Bryan Cranston is like a chameleon made of honey, he can blend into any TV show and make it oddly sweeter as a result. Along with having a filmography longer than most actors Wikipedia pages, Cranston is one of the more versatile actors in Hollywood, something we can prove just by telling you the story of how he got the starring role on Breaking Bad.
Prior to kicking more ass than an abusive donkey farmer as Walter White and even before his role as Hal in Malcolm in the Middle, Cranston had a small role on an X-Files episode called, Drive. The episode required Cranston to play an anti-Semitic asshole whose head explodes because the government stuck a giant radio transmitter beneath his house. If that sounds stupid, congratulations, you’ve never seen an episode of The X-Files before. Also, how awesome does that plot sound? can we, like petition to bring this show back to air because of that plot alone?
Moving on, Cranston was specifically chosen for the role for his uncanny ability to make an unlikeable character somehow sympathetic. And let’s be honest, the only thing that could make anti-Semitic people more unlikeable is if their heads randomly exploded, ruining all furniture and clothing within a 40 foot radius. Despite playing a character with more character flaws than a stack of Twilight novels, Cranston was able to own the role hard enough that even the director stopped and said, “yeah, this guy is good“.
This small, almost embarrassing role would later come back to bolster Cranston’s career when the director of that particular episode, Vince Gilligan was pitching a little show called Breaking Bad. Originally when Gilligan suggested Cranston for the lead role, the big-wigs at AMC snorted and said, that guy?
In response Gilligan showed them The X-File’s episode in which Cranston head exploded while he screamed about how the government was inside his brain and they all agreed, yeah, that’s the guy we want on our show and we want to pay him millions of dollars. Hire him.
If it wasn’t for that tiny, but crucial role, it’s likely that Vince Gilligan would have never been able to show off Cranston’s range as an actor and sell AMC on the fact he was the guy who needed to play Walter White.
Byran Cranston in Breaking Bad