Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Breaking Bad: Bryan Cranston Only Needed One 'Audition' To Get Walter White

Vince Gilligan's daring drama "Breaking Bad" gave Bryan Cranston the perfect opportunity to redefine himself as an actor. Previously known for his comedic work as Hal Wilkerson on the hilarious family sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle," his role as the criminal mastermind Walter White showcases his exceptional dramatic talents. Such a stunning change stemmed from a particularly interesting audition, where Cranston secured the part after just one intensive meeting with Gilligan.

Soon after reading the script for "Breaking Bad," Cranston took the initiative to secure an earlier meeting with Gilligan to ensure he was the one to bring this distinctive character to life. With Esquire, the Emmy-winning actor broke down the historic moment, "I asked my agents to move up the interview, which was originally scheduled for a week's time. I knew once actors started reading this, they were going to be all over it, and I wanted to get in there early and try to convince Vince that I was the guy." The riveting transformation from a meek chemistry teacher to a formidable meth lord would certainly entice any actor, leading Cranston to act with haste. After nearly losing him in the role to more "Malcolm in the Middle," it's no surprise to see how fast the esteemed performer acted. 

He continued revealing the unforgettable talk with Gilligan that ultimately landed him the singular role as Walt and his evil alter-ego Heisenberg. 

Bryan Cranston had some early and masterful insights

Bryan Cranston was extremely meticulous about the way Walt should appear, similar to his obsessive on-screen counterpart. He had a certain vision in mind that truly resonated with Vince Gilligan, which led their twenty-minute meeting to quickly become an extensive hour-and-a-half chat about Walt's mindset in the pilot episode. Cranston discussed Walt's defeatism and invisibility at length, which was the crux of his dark descent into crime. 

Cranston expertly honed in on the specifics of Walt's physicality (which also reflects his inner turmoil) to develop the character, as he told Esquire, "How he would be a little overweight at the start, his hair needs a cut, his clothes are the same color as the walls. He was just an invisible man, to himself and to society. That conversation with Vince was the only audition I had, and after it, he became my champion to get the role." Cranston put an enormous amount of thought into every intricate detail, including his whimpering mustache, which demonstrates his unparalleled dedication. 

By targeting Walt's ability to blend in with his surroundings, Cranston also highlighted the critical reason that allows Heisenberg to exist for so long. This level of thoughtfulness made sense for the character's trajectory and showed Gilligan how serious Cranston was, which made him absolutely perfect for the role.