Bryan Cranston gets transparent in new memoir, "A Life in Parts"

Bryan Cranston on new memoir, acting career

According to actor Bryan Cranston, “there’s no point in writing something if you’re not going to be completely transparent.”

With that, Cranston is showing his personal side in a new memoir, “A Life in Parts,” published by an imprint of Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS.

Cranston won multiple Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe for playing the unforgettable meth maker, Walter White, in “Breaking Bad.” He said he didn’t foresee how many viewers would become obsessed with his character on the show.

“All we know is to be able to identify well-written material. And I knew it was exceptional material. And I wanted it badly,” Cranston said.

He lobbied “Breaking Bad” creator and executive producer and Vince Gilligan for the role.

“I lifted my leg and marked him with my pheromones. I said, ‘You are going to give me this role, and I’m not leaving,’” Cranston joked.  

But he said AMC and Sony had doubts about whether the former goofy dad on “Malcolm in the Middle” was right for the part.

“Without Vince Gilligan being my champion to get the role, it never would have happened. And I’m grateful that it did,” Cranston said. “But he really took a chance, to take a character and change him from a good person to a bad person had never been done in the history of serious television.”

“Breaking Bad” went on to become wildly popular. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it the third greatest TV show of all time after “The Sopranos” and “The Wire.”

In his book, Cranston writes about one of the scenes he shot in “Breaking Bad,” where he was witnessing a character die.

“Walter White is going through a myriad of emotions. ‘Should I save her? She’s a young girl. I have a son this age.’ And as I’m diving into the emotion of it, all of a sudden, instead of the actress, Krysten Ritter, I see the face of my daughter dying, choking to death. And it just – even now, when I recall that story and that time, it’s a little upsetting because – for obvious reasons,” Cranston said.

He broke down on set, overcome with emotion.

“Everything that an actor is in their experiences and their upbringing, becomes part of the tool box for an actor, being able to access the emotions that they carry. And so our job is then to just be open to reaching and pulling it out, and unfortunately sometimes, it’s painful,” Cranston said.

When Cranston was younger, his teachers would describe him as disruptive and he earned the nickname “Sneaky Pete.”

“I was a confused boy. I think I have ADHD, and I was never diagnosed back in the day,” Cranston said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.” “It was just, ‘He’s not applying himself. He’s daydreaming. He’s not – ’ And you think that, ‘Oh, there’s something wrong with me.’ I think so. I mean I still don’t know to this day if it’s accurate.”

As a young adult, he landed a role in the soap opera, “Loving,” which Cranston wrote was the proudest professional achievement to date.

“At 25 years old, I finally felt like I arrived, like I belonged,” Cranston said. “Like I could do something and do it well. … To this day, it’s my biggest professional accomplishment that I felt I belonged and I could make a living in this business.”

Watch the video above to see what project Cranston is working on next. 


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