Bryan Cranston on ‘Wakefield,’ his career and his hopes for President Trump

Katie Couric
Global Anchor

By Kaye Foley

Bryan Cranston tackles suburban family drama once again with his latest film, “Wakefield.” He plays a man who winds up hiding in the attic of his garage, watching his family through a window as they deal with the aftermath of his abandonment.

The Academy Award nominee and four-time Emmy winner sat down with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric to talk about the film, his career including “Breaking Bad,” President Trump and why he hopes his administration succeeds.

The movie, based on the 2008 E.L. Doctorow short story by the same name, follows Howard Wakefield as he chooses to vanish and step away from his responsibilities and family.

“You don’t want to stand in judgment of your character,” Cranston said on playing a role people may deem unlikable. “If you do have judgment of your character, you need to find a way to get to neutrality that you can build on a character in an honest way.”

Over the years, Cranston has taken on a wide variety of roles, from Hal in “Malcolm in the Middle” to President Lyndon B. Johnson in “All the Way” to Zordon in “Power Rangers.” When asked how he goes about picking his parts, Cranston joked, “I throw a dart.”

In actuality, Cranston says he has a system to help him pick projects. “I have been teased about this, but I came up with a matrix called CAPS. It’s the Cranston Assessment Project System.”

He said he takes into account the skill of the storytelling, how compelling the character is and the director involved.

“If I’m captivated by the story … if it resonates with me and stays with me, if I keep thinking about it, those are all good signs.” 

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Cranston also told Couric he doesn’t miss Walter White, his character in the award-winning AMC show “Breaking Bad,” which came to an end in 2013.

“Vince Gilligan crafted such a beautiful story that had such a compelling and complete beginning, middle and end that it didn’t make me want for more. It was so satisfying.” He added, “I’d rather look back on it like it was the perfect experience, the perfect time, beautiful storytelling, and be proud of that, as I am, and walk away and do other things.”

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Cranston was a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter during the 2016 election. When asked his feelings on the state of the country, he said, “One thing I can say is it’s not going to be boring.”

“The administration so far has been fraught with difficulty, and it’s been problematic. A couple wins for [President Trump] I think, and that’s fine, that’s good,” Cranston said, citing Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation as an example.

“I really hope … that we come together. There’s so much divisiveness now,” he said. “I think part of that has to do with a lack of being able to properly socialize.”

He also had some advice for President Trump. “You’re our president. I didn’t vote for you, but I am not trying to hurt you. I want you to be successful because if you are successful it means the country has succeeded,” he said. “So please listen to me, stop the tweeting. Stop the impulsivity. Be more introspective. Think about things. Take your time. There’s no rush to it.”

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“Wakefield” is in select theaters now and out on video on demand on May 27.