On Late Night with Seth Meyers, Bryan Cranston revealed that he and Walter White aren’t all that different.
Bryan Cranston’s performance as Walter White on Breaking Bad is one of the best in television history. But as he revealed to Seth Meyers, he may not have been digging all that deep to play the vengeful and manipulative drug kingpin.
Over five seasons of playing Walter White, AKA Heisenberg, Cranston earned praise from critics and audiences. He won four Emmy Awards as well as many other honors and recognition. Part of what made his performance so special was that prior to Breaking Bad, Cranston was primarily known for his comedic work. Roles on Seinfeld and Malcolm in the Middle will do that.
So fans were blown away when they saw just how ruthless, violent, and vindictive Cranston was able to be while playing Walter White. It was all so far off from the Cranston we saw in other roles or in interviews and talk show appearances where he was funny and warm.
But on Late Night with Seth Meyers Breaking Bad we found out that Bryan Cranston may have a little more Walter White in him than we would guess. He gave Seth Meyers two examples including one that came at the expense of his co-star Aaron Paul.
The story of the distracted audience member sounds just like Walter White from the early seasons of Breaking Bad. Feeling slighted by something that doesn’t necessarily warrant an extreme punishment. Cranston nevertheless sought out his revenge on the texting teenager. You can even tell by the reaction of the Late Night audience that they were surprised Cranston altered the blocking of his play just to land some spittle on the kid.
The mind games he played with Aaron Paul sound a bit more like the Walter White of later seasons. His “prank” is calculated, manipulative, and much more psychological. It’s not too different than the relationship between Jesse and Walter on the show as Meyers pointed out.
Still, you could argue that it was Paul who got the last laugh. It was Cranston who had to turn in a (Spoiler alert?) death performance. Paul’s Jesse Pinkman was able to ride off and will now get his own movie based on life after Walter.
We learned a lot about Bryan Cranston from this Late Night interview. If you’re working with him on a show, be careful of any potential mind games. If you’re going to see him perform on stage, either stay off your phone or wear a rain poncho.