If there is anything like a universal father in contemporary American fiction, it is Bryan Cranston. Your Honor, Showtime miniseries that can be seen in Spain through Movistar +, has shown it again. It will be those marble features, conscientiously sculpted by time, or the protective instinct that seems to appear in his eyes, but the truth is that the directors, screenwriters and directors of casting who believe they perceive patriarchal qualities in the 65-year-old Californian actor.
Born in Hollywood and raised a few miles from there, in the Los Angeles district of Canoga Park, he is the son of a radio actress and an eventual actor who also dedicated himself to boxing. As soon as he completed his studies, after a short and lucid youth career as a stage actor, Cranston worked as a night watchman, waiter, transporter or set builder. He even became a priest of an agnostic cult, the Church of Universal Life, to earn extra money by celebrating weddings at 150 dollars (83 euros) the ceremony.
After that somewhat eventful stage in his life, when he was already in his thirties, he finally achieved a certain continuity as a voice actor, especially in Japanese b-series films for a modest local distributor, Manga Entertainment. Soon they also began to offer him secondary roles with or without a phrase in productions such as the parodic comedy Amazon on the moon, directed, among others, by Joe Dante. By then Cranston had curly hair, a sergeant’s mustache, and was slightly overweight. If there was something he did not have, it is the look of a gallant to use and, also, he was a bit soft to play a villain. In spite of everything, he made a niche as a troupe in television productions of very diverse hair, of Falcon Crest a Hill Street sad song going through the homicidal delusion of white glove It has written a crime. He even managed to get himself a role of certain brilliance in the cinema, like that of the astronaut Gus Grissom in The Wonders, led by Tom Hanks.
The turning point in a dignified career but that had not quite started came to him, after the age of 40, with Malcolm in the Middlea wildly crazed family comedy with a festive and somewhat gritty cynicism in which Cranston put himself in the shoes of a courageous father for the first time. The Fox series chronicled the formative years of a gifted teenager, the Malcolm of the title, immersed in a frankly chaotic human ecosystem in which almost the only island of sanity was Cranston’s father. Since then, the Californian’s career has been almost a monoculture focused on exploring the virtues of responsible parenthood. In the last couple of decades, he has put himself time and again in the shoes of men who suffer for their children, wolf fathers who nurse and protect their cubs and, ultimately, are willing to kill for them if circumstances do so. they demand.
After all, his greatest success as a performer, the superlative Breaking Bad, one of the best series on contemporary television, is still the story of a model father who gets into a monumental garden so that his children do not end up destitute. In the last year, he has again incurred paternity by slaughter with the aforementioned Your Honor, in which Cranston plays a New Orleans judge who is forced to break the law to get his teenage son’s chestnuts out of the fire. Even in Trumbo, biopic somewhat bland of the writer victim of the witch hunt, the most substantial was the relationship between Cranston and his daughter in fiction, Elle Fanning. And in the splendid Drive, his character was the closest thing to a father figure that the laconic and righteous hero played by Ryan Gosling had in life.
The fact is that Cranston had a troubled relationship with his own father, an Austrian Jew who emigrated to the United States who left the family home when he was 11 years old. A decade later, as adults, Bryan and his brother decided to locate the absent father and endeavored to maintain a parent-child relationship with him that never fully worked. The actor admits that he was based on that bitter and melancholic father to create Walter White of Breaking Bad: “I always saw him as a man defeated by life, who seemed to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.”
In real life, Bryan has only had one daughter, Taylor Dearden Cranston, born in 1993 from his marriage to actress Robin Dearden. Taylor has followed in the footsteps of her parents. Although her most prominent role to date as an adult actress has been that of the protagonist of the MTV series Sweet/Vicious, had already debuted with his father in 2010, at just 16 years old, in No more, the inaugural chapter of the third season of Breaking Bad. Two years later, father and daughter also participated in a campaign in favor of equal marriage, one of many progressive causes in which the veteran actor has been enlisted in recent years. At this point in the film, and after having taken his paternal characters to unprecedented levels of entanglement, tragedy and tenderness, Cranston begins to resign himself to this phase of his career, as can be deduced from this statement in a recent interview: “I guess that they will stop offering me roles as a father as soon as they realize that I am old enough to be a grandfather ”.
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