Bryan Cranston: 'Going back to Breaking Bad was an easy thing to do'
On The Radio Times Podcast, Bryan Cranston talks to Kelly-Anne Taylor about the new season of Your Honour and returning as Walter White in the final season of Better Call Saul.
Bryan Cranston's acclaimed drama series Your Honor is currently airing its second season on Paramount Plus, with this season finding his character Michael disbarred, disgraced and all but destroyed following the events of season 1.
However, he is offered a potential lifeline when a federal agent coerces him into a scheme to take down the Baxter family, giving him a chance at redemption.
With new episodes from season 2 releasing weekly, Cranston spoke with The Radio Times Podcast about how he chooses his roles, why he returned for Your Honour season 2 and what it was like reprising his most famous role of Walter White in the final season of Better Call Saul.
What’s the view from your sofa?
"It faces the television – much like everyone else. We watch TV in our family room, which has a fireplace. It’s very cosy, very comfortable. You come into the house, kick off your shoes and put your feet up on the coffee table. It’s homey and inviting."
What have you enjoyed watching recently on TV?
"The last series I watched was Better Call Saul [the acclaimed Breaking Bad spin-off]. I wanted to see this world and this story that was familiar, yet brand new and fresh to me. Aaron Paul and I told Vince Gilligan [the series’ creator] that if he ever wanted us to appear on the show, we’d definitely do it."
Despite being in Breaking Bad for five series, you were still keen to return to the franchise?
"It’s a fond memory – a romantic reminiscence. Breaking Bad changed my life – my occupation, my personal life, my financial security. Everything adjusted with that show. It was a phenomenally creative experience and I’m very proud of it. To go back and touch base with that show was an easy thing for me to want to do."
When did you first get the acting bug?
"I was born in Hollywood, raised in Los Angeles. My parents were actors so going to studios was part of my upbringing. Basically, I went into the family business. The life of an actor was not tremendously successful for my parents. My dad wanted to be a star and didn’t become a star, and that really affected him.
"My goal was to be a working actor, to pay my bills. To this day, my most cherished professional accomplishment is that since the age of 25, acting is all I’ve done for a living."
Have you chosen roles that offer financial security?
"If you have a strong foundation in your personal life, you have the liberty to be free in your creative decisions. If I were to overspend – which many actors do – I’d need to accept whatever role paid a good amount. I never want to be in the position where I have to make an artistic decision based on financial need.
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"I’d been without money my entire childhood. My family home was foreclosed on by the bank because we couldn’t pay our bills and we were kicked out. I know what it’s like not to have money and I have a great respect for it now. The more I save, the more I know I can stay acting – and, therefore, be able to pick and choose the things that I really want to do."
You’re returning as Michael Desiato, a judge who helps his son cover up a hit-and-run, in series two of Your Honor. What attracted you to the role?
"I’m a father – and the question that I would ask any parent is, 'What would you do to save the life of your child?' The universal answer, that crosses cultures, languages and borders, is, 'I would do anything to save the life of my child.'
"That’s the premise of Your Honor – my character willingly becomes a criminal because he truly believes that doing so is the only way to protect his child."
Did you have any second thoughts about returning to a show that had been such a hit, that it might not live up to the expectations of fans?
"When you’re proud of something you’ve done and it ends in a way that is appropriate, compelling, you [do want to] let it live on its own. And then when someone says, 'Can we open that back up, relive some of these elements and grow on it?', it can be an 'I don’t know [moment]'.
"You have to know when to walk away. I was willing not to do a second series, but Peter Moffat had an idea that I really responded to. The first series is about a man who loses his principles for what he thinks is the greater good. The second is about if there can be redemption of the soul.
"Can Michael find forgiveness for the lies and collateral damage that he’s perpetrated? Can he get some sense of honour back? No pun intended."
Your Honour season 2 is airing new episodes on Fridays on Paramount Plus. Get a seven-day free trial of Paramount Plus on Amazon Prime Video. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast today.
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