TORONTO—Bryan Cranston is in Toronto with a movie to make and a movie to promote. In fact, as he sits in a room at a Hogtown hotel and starts listing his films that are in various stages of production, it becomes clear that he may be the busiest man in show business. The Internet Movie Database says eight movies involving Cranston will be released before the end of 2012. That doesn’t include two new releases currently playing in Vancouver, Contagion and Drive, the movie he is here to promote at the Toronto International Film Festival. (He is also here working on Total Recall.)
One thing he doesn’t have to think about is winning an Emmy award for the fourth year in a row. His Breaking Bad series on AMC can’t compete because it waited until the eligibility period was over to start its new season. Cranston says he isn’t unhappy about that.
“I am kind of relieved to not be nominated. I am going to take the weekend off from shooting here [the Emmys were handed out on September 18] to present an award, so it’s a lovely situation to be in. I think Jon Hamm [from AMC’s Mad Men] has a good chance this time.”
In Drive, he plays a Hollywood mechanic named Shannon who works closely with a stuntman (Ryan Gosling.) Both men moonlight in a lucrative getaway-driving business that sees Shannon supplying the cars and his pal driving them. He says that he loves making movies as long as the script can support a fully formed feature.
“I don’t need to work, but I love to work and I will make the movie if I would want to go and see it. But if I hear about a story that you could do in a sketch—and a lot of films should be just sketches—then I am not interested in it. I think too many movies attempt to stretch a very small idea. They will make something about a kid trying to lose his virginity while going to college. It’s like, ‘Really, there is a whole movie about that? You are asking me to spend almost two hours to see some kid trying to get his rocks off?’ ”
The other incentive for him to leave the comfort of his series and do a movie is that the role has to be different from the character he is inhabiting. “A lot of people think, ‘This guy does that really well. Here is a role just like that for him.’ When I left Malcolm in the Middle, I got two offers to do television pilots and they featured fun, goofy dads. I said no and one of the producers said, ‘Why would you say no? You’re perfect for it and it’s exactly what you do.’ I said, ‘It’s exactly what I did for seven years, but I am not going to help anyone put me in a pigeonhole.’ So I won’t be looking at scripts about a teacher who becomes a drug dealer for a while.”
Watch the trailer for Drive.