6:21am PT by Ashley Lee
Bryan Cranston on 'Breaking Bad': Walter White Was in 'Deep Depression' (Video)
Bryan Cranston is currently playing president Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way on Broadway, but is leaning on his years spent as meth master Walter White on Breaking Bad.
"There are similarities -- I think both had created and allowed the incredible drive and ambition to be unleashed," Cranston said on CBS This Morning in a segment that aired on Thursday. He noted that for White, the drive was, "'I want my family, it's for my family,' and for Lyndon Johnson, 'It's for the betterment of my country.'"
The AMC character will always be close to Cranston. "I related to this man -- I knew men like him who missed opportunities in their lives, but still became functioning, still loving to their family, still paying their bills, but there's something that died in their interior. They're putting one step in front of the other, [but] they're in deep depression.
"There are two basic ways it manifests: externally or internally," he continued, noting that White's depression was an internal one. "He went into a shell. He didn't care about his looks, he didn't care about his weight, his clothes, nothing mattered to him. He was invisible to himself and the world. The ironic diagnosis of terminal cancer: was his 'Get Out of Jail Free' card. It exploded his emotions, [and gave him the will] to live, even if it's for a short period of time. Those last two years of his life were full and exciting, and I don't think he would've traded it."
Cranston spoke on making his Broadway debut in the three-hour historical drama written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle). "It's wonderful to be able to feel the immediate response -- even subtle gasps, or push-backs when they're offended by something, you can feel it," he said.
For the role, he listened to hours of recorded phone conversations and wears earlobe extensions onstage, and admitted that last night, he asked the head of wardrobe to lower the rest of the cast's shoes by an inch. "He used his size and his girth to intimidate; he invaded their space."
After the production wraps at the Neil Simon Theatre on June 29, what is Cranston eyeing next? "Rest. I do, I need to rest. I go pretty hard at it," he sighed with relief. "I think I just want to relax for a while, let it rest and see."
Watch a clip of the interview below:
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