What You Don't Know About Bryan Cranston

Before taking on the alias Heisenberg and becoming one of television's greatest antiheroes, Bryan Cranston was known to many as the eccentric all-American dad Hal. The stark contrast between his characters on Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle have demonstrated the sheer amount of range Cranston carries as an actor, one which he has been honing for decades. 

Obviously, Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle aren't all Cranston is known for. According to IMDb, the actor has over 160 acting credits across his career, including roles in some iconic Hollywood films like Saving Private Ryan, Isle of Dogs, Drive, and Argo. He also received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in the 2015 biopic Trumbo, starring opposite Helen Mirren and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. 

There's obviously a lot more to the actor than meets the eye, other than just his iconic role as Walter White on Breaking Bad. So here's everything you need to know about Bryan Cranston.

Bryan Cranston inherited his love for acting from his father

Cranston found a passion for performing at a young age, one that he inherited from his father (via British GQ). However, it took a while for the star to get there. Before setting his sights on a career in acting, he had a lot of odd jobs including working as a supermarket security guard, a wedding officiant, a life guard, a dating consultant, and a house painter (via Esquire). 

Following in his older brother's footsteps, Bryan Cranston also considered a career in law enforcement. But following a two-year road trip with his brother, he had an epiphany. He realized "that a career is more than just something you may be good at; it's about pursuing something that you love to do," the actor said during a Q&A at the University of Virginia. "For me, that was the distinction." It was from there that Cranston dove headfirst into acting, eventually landing his first recurring role in the '80s soap opera Loving (via IMDb).

Cranston and his brother were murder suspects in the mid-1970s

Breaking Bad and Your Honor may have given Bryan Cranston some insight into the criminal world through a fictional setting, but the actor has had some unbelievable experiences with the law in real life, too.

During their road trip in the mid-70s, Cranston and his brother became murder suspects, as he told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show (via YouTube). While working an odd job at a Polynesian restaurant on Daytona Beach, Cranston described how its head chef was "miserable, mean, and would just shout and yell at you." This led to the waiters, which included the Cranston brothers, jokingly thinking up ways of killing him if they had the opportunity to vent their annoyance.

As it turns out, once Cranston and his brother left at the end of the season, the head chef was killed which resulted in the police putting an APB (all-points bulletin) out on the brothers, as their sudden departure fit the timeline of the murder. The police eventually found the murderer, but Cranston never really explained how he and his brother proved their innocence, as GQ notes.

He starred in two iconic '90s shows before Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle

Prior to his iconic roles as Walter White and Hal, Bryan Cranston was a familiar face on television, appearing in series like Loving, Raising Miranda, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. But it was his roles in Seinfeld and The X-Files that truly stuck out, demonstrating the immense amount of range that Cranston has as an actor.

Cranston left a lasting impression on the Seinfeld cast during his time on the show, especially in the episode where he puts Jerry under during a dental procedure. During rehearsals, one of the show's electricians suggested to Cranston that he should take a hit of the nitrous oxide before giving it to Jerry. So when it came to doing the actual scene, none of the cast knew that Cranston was going to do this. As the actor explained on Live with Kelly and Ryan, they ended up doing the scene 12 times in total because Jerry couldn't stop laughing. 

But it was his role in an episode of The X-Files that truly cemented his future career, because without that, Breaking Bad probably wouldn't have happened.

Breaking Bad wouldn't exist if it weren't for The X-Files

Why? Well, it's creator Vince Gilligan found his start on the sci-fi series. Gilligan wrote and directed a few episodes across its run, including the season six episode "Drive." Bryan Cranston was cast in this particular episode to play Patrick Crump, an unlikeable guy who takes Agent Mulder hostage and forces him to drive West above a certain speed otherwise his head will explode.

"The part was tricky because [the actor] needed to be this real scary, badass guy but at the end of the hour, you had to feel sorry for him when he died," Gilligan said on the WTF podcast with Marc Maron (via Business Insider). They eventually found and cast Cranston, who Gilligan immediately knew he wanted to work with again in the future. 

So when Walter White came along, Gilligan knew who he wanted to cast straightaway. "There was only one actor, as far as I'm concerned," the Breaking Bad creator said. "He's the whole package. He can do it all."

Cranston could potentially play Donald Trump in the near future

Bryan Cranston's already thinking about his next role — former President Donald Trump. After describing to the Los Angeles Times his penchant for damaged characters "that still have some level of humanity and decency within them," Trump seemed like a likely candidate. "I look at Donald Trump as this Shakespearean tragic character. What I said before about playing characters that are flawed? They have some measure of goodness. I believe everyone does. I know Donald Trump does."

Cranston explained, "I believed he loved the country. He was trying to accomplish certain things. The only problem is, I don't believe he loved the country more than himself." As for when exactly Cranston sees himself playing this role, he reckons it'll be in the next "five or ten years, let's see what that feels like."

If he does, it will be at least the second U.S. president he's brought to the screen. Cranston has already played one president in his career (on Broadway and on TV): Lyndon B. Johnson, in HBO's All the Way, for which he won a Screen Actors Guild award. In fact, Cranston spoke of Trump back in 2017, saying that he felt Johnson would "wish him success" while imparting some advice as well, "a cautionary tale" (via USA Today).