There are not many roles Emmy Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston will shy away from, as long as they are challenging and it's something he hasn’t done before.
Cranston of course first made a name for himself on the small screen as Hal in the hit TV series, Malcolm in the Middle but leaped to fame playing the crack dealing former high school teacher in the groundbreaking series, Breaking Bad. The show wrapped in 2013, but there is a strong possibility that we will see him back in a new incarnation of the show.
For Breaking Bad, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series four times (2008–2010, 2014), including three consecutive wins. After becoming one of the producers of Breaking Bad in 2011, he also won the award for Outstanding Drama Series twice.
There have been no shortage of roles since for Bryan Cranston, gracing the big and small screens and most prominently on the Broadway Stage playing Lyndon B. Johnson in the critically acclaimed play, All The Way. He won a Tony Award for that performance and will reprise his role in the upcoming HBO television film of the same name. He also spread his Broadway wings this year coming on board as a Producer on the hit musical Finding Neverland.
He’s now back on the big screen in Trumbo, where the 59-year old TV veteran plays Dalton Trumbo, a man who in 1947 was Hollywood’s top screenwriter until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.
Trumbo recounts how he won two Academy Awards and exposed the absurdity and injustice of the blacklist, which entangled everyone from gossip columnist Hedda Hopper to John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.
Cranston worked hard to get Trumbo’s mannerisms and nuances but says he never wanted to do an impersonation. When I spoke with him in September during the Toronto International Film Festival he said he didn’t know if he could actually “rat” on his friends. “Until you're actually in that situation, it's difficult to say how you would react. All I hope is that I would react noble and fight for what is right. At the time, Trumbo was perfect for that. He was the right person at the right time and he took a stand because it happened to him.
Could Cranston's performance in Trumbo garner him an Oscar nomination? Odds are he most likely will, but we'll have to wait until the Academy makes the big announcement in the new year.
I spoke with Bryan Cranston, Michael Stuhlbarg and director Jay Roach about working on Trumbo and how they connected with the material.