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Bryan Cranston 2
Up Close and Personal
With Bryan Cranston

His Private Journey

Beverly Cohn
Part 2

Bryan Cranston
Multiple award–winning actor, Bryan Cranston.
Courtesy Photo

ECAP OF PART 1: In the first installment of my two-part interview with the most talented Bryan Cranston, he talked about the genesis of his latest film, "The Infiltrator." He also talked about developing a character, preparing for the nude scene in "Trumbo," as well as the lingering effects of playing Lyndon B. Johnson, and ended with the key to the success of his long-term marriage"

RECAP OF CREDITS: For his performance as Walter White in "Breaking Bad," Cranston won four consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He also received five Golden Globe nominations, with four wins, and six Satellite Award nominations, garnering four wins. He earned Broadway's Tony Award for his portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson in "All The Way," the same role that he reprised for the HBO television film. Other television roles include playing Hal, the dad in "Malcolm in the Middle," as well as appearances on "Seinfeld," "The King of Queens," "How I Met Your Mother," as well as playing Buzz Aldrin in "From the Earth to the Moon."

'Malcolm in the Middle' cast
“Malcolm in the Middle” cast L-R: Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan,) Reese (Justin Berfield,) and Hal (Bryan Cranston.) Courtesy Photo

Bryan Cranston as Buzz Aldrin in “From the Earth to the Moon.” Courtesy Photo

Part 2, which focuses on his personal journey, is a continuation of a recent interview conducted by several select journalists. The following has been edited for content and continuity for print purposes.

Was there a time in your life when you wanted to pursue a career other than acting?

Cranston: Early on in life, I was going to be a police officer and a detective but not necessarily do undercover work.

What made you change your mind?

Cranston: Girls. (Laughter) And, theatre class. It was like, "wow." I'm 19. I'm in the second year of college and I went, "There's that??" That's available?" And they outnumber boys eight-to-one! (Laughter) One of my first scenes in my first acting class read: "A boy and a girl on a park bench making out." Oh my God. I read it again. I was like, so my job is to make out with a girl? Oh my God. (Much laughter) It was like this is possible? Once that turned my head around I realized ok, all those initial emotional reactions aside, if I'm going to do this, I'm need to learn how to do this. So, that's what drove me deeper and very seriously into how does one become an actor.

What did you discover and what is the most important thing?

Cranston: The biggest thing is to be vulnerable. That said, let's say most high school kids want to be with the pack and not stand out. We're wearing the same clothes and don't want anyone to single us out. There is the occasional kid who is way out there and already exposes who he is. That kid is proud and you think: "Wow. Who's that?" But, he is also open to ridicule and being ostracized for being different.

What was the next step in your path to achieve vulnerability?

Cranston: After high school you begin to think, I need to be me. I need to open these
flood gates and celebrate the uniqueness of me. Am I unique? Then you just kind of go inward through therapy or self-awareness. I was coming of age in the 70s when it wasn't self-awareness – it was indulgence. But the 80s were different. You could either go with further indulgence with cocaine, and the craziness of that, or join one of the self-help groups like Brian Williamson or Leo Buscaglia, Wayne Dwyer or EST (Erhard Seminars Training). You could go on that path, which was very healthy for self-exploration – who am I, what makes me tick, and what is my raison d'être or what is my purpose for being here. I had to get serious. You go through the teens and the early 20s and you are so self-centered. Then you go ok, enough of that. Now I have to grow up and become the person I want to become.


Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo in “Trumbo.” Courtesy Photo

What is the most difficult part of acting?

Cranston: An actor's life is filled with risk – certainly emotional risk. I'm willing to be exposed and naked emotionally and physically because sometimes you need both. I accept those things. In order to truly tell a story, I have to be completely honest with myself. If the intention is to make an audience feel embarrassed for my character, then being exposed, being nude, is one way of doing it, like in "Trumbo." I had to let go of Bryan so Dalton's personality could emerge. He was scared, but put on a good face for his wife and assured her that he would be fine and that he would be out soon, and that he loves her.*

Bryan Cranston as Lyndon B. Johnson in 'All the Way'
Bryan Cranston in his award-winning role as Lyndon B. Johnson in “All The Way.”
Courtesy Photo

Having played a president, you have some knowledge of what the responsibilities are. Where do you stand on the current political campaign?

Cranston: (referring to Donald Trump) There is no room for a charlatan in that office.

*Cranston talks about the nude scene in great deal length in Part 1.


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Let Bev know what you think about her traveling adventure.

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Thanks so much for those lovely tourism photos, especially of Ireland. I certainly enjoyed all the places you suggested, and am working towards my next vacation. Don’t forget Cuba. That’s an exciting place.

Rosalie, Los Angeles

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Enjoyed your article on Mira Sorvino. Such an interesting background – family, education, career and now human rights activist. I'm not a gossip mag fan so getting more meaty news about movie celebrities from you gives me hope that there are some inteligent life forms in Hollywood.

Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA

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Thank you, Bev. This reminded me to go see the movie, "An Education," which I had already almost forgotten about, having seen the preview a few weeks ago. I enjoy this actress quite a bit--she has a uniqueness about her and she pulls me in. I enjoyed this.

Sandeee, Seattle, WA

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Thank you Beverly,I really enjoyed reading about your intimate conversation with Forest, of whom I am a great admirer. I look forward to seeing the film "Our Family Wedding."

Yoka, Westlake Village, CA

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Thank you for the sending me the beautiful article you wrote about Ireland. We will use your recomendations for hotels in the Southern part. We plan to also go to Dublin and some other Northern cities so I will get some recommendations for these from others. After reading your article, I am getting more excited about going. I think we will be in Ireland for 8 days altogether.

Leah Mendelsohn, Santa Monica, CA

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Very much enjoyed Ms. Cohn's article about Munich, especially the visuals. Though it has been 25 years since my last visit, the piece brought back countless pleasant memories of the city and the people!! Many thanks.

Lawrence, Los Angeles

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Marianplatz and that general area is truly one of the best Christmas celebrations in the world. Between that and Oktoberfest (which I can only imagine) Munich is one of the greatest cities in the world for major annual events.

Christopher Dale, New York, NY

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Hi Bev, you have done some wonderful pieces on some great celebs...Great work. The travel articles are just wonderful too.

Scott Mueller, Huntington Beach, CA

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Your great Zurich article makes me want to go there for the holidays! I love the photos, too, especially the ones of you in the sleigh, the view over the houses and the zoo!

Anna Marie, Santa Monica, CA

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Lovely article! As a European, and having been to Zurich (albeit in summer) I can vouch for this lovely city. Great pictures, too!

Helene Robins, Santa Monica, CA

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Hi Bev,

Nice review, nice seeing you, nice website interface "...Talk to Bev" - Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Richard D. Kaye, Marina del Rey, CA

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Hi Bev,

Your interview with John Cusack is very interesting. I always wondered why these actors/actresses always get top billing when really, if you think about it, the real work come from the animators, writers and tech whizzes who spend far more hours on the movie than those actors. I know, I know, it's the all about marketing. The names of these actors are what bring in the big bucks. Still, I think these actors are way overpaid for the "little" that they do.

I remember that once upon a time, the early animation classics never mentioned the voices behind the characters. I think it was only later when Walt Disney tapped into the voices of known celebrities like Walter Matthau in the Jungle Book or Zsa Zsa Gabor in The Rescuers that the voices became a marketing magnet.

Keep up the good work. I enjoy your interviews as you peer into the lives of the Hollywood celebrities.

Peter Paul of South Pasadena, CA




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