Breaking Bad: Walter White almost didn’t have that face!

Breaking Bad owes its immense success, among other things, to the mind-blowing performance of Bryan Cranston. The actor, however, was not the producers’ first choice to play Walter White.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Breaking Bad is Walter White’s transformation into Heisenberg. After years of working as a chemistry teacher, the protagonist of AMC’s flagship series takes a drastic career turn and goes into making crystal meth to keep his family out of poverty as he is battling terminal cancer.

His journey is undoubtedly one of the most captivating and compelling on the small screen, a powerful anti-hero arc that has remained in the memory of a captivated audience, marked forever. And Bryan Cranston’s flawless acting is the main reason for that, as proven by the actor’s four Emmys for his performance on the show. It is therefore impossible to imagine Breaking Bad without him. And yet…


The actor wasn’t AMC’s first choice to play the lead role. But it is all the same that of Vince Gilligan, the creator of the series, who proposes his name at the very beginning of the casting. However, the chain’s leaders are not at all convinced. “We all still had the image of Bryan shaving his body in Malcolm. We were like, ‘Really? Is there no one else?’”remembers one of them.

Yes, the role of Bryan Cranston in the cult comedy of the 2000s sticks to his skin and the leaders cannot imagine him in a register as serious as that of Breaking Bad. Their choice then fell on two renowned actors to whom the role was offered: John Cusack and Matthew Broderick. Both refuse…


Vince Gilligan, he is convinced to have found his headliner and insists. He worked with Bryan Cranston before, the time of an episode of X-Files, of which he was one of the writers, before becoming producer and executive producer of season 2 of the show until its first conclusion in 2002. For episode 2 of season 6 of the sci-fi series, the producers were looking for a particular actor to play Patrick Crump, a desperate man suffering from radiation exposure. “It was a difficult role to cast […]. We needed someone who could be dramatic and scary while having an underlying humanity so that when he dies you feel sorry for him”says Gilligan. “Bryan was a hit”.

The showrunner therefore decides to show this performance to the leaders of AMC who then discover the full potential of the actor and are finally convinced. And the rest is history.


breaking Bad later offered Bryan Cranston the kind of challenge and creative freedom he was looking for after years on a sitcom. “I wanted a change of pace, and that meant [jouer dans] a comedy or a drama, it would necessarily be different because I no longer needed the money”says the actor. “And I never wanted to be in a position where I had to make a creative decision based on my financial needs. I didn’t want a “job”. I never needed to work again”.

What if Walter White became… your pharmacist?

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