September 25, 2018
"You have to be able to open up the cavity of your emotional war chest and be able to … willing pull out whatever emotions necessary," Cranston explained of his approach to acting.
The ‘Breaking Bad’ scene that still makes Bryan Cranston tear up
Emmy-winning actor Bryan Cranston is revealing the secrets to his acting success.
“You have to be able to open up the cavity of your emotional war chest and be able to … willingly pull out whatever emotions necessary.” the “Breaking Bad” actor said at the Tribeca TV Festival on Saturday. “Even if it makes you look ugly, if it makes you vulnerable, jealousy, rage, envy, insanity, anger — the ability to feel like you could kill someone. I went through a lot of those things and little did I know, I was developing ammunition for acting because I developed a great sense of material to be able to go to.”
One moment, in particular, came to mind for Cranston when his emotions got the best of him.
During a pivotal scene in “Breaking Bad,” where his character Walter White watches Jesse Pinkman’s drug-addicted girlfriend die by choking on her own vomit, Cranston blurred the lines between acting and reality.
“All of a sudden Krysten Ritter, who is doing a lovely, wonderful job acting her heart out off-screen, and there she is coughing on the mushroom soup … and she’s choking on this, and sure enough … a split second later her face lost all characteristics,” he said. “Any noticeable feature of her face, it just kind of blended into just nothingness and out of that came the face of my real daughter, choking to death.”
Cranston’s eyes welled up with tears as he continued, “That’s when, I, even as I say it now I get a little choked up about it because you know, as a parent that’s the only thing that scares me, so that’s the risk — There’s my daughter choking to death and it scared the hell out of me and everybody else was like, ‘Oh my God, that was great’ and I’m a weeping mess.”
While the experience was emotionally painful, Cranston explained that the acting technique was a success.
“That takes its toll on you, emotionally, physically, every which way. But in the end, you go, ‘This is what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to replicate real life and honesty,’ so that’s the risk that we take.”


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