Wisdom from Bryan Cranston
I was driving around on Sunday night and heard an interview with Bryan Cranston on "60 Minutes." If you watched "Malcolm in the Middle" in the early 2000s, you remember Bryan as Hal, the hapless sitcom dad. If you were a "Breaking Bad" fan, you'll identify him as Walter White (aka Heisenberg). (According the Bryan, the common link between the two characters was their appearance in their underwear of choice: tights whities. "Hal," he says, "is just a big kid." Walter, though, is "pathetic.")
Cranston is known for his meticulous process in picking is acting parts. After his stint as Hal, he struggled with getting typecast as the goofball dad. It all changed when "Malcolm" got cancelled in 2006. Cranston talked about how much he loved the show, how much fun they had and how disappointed the cast was when it went off the air. But it was only BECAUSE that show was cancelled, that Bryan was available for what some call his breakthrough role on "Breaking Bad." The rest, they say, is history.
Yes. Life will inevitably cancel your show. The project that you've loved and cherished for seven years. The place where you experienced success, honed your craft, developed rich friendships. And if we're not careful, we'll settled into our comfortable sitcoms, unaware that a groundbreaking opportunity is hiding behind the only horizon we can see. No, "Breaking Bad" isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it opened Bryan up to a new tribe and next generation of viewers.
In one season of his art and career, he got to help us laugh. In another, he pushes us into questions of character, worth and what it means to be human. One season had to end before the next could begin.
My guess is, you know what it's like to have your show cancelled. I know I do. But it doesn't have to spell the death of anything other than a good run on a great opportunity that has simply run it's course. So, when the network calls wraps on your endeavor, throw a party with the cast and starting signing up for auditions. Greatness awaits.