for Escobar’s cartel. Along the way, Mazur/Musella gains the confidence of trusted cartel lieutenant Roberto Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt), using him to gain further access into the organization’s dealings. Helping Mazur blend in is fast-talking fellow agent Emir Abreu (John Leguizamo), while rookie agent Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) goes undercover alongside him as Musella’s fiance. Needless to say, the stakes for Mazur are high, with one false move possibly blowing his cover and getting both him and his associates killed. The evidence uncovered by Mazur and company eventually led to the indictments of 85 people involved with Escobar’s dealings, and the collapse of a large bank that had been heavily involved in laundering his ill-gotten funds.
On paper, this role sounds like a perfect match for Cranston, and not just because of the time he spent in the criminal underworld on Breaking Bad. While it’ll certainly be interesting to see Cranston — now complete with full head of hair and glorious 80s mustache — once again tangle with dangerous drug dealers, Cranston has also shown a recent knack for acing material based on true stories.
Cranston played the supporting role of CIA bigwig Jack O’Donnell in Ben Affleck’s 2012 Oscar-winner Argo, was nominated for his work as the title character in 2015’s Trumbo, and will soon play President Lyndon B. Johnson in the HBO telefilm All the Way. Cranston is clearly talented when it comes to getting inside the heads of historical figures and bringing them to life on-screen, and there’s no reason to expect that pattern not to continue. If nothing else, though, it’ll be nice to see the former Walter White find out how Hank Schrader felt.
The Infiltrator arrives in theaters on July 15, 2016.
Source: Broad Green Pictures