Feature

Cranston’s grim awakening

Bryan Cranston can recall the exact moment he became aware of his own mortality.

Bryan Cranston can recall the exact moment he became aware of his own mortality, said Tad Friend in The New Yorker. It was 1987, and the actor was walking to a doctor’s office in New York City to get treatment for a stomach bug. “I was turning the corner when I heard bam! blunk! aaah!” says the star of TV’s Breaking Bad. “I turn and see a man on the street, run over, blood on the ground, his eyes are turning up and his neck was”—Cranston crooks his neck sideways. “I put my hands under his head so it would be softer than the asphalt, and I could feel him gurgling. I was shouting, ‘Did anyone see the car?’ The doorman said, ‘Oh, that’s Mr. So-and-So. I knew he was depressed, but….’” Cranston followed the doorman’s gaze, and saw that the car next to him had a massive dent in its roof. “And I realized [he’d thrown] himself from an upper window. I was so delirious from illness that, as I watched him die, I felt it all as these sharp fragments, a bad editing job of my life. And I became angry at the man, and pulled back from him.” Cranston taps into that memory whenever he needs to portray a character in the depths of despair. “Every experience feeds an actor,” he says.

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