Detachment, the latest film from American History X director Tony Kaye, may have gotten generally mixed reviews, but the intense movie has certainly provoked discussion of not only on the film but on the American education system. While I liked a lot of what the movie offered, as a former teacher I thought that it fell for the typical flaws that all “teacher movies” have.
Curiously, among the film’s detractors is Bryan Cranston, who has a small role in the film. While speaking to reporters on the set of his upcoming film Get a Job, a reporter from HitFix asked Cranston about Detachment and Cranston expressed surprise that the interviewer liked the film, revealing, “I haven’t seen it. I’m surprised to hear that [you liked the film] actually.”
That’s quite a statement for an actor to make, so he was ask to elaborate. Cranston explained he was disappointed “Because I felt that Carl Lund, the writer of Detachment, wrote a really beautiful, haunting script. And I didn’t feel that it was honored.”
Cranston’s ire was aimed at Kaye, a director who famously had issues working with Ed Norton during the production of American History X (though reportedly Ed Norton isn’t known for being easy to work with, either). Cranston added, “I don’t believe that I’ll be working with him again. I didn’t not get along with him on a personal level. But I just honor the writing. I really think that writing is the most important element there is. It is the springboard. It is where everything starts. And if you don’t honor that — which I didn’t feel it was — then where are you?” Afterward, Cranston continued, “And I’m not the only actor on that film to feel that way.”
So while Cranston didn’t see the film because of his disagreements with Kaye, he does take some solace in the fact that people liked the film, admitting, “If it turned out good, I’m happy for that, I just don’t want to do a movie just to do a movie. I want to be able to look back on everything that I’ve done and be proud. It doesn’t mean it has to be a box-office hit, and it doesn’t have to be lauded by every critic.”
That’s some strong words in an industry where people usually bend over backward to praise each other. Then again, this is Tony Kaye we’re talking about, who was so unhappy with Norton’s cut of American History X that he tried to change his credit to Humpty Dumpty. No, really.