The sitcom Malcolm in the Middle nearly stopped Bryan Cranston starring in Breaking Bad, according to the actor.
Breaking Bad is thought of as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, TV shows of all time, with Bryan Cranston’s iconic performance as Walter White a big part of that.
However, he might not have been able to take the part if his old show Malcolm in the Middle had gone ahead for another season. Speaking to Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes on their Smartless podcast, Cranston said:
“[In 2006] Fox said, ‘Keep the sets up. We might do an eighth season of Malcolm in the Middle.’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeahhh that’d be great.’ In late April and early May, they called, when the upfronts are going on, they said, ‘Nope, we had a very good pilot season. Thank you guys, you did well. You’re on your own.’ So we thought, ‘Ahh, that’s too bad.’ Later that month, I get the call to go see a guy called Vince Gilligan. ‘Do you remember him from X-Files?’ ‘Kinda.’ ‘He wants to see you about a new project called Breaking Bad.’ I read it and I thought, ‘Oh my god this is amazing.’ I met with him. He said, ‘I want to turn Mr. Chips into Scarface and I think you’re the guy to do it.’ We shot the [Breaking Bad] pilot in February and March of 2007. So had we got that eighth season of Malcolm in the Middle, I would not have been available to shoot that pilot and someone else would be talking to you. It is absolutely my belief, I dogmatically believe this, that a career in our business cannot be fully realized without a healthy dose of luck sprinkled throughout.”
What a huge slice of luck that was! It’s hard to imagine anyone else in the part, that’s for sure. Cranston certainly took advantage of the opportunity, picking up countless awards and becoming part of a series that is adored the world over.