Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston says he was not worried about staying true to Philip K Dick’s original source material when adapting the legendary science fiction writer’s short stories for TV, telling the writers behind Electric Dreams to “change whatever you like”.
This Sunday sees the debut of Channel 4’s new sci-fi anthology series Electric Dreams, a series that takes Dick’s original works and re-works them into hour-long individual episodes.
Leading the charge is Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, who stars in the sixth of the current run of episodes (with four more coming next year) and also executive produced the whole shebang, with the actor revealing the logistical nightmare of the ambitious project in an interview in the latest edition of the Radio Times magazine.
“The logistics have been so challenging: ten writers, ten directors, ten casts, ten different locations, ten different designs…” Cranston say in the new issue. “It’s worse than having a baby – it’s like having triplets.”
Among the creative heavyweights adapting the stories were Battlestar Galactica and Outlander’s Ronald D Moore, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s Jack Thorne, Life on Mars’ Matthew Graham, Stranger Things’ Jessica Mecklenburg and The Night Manager’s David Farr, and Cranston says he gave them all the same advice – don’t feel constrained by what’s on the page.
“Use the original material as a springboard – change whatever you like,” Cranston explains. “Keep the core idea and the core theme, and enhance that to see how that affects a modern-day audience
“We didn’t want to tell them, ‘This is the story you’re doing,’ so we laid the stories out like a buffet. It was by their choice that we came up with the ten for this season.”
Given that the resulting episodes vary from telepathic cop drama and robotic film noir to post-societal heist dramas, we’d say Cranston got his wish – even if it does mean he was left with a few metaphorical creative nappies to change along the way.