As promised, here’s some extra material from our talk with “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston that didn’t make it into this week’s print:
On taking Tom Hanks’ crown as the nicest guy in Hollywood
I don't think I can. I know Tom. ... His career took off much earlier than mine did, and by that I learned a lot from him. I learned a lot of how to behave, how to be a professional, how to show your thankfulness. And honestly I have such admiration and respect for him as a person, as a friend, as an actor. So if I could be in that comparison, I'm proud to have that, but it gets to a point where you go, This is what I do. If I'm not with my family, I'm working. That's what I do. I like to work, I like to create, so if I'm doing that I want to do it in a condition that is fun and comfortable and gets the work done, and everyone respects the other person and other departments. And when you have that, then you develop the reputation, not only personally, but like our show. Our show “Breaking Bad” has the reputation—you talk to crew members, they want to work on our show. They want to work on our show because they've heard the conditions that we work under doing this.
On goofing around on set
You know, I take my responsibility very sincerely, but I don't necessarily take it seriously. I'm the number one on the call sheet, which means I'm the lead actor, which carries a lot of strength and weight and—quite frankly—responsibility. I've been in the business 32 years. I've been on sets that are tense, sets that are uncomfortable, sets that are just plain horrible ... and I just don't want to have anything to do with that. So now I'm in a position where I can influence that, and I did it on "Malcolm in the Middle" and I'm doing it here where I'll set up a tone, and along with our producers, and our director of photography—who is really the head of the crew—we set an example of what is a good work place to be in. We're kind to each other, friendly and we have a good time. I think that probably the biggest misunderstanding that people who are not in our business have is [of how hard we work]. We're there five days a week for at least thirteen hours. That's the normal day, thirteen hours. Twelve hours of work and an hour lunch break ... Sometimes it will push to 15 hours, 16 hours, and when it goes there you get tired, or people get cranky and you're not thinking clearly or the mood just drops. And that's when I usually do something to try to turn that mood around—"Come on, we're in the homestretch, let's get our energy up and go," and that's when I'll try to do a prank or a gag or a goof, or something like that.
I've been in all kinds of interesting dress, or lack of dress. I did a scene once where Anna [Gunn] and I were in bed in a love scene, and she didn't know, and she turned around and I'd put on a bonnet, and I already had big diapers on and I had a little pacifier and a rattle, and I got out of the bed, and I looked back at her ... and I said, “Next time can we do one of my fantasies?”