After the massive critical and rating success of Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston could probably do whatever he wanted once he hung up Walter White’s porkpie hat. So many were surprised that Cranston’s next move was to make his Broadway debut portraying President Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way after a sold-out run at the American Repertory Theater in Massachusetts. He spoke to Rolling Stone about the role, the difference between acting on stage and on television, and whether or not we’ll see Walter White again.
On why he decided on starring in a play as President Johnson, Cranston says, “I was searching for something that would resonate with people. It had to be entertaining, of course, but it also had to have some meaning beyond the words. I found a lot of layers in this show.”
When asked what type of roles he is looking for in his career at this moment, he responds, “Interesting and challenging ones. The most important thing for me, which was the case with Breaking Bad, is the story and the writing. In this case, the story of LBJ is so epic. It’s enormous and wonderful and all encompassing and there is no way that you can “sort of” do it – you have to really dive into this situation that he was in. You need to wallow in his highs and his lows.”
Naturally, the experience of doing a play is much different for an actor than starring in a television series — even one as wildly popular as Breaking Bad. Cranston points out, “There’s more immediate reward on this stage then there was on the Breaking Bad set. You’re in the moment. You can say something and then hear an audience gasp or just hear them feel a sentence. Or laugh. It’s very powerful. With television and film, it’s different. It’s fun too but you have to wait a long time for that indulgence.”
While Breaking Bad is finished, a spinoff series Better Call Saul is in the works. Will Cranston make a return appearance as Walter White on the series? He confesses, “I have no idea. Possibly? I’d be open to it for sure! It’d be fun to go back into the New Mexico desert and play with all my old friends.”