Frankie Muniz Talks 'Breaking Bad' and Bryan Cranston's Chances of an Emmy Three-peat
By Zach Dionne Posted Aug 27th 2010 10:00AM
Let's backtrack. Bryan Cranston, 54, played Hal on 'Malcolm in the Middle,' a father to Frankie Muniz's title character, for seven seasons. Now he's a startlingly different dad on AMC's 'Breaking Bad' -- a murderous but sympathetic cancer patient entrenched in the world of crystal meth, the darkest imaginable portrait of a man.
So what does Muniz, 24 and no stranger to change himself, as a recent rocker and race car driver, think of Cranston the Chameleon?
"He's honestly one of my all-time favorite actors. Ever," Muniz tells PopEater. "To go from 'Malcolm' to his character in 'Breaking Bad,' it's such an insane transformation and difference. He's pulled it off incredibly."
Click through to read what Muniz thinks about Cranston's Emmy chances a third time around and just how often he's asked to weigh in on 'Breaking Bad.'
So convincing is Cranston's embodiment of Walter White on 'Breaking Bad,' plenty of viewers don't immediately realize the 'Malcolm in the Middle' connection. But Muniz would never know. "There isn't one person who recognizes me who doesn't go, Oh my god, Bryan on 'Breaking Bad! What do you think about that?' Because he's so different and so great," he says.
Muniz keeps in touch with Cranston more than any of his 'Malcolm' castmates. He also says he can't walk into the Walgreens near his Arizona home without the clerk asking him -- every single time -- if he's seen the new episode of Vince Gilligan's damn-near-heart-attack-inducing drama. But Frankie, as the former fictional son of one of TV's suddenly most respected actors, is as much an admirer as he is an authority on Cranston. "I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to work with him for such a long time. Bryan is such a genuinely great guy, and he's one of the people that dedicates their time and their life to being the best they can be in whatever character they're playing."
Sunday night marks Cranston's shot at a third Best Actor Emmy in as many seasons on 'Breaking Bad.' The awards buzz is something Muniz remembers well -- 'Malcolm' was often in the Emmys mix, and the star himself was nominated as a teenager in 2001. "Just to be in that pack ... it was so cool to be nominated as one of the top five actors on TV during a year. I went to the show not even almost expecting to win, and losing didn't hurt my feelings in any way," Muniz says. "The fact that Bryan has won the Emmy the last two years ... it's so well-deserved. He's my idol as an actor."
Is Emmy disappointment something Cranston needs to worry about this time around, after delivering some of his finest work on 'Breaking Bad' yet, flat-out carrying a season that TV guru Alan Sepinwall said "belongs in the pantheon of all-time great years for a TV drama"? Muniz isn't sure, and he isn't worried, either. "It doesn't matter who's against him -- he's my favorite actor of all time. The fact that he has shown that he can go from being dopey Hal to this crazy guy on 'Breaking Bad' -- he's done it all. I don't think he has any competition. I wouldn't want to be nominated against him."
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