As if starting with the pilot and re-watching all 54 episodes -- as I'm currently doing and which I highly recommend -- weren’t enough to build anticipation for the final season of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” the show’s star Bryan Cranston dropped a few anecdotal bombs about the beloved show, and about himself, in the new issue of GQ.
For the August issue of the men's mag, writer Brett Martin embarked on a quest to distinguish the personas of Cranston, 57, and his character, Walter White, before the beginning of the end (which airs on AMC Aug. 11), only to find that he and his on-screen self have nearly parallel lives -- that is, except for the cancer and being the kingpin known as the Heisenberg of methamphetamine.
But before we get into the psyche that is Cranston's, we wanted to share some of the cryptic things show creator Vince Gilligan said about how "Breaking Bad" will end. All we know, so far, is that it could end in a very predictable manner.
Gilligan told GQ of his thought process:
"I keep coming back to M*A*S*H. From the first episode, these people sit around and say, 'All I want to do is go home.' So of course they all get to go home in the final episode. Sometimes the best moment in a TV show is an unpredictable moment, but sometimes it's actually being predictable."
That’s when the GQ writer may have dropped an Easter egg, telling us exactly how “Breaking Bad” will end:
“By that measure, for those obsessed with guessing ahead, it may be worthwhile to remember Breaking Bad's first principles, the nature of the project — charting a man's free fall into the hell of his own worst impulses. And to count the number of endings free falls usually have.”
So could Walter White ultimately die at the end? Or does that “free fall” mean he will be busted by his brother-in-law DEA officer Hank Schrader, played by Dean Norris? We’ll have to wait until the final episode on Sept. 29 to find out. Until then, here are 12 things we learned about Bryan Cranston.
1. Cranston admitted he wanted to kill an ex-girlfriend:
"I had one girlfriend I wanted to kill,” he said of a drug-addicted, stalker former girlfriend. “I envisioned myself killing her. It was so clear. My apartment had a brick wall on one side, and I envisioned opening the door, grabbing her by the hair, dragging her inside, and shoving her head into that brick wall until brain matter was dripping down the sides of it. Then I shuddered and realized how clearly I saw that happening. And I called the police because I was so afraid. I was temporarily insane -- capable of doing tremendous damage to her and to myself."
2. Like several other cast and crew members (including Aaron Paul, who played his sidekick, Jesse Pinkman), he has a commemorative “Breaking Bad” tattoo:
“I wanted something ... something that would give me private personal pleasure. … It seemed appropriate. I mean, Breaking Bad changed my life," Cranston said. So what is this tattoo? The Bromine (Br) and Barium (Ba) chemical element symbols from the periodic table, just like the show’s logo, on the inside of his ring finger.
3. Cranston insisted on wearing those infamous tighty-whities:
"I took him aside and said, 'Would you be more comfortable in sweatpants? Or boxers?'” Gilligan told GQ. “He said, 'Yeah, I'd be more comfortable. What's your point?' 'So you're okay with the tighty-whities?' 'Well, what's the most pathetic thing I could be wearing here?' I said, 'Tighty-whities.' And he said, 'Well, what else do we need to talk about?'" "I genuinely could not care less how I look," Cranston says now.
4. He frequently sent the “Breaking Bad” cast motivational emails:
Miller wrote: “His fellow actors say they have come to rely on his almost coachlike leadership, by both example and fiat: Before each season, he would send out a group e-mail exhorting the ensemble to get ready to do their best work.”
5. One of these motivational tactics was the use of prosthetic penises, which the show has a “disproportionate supply” of:
"Remember, I spent six years seeing the man in his underwear. Sometimes less than his underwear," Anna Gunn, who plays his wife Skyler in the show, told GQ. "He would constantly try to appear with various ... things on his ... situation."
"There's nothing better than a good penis for a laugh," Cranston admitted.
6. He knew he wanted “Breaking Bad” from the get-go:
"I told my agent, 'Get me in there as fast as you can, because I know other actors are going to want to lift their leg on this.' It's like, 'I want to mark it. I want to spray it with my scent,” Cranston said.
7. Just like us, Cranston loves speculating about the path of the series:
Cranston admitted he would not read scripts prior to filming. "I was enjoying it too much. Asking how it ends would have been like saying, 'All right, tell me what you got me for my birthday and then I'll open it.'"
8. Cranston was almost a cop:
Funny that the man whose latest, and arguably greatest, character runs from the law almost became a police officer. At age 16, Cranston joined the LAPD Law Enforcement Explorers, where he was “first in his class.”
9. Cranston jokes about losing his virginity several times while abroad:
"I lost my virginity on that trip, in Austria," he said of his time in Law Enforcement Explorers. "And then I lost it in Switzerland, I lost it in Luxembourg, I lost it in France."
10. In fact, he started acting not because his father, Joe, was an actor but because it would get him girls:
"If acting had been called shmacting, I may have wound up taking archery," he said when choosing an elective in junior college. Martin wrote: “Whatever the impetus, he soon discovered that the performing arts, in addition to offering an even more frequent and varied range of virginity-losing opportunities, were another thing he was surprisingly good at.”
11. The “Breaking Bad” offices were, coincidentally, listed in a Burbank, Calif., building under the suite name “Delphi Information Sciences Corp.”
12. Henry Winkler wrote fan mail to “Breaking Bad.”