Bryan Cranston may be best known as the nefarious Walter White aka Heisenberg from Breaking Bad, but prior to starring as a high school teacher turned drug kingpin he was a loveable and goofy father in the hit comedy series Malcolm in the Middle. In a talk with Entertainment Weekly, Cranston revealed discussions over a revival or reunion have become much more serious as Malcolm creator Linwood Boomer and the show’s cast consider the possibilities.
Malcolm in the Middle premiered in 2000 and ran for 7 seasons, following gifted child Malcolm and his family of delinquent siblings, oddball father Hal, played by Cranston, and extremely strict and overbearing mother Lois. Malcolm would often try to lead a normal life among his class of gifted and picked on geniuses while taking part in the numerous pranks and trouble-making his brothers would concoct, driving their parents insane. Starring alongside Cranston was Frankie Muniz as Malcolm, Jane Kaczmarek as Lois, Christopher Masterson as oldest sibling Francis, Justin Berfield as older sibling Reese and Erik Per Sullivan as the youngest family member Dewey.
“I love that show,” Cranston told EW. “To me, it was the comedic flip side to Breaking Bad because of the quality of the writing. Linwood Boomer is really considering it. And he said — just like [Breaking Bad creator] Vince Gilligan would say — if there was a great idea that everybody got excited about, he would really consider doing it. And we’re all onboard. All the actors said, ‘Well, we’d love to see each other again’, for those very same reasons. But I, too, want it to be a good reason. I don’t need a job. I don’t want to just be busy. But I love to work, and I would love to reunite with that cast and that crew, and tell those stories in that character again. To be able to slip into Hal again, at this age, all those years ago, [would be] phenomenal…. I’m thrilled at the prospect of it.”
When the series ended, Malcolm had gone off to Harvard working part-time as a janitor to pay for school, his older siblings were moving on with jobs while Dewey and their baby brother Jamie continued to cause trouble and Hal and Lois discovered they might be having yet another baby. “We started Malcolm in the Middle 23 years ago, so I’m kind of curious: Where are those characters now? What are they doing? How have their lives changed or stayed the same?” Cranston said of the possibilities the family could now face.
“If [Linwood] comes up with something really clever, he’ll be the first to know,” Cranston said. “Or he’ll say, ‘No, we just couldn’t come up with something that we really got excited about.’ And then I’ll just say, ‘Awww, too bad. Okay. I get it.’ I’d rather that be the case than to do something lame and just be like, “Oh, this is kind of a stupid story, but, you know…” So I know that that won’t happen. It will be something exciting — or nothing.”
Malcolm in the Middle was a huge success throughout its seven seasons, earning Cranston three Emmy nominations for his role as Hal. In fact, Sony Television and AMC were very hesitant in casting Cranston for Breaking Bad because they thought no one would be able to take him seriously as Walter White after starring as Hal for so long, especially as Hal would often forget his children’s (and Lois’) birthdays, get obsessed with strange hobbies like speed-walking, competing yard decorations with his neighbour or being as equally afraid of Lois’ wrath as the kids.
Despite that, Cranston was of course cast as Walt and went on to win four Emmys for his portrayal. Fun fan theories were even spawned that the series was actually a prequel to Malcolm in the Middle and would end with Walter going on the run or into witness protection and start a new family. These theories reached to the top with Vince Gilligan reuniting Cranston and Kaczmarek for an ‘alternate ending’ where, in a spoof on Newhart, Hal wakes up next to Lois and tells her of a terrible dream where he was a meth kingpin, quickly recounting many of the series’ most famous characters and moments.
Would you like to see a Malcolm in the Middle revival? What do you think Malcolm and his family would be up to now? Let us know on our social channels at @flickeringmyth…
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.