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September 18, 2014

Bryan Cranston Dishes on 'Breaking Bad' Season 3

by Andrew Scott, posted Mar 19th 2010 1:00PM
Bryan CranstonHe's already won two consecutive Emmys for his critically acclaimed performance on 'Breaking Bad,' and beginning this Sunday, Bryan Cranston will be gunning for his third.

Cranston plays Walter White on the AMC series, a terminally ill chemistry teacher who turns to drug-dealing to leave money behind for his family.

In two seasons, things have gone from good, to bad, to worse. But just how bad will things get for Walt this season (premiering Sun., Mar. 21 at 10PM)? This week, Cranston chatted exclusively with AOL TV to get the full scoop on season 3.

Read our full interview after the jump.Bryan CranstonHe's already won two consecutive Emmys for his critically acclaimed performance on 'Breaking Bad,' and beginning this Sunday, Bryan Cranston will be gunning for his third.

Cranston plays Walter White on the AMC series, a terminally ill chemistry teacher who turns to drug-dealing to leave money behind for his family.

In two seasons, things have gone from good, to bad, to worse. But just how bad will things get for Walt this season (premiering Sun., Mar. 21 at 10PM)? This week, Cranston chatted exclusively with AOL TV to get the full scoop on season 3.

Read our full interview below:


Walt pretty much hit rock bottom at the end of last season. Moving into season 3, are things going to get better or worse for him? I'm guessing much worse.

[Laughs] Yeah, you know the show. Just when you think he's trying to come out of it ... The writers are so brilliantly weaving the storylines around so that just as one question is answered, two or three more are popping up. So, you don't seem to have much rest and that's the way 'Breaking Bad' seems to have started and I don't see it changing at all, certainly not in this third season.

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Walt's marriage to Skyler (Anna Gunn) is also in a rut. Can it be salvaged, or are they headed toward divorce?

I think anything is possible. Walt has damaged the integrity of the relationship. He's hoping that it hasn't been permanently damaged, but it's hard to say. I mean, I guess there's always hope, but it's looking pretty bad right now. With the occurrences in the third season, it goes from bad to worse, and then a little hopeful; it's like spinning. And then it's like, "Where does it go? Where is it going?" and then it spins into another place altogether. It's really interesting how it's interwoven.

Skyler has sort of figured out what's going on with Walt, and I feel like more characters are about to catch on this season, like Hank (Dean Norris). How big of a role does he play in season 3?

Very big. He has a very, very important, integral part to the show and just seems that he applies the pressure from a legal standpoint, which is always important in a show that involves crime. He puts on the pressure there. He comes very close. At one time he's literally within inches of Heisenberg. It's very interesting how I narrowly escape capture from him and then I wonder if I really did. Then he goes back. It's palm-scratching. You get nervous watching it.

Walt is becoming more of a bad-ass with each episode. Will we see more of that personality develop this season?

Yeah, yeah. The so-called "bad-ass" personality is a trait within that line of work. If you don't develop that, you're going to be taken advantage of, picked on, bullied, pushed down or killed or something. You have to stake your claim and be aggressive about it, and that's the one thing that Walt has learned. There was a huge learning curve for him coming out of academia where everything made sense, everything was orderly and now all of the sudden, it's all thrown up in the air. It's run by people who are criminals themselves, crooks and drug-users, liars, thieves and murderers. There is some chaotic rule to it, but he's not aware of it. He's got to learn this and so we find that he's starting to learn this. In season 3, he really starts to realize that he needs to embrace who he is and the dark sides of his personality in order to survive.

Do you see him taking over the drug world?
Well, what's really interesting ... is that he was sort of operating out of a bubble. He was just making his product the best he can, trying to get the best price and sell it. I don't think he even thought of how that affects anyone else. The cartel is not happy with him at all, and that plays a big part in this season as well. He's stepping on toes that he wasn't aware of.

Aaron PaulThe last time we saw Jesse (Aaron Paul), he was in rehab. How will that change his relationship with Walt?
What's interesting is that the entire premise of 'Breaking Bad' is that change is inevitable. In fact, that's what I teach in that opening pilot episode. Walt says, "I like to think of chemistry as the study of change, because things change when you put two chemicals together." That's what happens here. He's changing from that guy we saw years ago to someone completely different. I say it that way, because I don't exactly know who that guy is going to become. I can't put a label on him, because I don't really know how to play him yet, because I haven't seen him yet; he's ever-changing. It's an odd situation, and then, of course, that has an effect on how Jesse and I relate to each other. I think Walt feels ... despite himself, he has an affinity for the boy in a paternal sense. I think [if] Jesse has in his heart of hearts, he would have the same feeling that Walt has become a father figure to him, especially because his own father has rebuffed him.

I spoke with Anna Gunn a few weeks ago and she said there were going to be more flashbacks this season. How will they play out?
I think in any good story, you're in the present most of the time and then you can move forward and think about the future for any character, but also you need to reflect back to give the audience some basis to form their opinions of characters -- why we like them. ... If you're only seeing angst and contentiousness between them, I think any audience would say, "Eh, I'm not that interested in them being together anymore." But, if we give them backstory of when things were good and when things were together, when we were a union and in love, then we have given the audience a chance to say, "I see, that's why they were originally together. I get it." You are hopefully subliminally thinking that "I hope they get back to that place."

I know that you directed the first episode this season. Do you have plans to direct more episodes in the future?
I don't have any plans right now. I could, but I'm limited to directing when we're not in production. As an actor on the show, I need to be in production and available to act in any given scene. How we do it is that [when] episode 3 is in production, shooting, the director of episode 4 is prepping. Once 3 is done, 4 starts and then the director of episode 5 is prepping. I don't have that luxury; I can't prep and act at the same time. It's impossible. The only time I can direct is when we're not in production, and that has always been the first episode, when we're not quite in production yet.

Bryan CranstonWill there be any new characters introduced this season?
There are two guys who will become very, very important to the story this season, and that's Lewis and Danny Machado. They're brothers and they are dispatched from a country south of us, let's just say, and they want to find some people and they have a score to settle. It creates a tremendous amount of tension.

This is a silly question, but do you miss having hair?
I have hair now. It's about a five-week growth, six-week growth, something like that. I like it for the show, because it's really appropriate [for] going through the chemotherapy, and also Walt discovering that he was able to intimidate people. The look has a good deal amount of credit when it comes to intimidation ... Even though his oncologist said his hair would grow back and he'd be able to put some weight on again, he shaves his head and he has a very specific reason why he does that: for the intimidation factor.

I've read that there will be a mix of live-action and CGI in your new movie, Pixar's 'John Carter of Mars.' Can you tell us anything about that?
Only that the story takes place in Civil War America and Mars, and everything that your imagination can conjure up, that's going to be in the movie. It's a great, great experience for me. I'm enjoying it. Andrew Stanton, who is our director and writer, he's a great guy and a visionary really and he's enjoying himself. Taylor Kitsch is a terrific young actor, and I've had a good time so far. I've got a few more weeks to go and I'm looking forward to it.

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