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Breaking Bad Show Creator Would Have Never Hired Bryan Cranston as Walter White Had He Known One Thing About the Actor’s Past

Despite initial skepticism about his casting, Cranston's portrayal of Walter White became iconic.

Breaking Bad Show Creator Would Have Never Hired Bryan Cranston as Walter White Had He Known One Thing About the Actor's Past


  • Bryan Cranston has showcased his talent in comedic and serious roles, with his most popular role being Walter White in Breaking Bad.
  • Playing Walter White changed Cranston's life and brought him immense success, earning him four Emmys.
  • Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, admitted that he wouldn't have cast Cranston if he only knew him from his comedic role in Malcolm in the Middle.

Bryan Cranston is one powerhouse performer who has shown his incredible acting chops in both movies and TV. His versatility is astounding as he can do comedic roles such as Hal in Malcolm in the Middle and serious dramatic performances in films like Drive, Argo, The Infiltrator, and Wakefield. But his turn as Walter White in Breaking Bad remains his most popular role.

Bryan Cranston in Malcolm in the Middle
Bryan Cranston in Malcolm in the Middle

Playing Walter White changed his life forever as his stardom and success reached new heights. He won four Emmys for his portrayal of the character in Breaking Bad. Vince Gilligan, the creator of the show once admitted that he wouldn’t have cast Cranston if he only knew him from Malcolm in the Middle. 

Also read: Watch Aaron Paul Break Down in Tears as He Goes Through a Painful Table Read for Breaking Bad with Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston’s Past Work With Vince Gilligan Secured him For Breaking Bad

Bryan Cranston as Walter White
Bryan Cranston as Walter White

Bryan Cranston became synonymous with the role of Walter White. He became an instant sensation as Breaking Bad became one of the shows that people around the world were fixated on. He received enormous praise, fame, and accolades for playing the role. According to Vince Gilligan, his past collaboration with Cranston secured him his role in the hit show.

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In an interview with NJ, Gilligan admitted that had he known Cranston only from his comedic role as Hal in Malcolm in the Middle, he probably wouldn’t have landed the part of Walter White. His experience working with Cranston in X-Files (before the sitcom) where he showed his dramatic chops stayed with him and later led him to cast Cranston in Breaking Bad. Gilligan said,

“I hate to say it, but if I’d only known him from Malcolm, I never would have thought of him. As great as he is on Malcolm, you don’t think in terms of drama when you’re watching a comedy, and vice versa. I was very fortunate to have worked with him on The X-Files, about 18 months before Malcolm went on the air.”

People were initially unsure of Cranston’s casting in a dramatic role after his stint in comedy. However, Gilligan’s sharp instinct paid off as Cranston’s Walter White became one of the most iconic TV characters of all time.

Also read: “He is a man who is kind”: Bryan Cranston Was Amazed With Director for Granting Him Equal Status With Tom Hanks and Scarlett Johansson


Bryan Cranston Says Walter White’s Relatability is The Factor For The Show’s Success

A still from Breaking Bad
A still from Breaking Bad

Bryan Cranston played Walter White in five seasons of Breaking Bad. The show has received numerous accolades and has been considered one of the best TV shows of all time. Fans continue to discover the show and champion its brilliance while also expressing their love for its characters.

Cranston reflected on his character and explained why the show has been such a huge success. He concluded that Walter White’s relatability as a character is the main factor for drawing sympathy from audiences, even though he does bad things. Cranston said on an episode of Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,

“I think people related to this guy. They empathized with it, with him to have a man who is trying to really instill enthusiasm in his, in his science, to nothing but a sea of apathy with his students, to having to have a second job for his special needs son’s care.

So, the teaching profession, the healthcare system, these were all part of it. And you felt for him, and he’s got terminal cancer. And this poor son of a gun is like oh, and then he and that was all by design, create the empathy.”

Cranston infused such vulnerability and complexity into the character that audiences understood why he did certain wrong things. He was not ‘breaking bad’ just for the sake of it, but he had a very strong motivation that was driven by his love for his family.

Also read: Bryan Cranston Wasn’t First Choice for Walter White: Godzilla Star Never Revealed Why He Turned Down Genre-Shattering Role


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Written by Rahul

Rahul Thokchom is a freelance writer who is passionate about creating content that is both informative and entertaining. An ambivert who likes to explore and discover new things everyday, he also loves movies and the world of stories and narratives that is both joyous as well as thought provoking.