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A popular actor’s worst enemy is time. While they may have ten thousand quality scripts being thrown their way, there are only so many days in the year that can be committed to projects. Bryan Cranston has been dealing with this issue quite a bit lately. Just last month the actor was forced to drop out of Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad due to scheduling issues, but last year Cranston was faced with another hard decision between two fantastic movies.
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to take part in a roundtable interview with the Breaking Bad star in which he revealed that he turned down a part in Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class so that he could play a role in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. The actor said that he first read for the role of Sebastian Shaw in the comic book movie, but that an offer went out to another actor first. “They offered it to Kevin and they offered me a different role in it,” Cranston said. “At the same time I read Drive and I went, ‘Oh, this is what I’d rather do,’ and I turned down X-Men for the role in Drive because I just liked the character better, much better.”
But as though the thousands of projects being thrown his way aren’t enough – he has Red Tails, Rock of Ages, John Carter, World War Z, Total Recall and Argo all scheduled for 2012 release dates – Cranston has also been busy with the pen adapting a book that he also plans to direct. Though he says the title will change, the actor has been working on a film version of David Wiltse’s novel Home Again, which he has been working on with producer Mark Johnson. Potentially scheduled to film next year (the big question mark is when Breaking Bad will start up again), Cranston describes the project as a “very strong father-son story and a murder mystery.” He then went on to describe the plot:
An FBI agent who suddenly quits the department and takes his son and his wife and moves back to his hometown of Cascade, Nebraska to rekindle family values and pay attention now because he’s been working for the FBI for so many years and he’s been home sporadically and his son, who is now 16, very sensitive and looks upon his father like sort of a stranger. “I don’t really know how to behave and mom and I have gotten along fine without him and now there’s this presence.” So there’s all that going on, and then there’s a murder that happens in the little town that they move to, which kills his whole stance on, “Things are better in these small towns!” And things unravel and basically the father and son come together at the end and save each other emotionally, literally.Cranston does have previous directing credits, including multiple episodes of both Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle, but the new project will be the first feature he has written and directed since his film Last Chance in 1999. As for turning down X-Men, he didn’t specify what the role was, so that’s open for speculation.