Cranston stars as Walter White, a cancer-ridden science teacher transforms himself into a sinister meth lord in the AMC drama. The series, which is based and filmed in Albuquerque, begins airing its final eight episodes on Aug. 11.
An elaborate metamorphosis is also behind the story of how Bryan Cranston became TV’s greatest leading man. GQ’s Brett Martin catches up with Cranston to find out how he was able to turn into Walter White — one of the most affecting, challenging characters in TV history — and how he’d like to see “Breaking Bad” end.
Below are some excerpts from the GQ interview:
Bryan Cranston on how he first envisioned Walter White:
“I actually thought of my father, how he stands hunched, burdened. We didn’t have Walt stand erect until he became Heisenberg. I said, ‘I want his mustache to look impotent. I want people to look at it and go, Why bother?’ I thought he should wear clothes that blend into the wall: beige, sand, taupe, khaki. His hair should be a mop. Nothing’s remarkable about this man.”
…on Walter White’s transformation:
“What happened to Walt is something I related to, if I’m truly honest with myself. I’ve come to realize that I think everybody is capable of that. If you came into a condition where you were under tremendous stress. And if I knew what buttons to push that threatened you and yours… You could become an extremely dangerous person.”
…on how he’d like to see Breaking Bad end:
“I had notions. Like, ‘What if he created this toxic world around him and, because of his actions, everybody he loved died and he had to stay alive?’ But then I’d think, ‘He’s wrought so much, he has to die. Doesn’t he?’ But if he dies, what does he die of? Maybe he dies of cancer. After all this other danger! But my true answer of how I wanted it to end, my honest answer, is this: however Vince Gilligan wants it to end.”
…on his inspirations for the show’s ending:
“I keep coming back to M*A*S*H. From the first episode, these people sit around and say, ‘All I want to do is go home.’ So of course they all get to go home in the final episode. Sometimes the best moment in a TV show is an unpredictable moment, but sometimes it’s actually being predictable.”