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Bryan Cranston Completely Changed Shannon's Death From Drive's Original Script

For any movie lover who enjoys listening to actors talk about acting, GQ's ongoing YouTube series where stars break down their most iconic roles is quite possibly the best thing on the entire internet. After all, where else are you gonna hear everyone from Paul Rudd and Pedro Pascal to Michelle Yeoh and Bill Hader wax poetic on the roles that helped make them famous?

The latest Hollywood heavyweight to chat about his biggest roles for GQ is the one and only Bryan Cranston. Much of Cranston's segment is, understandably, dedicated the role of Walter White from "Breaking Bad." The actor dropped a few fascinating nuggets about the character and the series, which netted him an armful of Emmy statues for outstanding lead actor. Cranston did, however, spend just as much time talking about his oft-overlooked role in the 2011 hit "Drive."

Cranston plays the chatty, largely well-intentioned garage owner Shannon in the film, essentially serving as a handler for Ryan Gosling's stoic wheelman. Some might even argue that the actor delivers one of the strongest turns of his career in the supporting role. If you've seen "Drive," you know that Shannon pays a heavy price for protecting Gosling's aptly-named Driver late in the action, meeting a brutal end at the hands of his mob-connected business partner Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks). It turns out that Cranston is the reason why Shannon's grisly death went down the way it did. 

Cranston claims the Drive change came to him in a dream

Bryan Cranston spoke candidly for GQ about what he brought to the character in "Drive," even claiming he was actually the architect of Shannon's artery-severing exit from the proceedings. In fact, the actor said his idea for Shannon's death was so good that it led "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn to completely change what was written in the screenplay. 

According to Cranston, as originally written, Bernie Rose kills Shannon by violently choking him to death with a garroting wire. But that didn't feel right for Cranston, particularly as the characters' relationship seemed to dictate something less aggressive. Though the scene continued to bother him, Cranston initially decided to let it go and play Shannon's death as scripted. But that changed when he woke up one night after literally dreaming up the perfect end for his character.

As Cranston notes, his new concept centered on a seemingly truce-making handshake between Shannon and Bernie turning into a brutal, yet oddly tender murder via straight blade razor. Cranston pitched the idea to Refn, whom the actor claims responded in no uncertain terms, "We're gonna do that. That's going in the movie." The rest as they say, is history, with Shannon's death scene ranking as one of the most memorable in a film boasting no particular shortage of memorable kills. And it seems we have Bryan Cranston to thank for making the moment happen.