With the trend of nostalgia proving very profitable for both TV and film, there are plenty of revivals and long awaited sequels being produced regularly. But there is one such sequel that may have slipped under the radar: Richard Linklater's Last Flag Flying. An unofficial successor to 1973's The Last Detail, the upcoming film follows three Marine veterans who reunite after decades in the wake of a personal tragedy. The trio of actors are played by Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne, and Bryan Cranston-- with the latter playing the role originated by Jack Nicholson in the first film. Cranston also has the responsibility of carrying much of the film's lighter moments, and he recently told CinemaBlend how he felt about that somewhat daunting task.
I recently had the privilege to speak with Bryan Cranston about his role Last Flag Flying at the film's press junket in New York City. When asked how he felt about being the film's primary comic relief, he said:
The character needed to be the instigator of those things. Sal, my character, is the kind of guy who look for opportunities for levity. Because he has a huge appetite. He wants to consume everything. He wants to drink, and eat, and fill his eyes with looking at beautiful women. He wants to be a little bit of a rascal. So he's that aggressive kind of guy, whose legs shake all the time. He's very impatient, ready to jump. 'Oh you wanna fight? Let's go!'. But he's also a good friend. When push comes to shove. When you get down to it, he'll be there for his friend. And because of that loyalty I think you forgive some of his immature behavior... he drives you crazy, he makes you exhausted, and yet he's dependable in a way. We all know that prototype.
As always, Bryan Cranston proves why he's the one who knocks. Because rather than simply playing moments of comedy for the laughs, he's managed to find the true motivation for Sal's actions. This helps his performance from being one note, and allows the six time Emmy winner to flesh out his character in a new and exciting way.
And Bryan Cranston's performance in Last Flag Flying is as dynamic as you'd expect from the veteran actor. While the story's main narrative follows the grieving process for Steve Carell's character Doc, Cranston's Sal really helps to drive the narrative forward. After not seeing his Marine buddies for decades, he's determined to help out Doc... while also having a wild ride along the way. This includes purchasing the trio's first cell phones (the film is set in 2003), drinking his face off, and forcing Laurence Fishburne's Mueller to confront the hypocrisy in his holier than thou attitude. And while Last Flag Flying is having a fairly limited release, the performance by all three actors (especially Cranston) makes it worth the price of admission.
You can check out my conversation with Bryan Cranston below.
Last Flag Flying will arrive in select theaters on November 3rd. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.