Bryan Cranston was weeks away from turning down Breaking Bad role

by WENN January 25th, 2021, 10:00 am


Bryan Cranston credits a little luck for his career-defining role in Breaking Bad as he would have had to turn the job down if his TV comedy Malcolm In The Middle was picked up for an eighth season.

The actor became an international star thanks to his role as teacher-turned-drug kingpin Walter White in the cult TV drama, but admits the part almost went to someone else, because he was almost tied to playing TV dad Hal.

Appearing on Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes' Smartless podcast, Cranston revealed he would have had to pass on the Breaking Bad pilot if an eighth season of Malcolm in the Middle was picked up in 2006.

"Fox said, 'Keep the sets up. We might do an eighth season of Malcolm In The Middle', and everyone was like, 'Yeah, that'd be great'.

"In late April and early May, they called…, and they said, 'Nope, we had a very good pilot season. Thank you guys, you did well. You're on your own'. So we thought, 'Ahh, that's too bad'.

"Later that month, I get the call to go see a guy called Vince Gilligan… 'He wants to see you about a new project called Breaking Bad'. I read it and I thought, 'Oh my God, this is amazing.' I met with him. He said, 'I want to turn Mr. Chips into Scarface and I think you're the guy to do it'. We shot the pilot in February and March of 2007.

"So had we got that eighth season of Malcolm In The Middle, I would not have been available to shoot that pilot and someone else would be talking to you. It is absolutely my belief, I dogmatically believe this, that a career in our business cannot be fully realized without a healthy dose of luck sprinkled throughout."