As an actor, Bryan Cranston is best known for his role as high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin Walter White on AMC’s Breaking Bad. Though that role is deadly serious, Cranston knew how to break the tension on set, and that trait carried over to shooting a nude scene for his latest film, the recently released Dalton Trumbo biopic Trumbo.
We’ve all heard stories about how awkward filming nude scenes can be for the performers involved, and in Trumbo there’s one where his character, a writer blacklisted and imprisoned as part of the Red Scare, waits to be admitted to prison. In an interview with Playboy, Cranston revealed how he tried to lighten things up in what would have otherwise been a tense, serious moment on set. He said:
[W]e’re standing there, naked and quiet. Normally in this type of situation you don’t talk much. But I went the opposite way and talked way too much. It’s a defense mechanism...I said, "How about those Saints?" And they just looked at me like, "We’re really going to have a conversation?"
Imagine that, you’re just standing there, naked, keeping to yourself, waiting for the director and crew to get their act together and set up for the next shot, and Bryan Cranston, the star of the movie, also naked, sidles up to and starts shooting the shit about football. That has to be a very strange experience indeed. I mean what’s the big deal, it’s just a couple of dudes, hanging out, chatting about sports, they just happen to be buck-ass nude.
This is far from the only time that Bryan Cranston has taken an unusual approach to alleviating on set tension. Just the other day in an interview he talked about how he has been known to whip out dildos on the Breaking Bad set in pursuit of similar goals, to elicit a chuckle from a cast and crew that might be stressed, tired, and overworked. And who can argue, sex toys, for all their real world applicability and intended purposes, are funny as hell, especially when taken completely out of context.
So, if he uses sex toys and nudity to lighten up the mood on set for Breaking Bad and Trumbo, what do you think he pulled out of his hat while filming Godzilla? What do you think he has in store for the currently filming All the Way, where he plays President Lyndon B. Johnson? That one is sure to be good. Though let’s hope he kept things a bit more PG on the set of Malcolm in the Middle.