One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented at The Paley Center for Media in New York. This evening celebrates the career of actor and producer Bryan Cranston, including a conversation with the cast of the new series "The Dangerous Book for Boys," the comedy-drama series inspired by the book by Conn and Hal Iggulden, in which a family with three sons grapples with the recent death of their father through creative fantasies, for which Cranston serves as executive producer, creator and writer.

The program opens with a series of clips of Cranston's television work, including scenes from "Loving" (1983), "Seinfeld" (1997), "The X-Files" (1998), "Malcolm in the Middle" (2000), "Breaking Bad" (2008, 2011), and "All the Way" (2016). Clips from "Sneaky Pete" (2018) and "Dangerous" (2018) are also shown later in the evening.

Host David Bushman (curator, The Paley Center for Media) offers opening remarks and welcomes Kimberly Potts (contributor, Vulture magazine) to the stage. Potts sits down with Cranston, and the conversation touches on such topics as: whether he enjoys watching his own work; his 2016 memoir "A Life in Parts"; his pride in his work on the soap opera series "Loving," which gave him the confidence to pursue acting as a serious career; his disappointment in being fired shortly before his intended departure; how he dealt with his abrupt determination through photography and exercise; his memories of admiring the talents of "Seinfeld" creators Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld during his six episodes as Jewish-convert dentist Tim Whatley; a memorable 2000 "Malcolm in the Middle" episode in which Cranston was really covered in bees, an "oddly relaxing" experience apart from the stings; his love of the "non-cynical" human instinct towards storytelling and creativity; receiving a copy of "Dangerous," published in the U.S. in 2007, from "Breaking" co-star Anna Gunn; the challenge of inventing a series based on the book, which has no traditional plot or characters; and his explanation of the series' wholesome, fantasy-based family appeal, despite its seemingly dark focus on a father's death.

Cranston is then joined by "Dangerous" cast members Chris Diamantopoulos (Patrick and Terry McKenna), Erinn Hayes (Beth McKenna), and Swoosie Kurtz (Tiffany McKenna), and the panelists touch on such additional topics as: why the "very sentimental" Hayes appreciates the series' depiction of a full family life; Diamantopoulos' sense that the show is similar to Cranston's own demeanor and outlook as a family man; the actors as Cranston's first choices for their respective roles; the show's nostalgic tone, despite diverting from the classic "appointment television" model of many former family shows; Hayes' gratitude for the thoughtful, realistic depictions of both the parent and child characters; how the fantasy sequences, seen through the kids' eyes and made purposefully "incomplete" by the show's budget, inform the tone of the series; the freedom of not being restricted by a typical 22-minute network television format; Kurtz's views on Tiffany's "spiritual side" and kindly advice to her grieving grandchildren; praise for the talented child actors, particularly "lynchpin" Gabriel Bateman, who plays Wyatt McKenna; the choice not to reveal the story behind the father's death in season one; and Cranston's interest in incorporating the actors' ideas, including Diamantopoulos' suggestion that deceased father Patrick should appear in their fantasy scenes.

Questions from the audience then lead to a discussion of the following topics, among others: advice for aspiring actors; Cranston's recent role in an "interactive" stage adaptation of the 1976 film "Network," directed by the slightly "odd" Ivo van Hove; Diamantopoulos' challenging experience playing two different characters on "Dangerous"; Hayes' efforts to balance her character's genuine grief for her husband with her desire to stay strong for her children; Cranston's fondness for "Why Him?" (2016), in which he plays a beleaguered father who disapproves of his daughter's loutish fiancé; his interest in "damaged" characters and efforts to be selective with his roles; memories of his worst-ever job, killing chicken with his grandfather; his decision not to appear in a production of "The Great Society," the sequel to "All the Way," also written by Robert Schenkkan; why Robert Caro, author of the multi-volume biography "The Years of Lyndon Johnson," opted not to meet with Cranston; how television and theater compare in terms of "exhaustion" versus fun; learning from his father Joe's desire to be a "star," rather than an actor; his contentment with the 2013 "Breaking Bad" series finale and the fate of his character Walter White; his willingness to appear on the "Breaking" prequel "Better Call Saul" if creator Vince Gilligan requests it; ideas for a reboot of Kurtz's 1990s series "Sisters," which also starred Patricia Kalember, Cranston's "Loving" love interest; Cranston's praise for Kurtz's beloved cult hit "Pushing Daisies," an oddball comedy "before its time"; the actor's grueling process of endlessly auditioning and "starting from the beginning every time"; and the importance of luck in crafting a successful acting career.


  • DATE: 7:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:30:47
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 132708
  • GENRE: Seminars


    • David Bushman … Host
    • Kimberly Potts … Moderator
    • Bryan Cranston … Panelist
    • Chris Diamantopoulos … Panelist
    • Erinn Hayes … Panelist
    • Swoosie Kurtz … Panelist
    • Gabriel Bateman
    • Robert Caro
    • Joe Cranston
    • Larry David
    • Vince Gilligan
    • Anna Gunn
    • Conn Iggulden
    • Hal Iggulden
    • Patricia Kalember
    • Robert Schenkkan
    • Jerry Seinfeld
    • Ivo van Hove