Bryan Cranston on Live Theatre, Playing LBJ, and Making His Broadway Debut in ALL THE WAY
Coming off back to back SAG and Golden Globe honors and following a successful run at The American Repertory Theatre, Bryan Cranston will make his Broadway debut this March in All The Way, playing former president Lyndon B. Johnson. Cranston spoke to Rolling Stone about how he prepared for the role, the challenges of Live Theatre, and his Breaking Bad fame.
"I read a lot about [Johnson] and visited the LBJ Presidential Library in Texas a few times," Cranston told Rolling Stone. "There was a letter that Jackie Kennedy had written to him for taking the time to send condolences to her family after their loss. Things like that show a lot of character. I also talked to people who had known him well. I got a lot of insight. But I didn't rely on that entirely."
Cranston said he was drawn to the script becase of the strength of the writing and Johnson's multifaceted personality. "The story of LBJ is so epic," he said. "It's enormous and wonderful and all encompassing and there is no way that you can 'sort of' do it - you have to really dive into this situation that he was in. You need to wallow in his highs and his lows." Cranston also noted that while he's been offered plays before, he was drawn to this script because it had a deeper message he thought would resonate with audiences.
Cranston discussed the sense of immediate gratification that comes with Live Theatre. "You're in the moment.," he said. "You can say something and then hear an audience gasp or just hear them feel a sentence. Or laugh. It's very powerful. With television and film, it's different. It's fun too but you have to wait a long time for that indulgence."
Cranston also talked about the recently announced Breaking Bad spinoff prequel, Better Call Saul, which "centers on Bob Odenkirk's sleazy criminal lawyer Saul Goodman before his involvement with Walter White's meth empire", according to another Rolling Stone article. When asked whether he might make an cameo appearance, Cranston said "I have no idea. Possibly? I'd be open to it for sure! It'd be fun to go back into the New Mexico desert and play with all my old friends."
For now, though, Cranston will be spending most of his time in New York as preparations for All The Way ramp up. All The Way moves through former president Lyndon B. Johnson's term in in the White House following John F. Kennedy's assasination in 1963. The play, which premiered in 2012 at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, previously enjoyed a highly successful run at The American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts and explores the world of a man suddenly thrust into the presidency during one of the most politically vitriolic eras in American history.
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