Bryan Cranston


  1. Tim Daly, Wings, TV, 1990-1997.      Cranston’s day would come – in another nine years… with the brilliant Breaking Badseries. 2008-2013. Nick Cassavetes, Kevin Conroy, Daniel Stern and the inevitable unknown, Boyd Gaines, also auditioned for Joe Montgomery Hackett, one of two brothers running a private airline out of Nantucket, surrounded by much wackiness –  so-called. (The series creator, David Angell, and his wife were killed  on 9/11 when their American Airlines flight #11, was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center).
  2. Judge Rheinhold, The Santa Clause, 1994.   For the new (shrink) husband of Tim Allen’s ex-wife, Disney looked at Rheinhold, Cranston, Warren Beatty, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Peter MacNicol, Stanley Tucci, Bradley Whitford  – and the inevitable unknown, Lance Kinsey, out of Chicago’s Second City troupe and the Police Academyfarces. Joe Dante, Richard Donner, even Steven Spielberg were Disney’s dream wishes to direct.
  3. Steve Martin, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, 2002.  “A pretty grim experience all around –  longest year and a half of my life.”  Director Joe Dante refusing to say anymore about how his planned tribute to his late friend, toon ikon Chuck Jones, ended up a mess. Then again, when the suits approve Timothy Dalton  over Cranston, Alec Baldwin, Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones and  Kevin Spacey for Damien Drake,  you know you’re in trouble.
  4. Brendan Fraser, Furry Vengeance, 2009.  Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Bryan Cranston, Will Ferrell, even down-market Jeremy Piven walked away from the alleged “comedy”.  As dumb as Fraser’s earlier George of the Jungle.  (They helped ruin his A List career).  Not much of a comeback for Brooke Shield, either – as his wife. USA Today critic Claudia Puig did not mince her words. “A slapstick stinker, easily the worst movie of the year…  a slight to true environmentalists and, heck, even an affront to animals.” Fraser is ashamed of the  film. (Only this one). 
  5. Kevin Bacon, X-Men: First Class, 2010.   Once Cranston broke bad and split for Nicolas Winding Refn’s  Drive, Dr. Klaus Schmidt (hiding his Nazi past as   Sebastian Shaw) became a battle between  Bacon and Colin Firth. Bacon poved better at menace but Firth really won – being chosen for Galahad aka Mr De Vere aka Harry Hart by the same director, Matthew Vaughn, in 2013 for his comicbook franchise: Kingsman.
  6. Robert Patrick, The Gangster Squad, 2011.   The City v Public Enemy #1, circa ’49. Apart from Sean Penn’s uproarious make-up  as Mickey Cohen (befitting his worst rôle), we’d seen it all before. Only better. First cast as the LAPD’s sharpshooter,  Max Kennard, Cranston had to pass his weapons  to Patrick due to his (far better) movie, Ben Affleck’s Argo.  
  7. David Morse, World War Z, 2012.  After beating Leonardo DiCaprio to the rights, Brad Pitt found two of his co-stars jumping the zombie ship – the too  busy Cranston and Ed Harris. Obviously, ’cos The Boss had the best role. Pitt chose director Marc Fortster  but they were not talking by the end, Based on a book by Max Brooks.  a Saturday Night Live  writer and son of Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks .. who also started ouit writing TV comedy.
  8. Bruce Dern, Nebraska, 2012.      Excepting Clooney and Nicholson, Nebraskan director Alexander Payne  had  a phobia about  (some say, an hostility towards) casting stars. Not this time… While flirting with Cranston (his audition was not right; nor was his age), and  the two Roberts (Duvall and Forster), Payne was really wooing Gene Hackman back into movies – the perfect crotchety alcoholic who thinks he’s won a sweepstake.  But no, retired is what it said!  Dern was voted the 2013 Cannes festival  Best Actor  by Steven Spielberg’s jury.

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  8