Portraying a dying high school chemistry teacher who cooks crystal meth in an attempt to leave his family with enough financial support once he's dead has helped veteran actor Bryan Cranston understand baseball's steroid users a little better.
“Cranston: Uh, talent. ... Yeah, just didn't have the talent. But I loved baseball and I loved football, too. I went to Canoga Park High School and I had enough physical athletic ability to be able to be out there, but I didn't get the association of the work ethic at the time. Of the need to work hard during practice. I was just kind of going through the paces. I never really applied myself, and in retrospect, I have a regret in that I missed out on a lot of opportunities because I was going through a difficult time: My parents were getting divorced and that sort of thing. It was like, "I don't quite know what's going on, I don't know what to do. ..." It was just kind of a period where life really slowed down for me and I was confused, and so I regret that, I regret not having that experience of being able to see what I could do. I'm not saying that even if I applied myself I would have been a varsity star or something, but it would have been interesting for me now to see if I had really put an effort together how far could I have gotten. I don't know. I don't think that I had the talent that a lot of other friends of mine at school had, but I think I would have enjoyed it more. The Life: That's interesting you said you still regret it, considering the success you've had as an actor. Cranston: Well, I think there are areas you look at like, you know, we could look at the way we handled breaking up with an old girlfriend with regret, right? You go, "Yeah, I was kind of a d--- doing that; I just said, 'Yeah, you know, I'm over this.' Ohhh, that's kind of an awful way to put something." ... I mean, if we've matured, I think we can then be honest with ourselves and say "Yeah, I do have some regrets in some areas of the way I behaved or the way I handled myself or the way I didn't apply myself or that sort of thing." And I think, interestingly enough, my persona non grata in high school -- and, I mean, nobody knew me in high school. I was like a wallflower. I was introverted; I was shy; I didn't apply myself; I did what I could to get a C; I didn't work any harder than that. I mean, so, I wasn't into it. And so, in retrospect, I look at that and I go ... I was even left out of the yearbook. Not because I didn't pay the fee and we took the picture and everything ... they just forgot me. That was the explanation. "Oh, I see your application, I see you paid, I see your picture. ... We just ... it fell through the cracks." And I was devastated at the time because I thought, "Oh my God, it's like I was never here." Then I thought, "No, this is perfect, I never was here really." And then I think maybe in some way, that started me on a path of saying, "Is this going to be my life? Or am I going to make something out of myself?" And I think that's when it started to happen for me, that I started to really work towards doing something and going after something. And I was very fortunate to find acting as that path and what I discovered is that I wanted to pursue something that I loved to do and hopefully become good at as opposed to pursuing something I'm good at and hopefully fall in love with. So that was the distinction, and it wasn't until after two years of junior college and thinking I was going to be a policeman and, "No, I'm not going to do that and what else am I going to do?" And just traveling around the country for a couple of years that I finally was able to get to the point at age 22, 23 of what I wanted to do. And I'm now in my 30th year as a professional actor, and I'm very grateful that I found that. The Life: So, growing up in Southern California, are you a big Dodgers fan? Cranston: Huge. Huge Dodgers fan. Yes. The Life: As a kid, what are your favorite memories of the Dodgers?
I grew up with Dodger Stadium. It was my home, and I knew certain things, even when times were rough or things not going well in school or my parents splitting up or whatever the case may be. I could always depend on the smell of the grass, listening to Vin Scully's voice to bring back a sense of calm and safety. And it was that to me. It represented something, a touchstone, that was always there that I could always go to in times of trouble, and it was there for me.” -- Bryan Cranston
The Life: With your schedule, do you make it out to as many games as you'd like?Cranston: Well, my schedule has it where I leave late June and I get to Albuquerque. Last year I saw the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Triple-A farm club for the Marlins, play several games. Because it's baseball. If you love baseball; I just want to see baseball. Minor leagues are great because these kids have a dream they're still working toward. And they're playing their hearts out. So it's great to see that. What's really good is that Albuquerque has become the home of the Triple-A Dodgers affiliate again. So the Isotopes will now be a Dodger affiliate once again. Years ago they were the Albuquerque Dukes, and so now they are going to be a Dodger affiliate, so I'll get to see young Dodgers. I'm so thrilled. I'll be out at the stadium on any night I can. The Life: So you'll be there from late June until when? Cranston: Late June, and I'll be there through the middle of December. I'll miss everything after the first two months of the season.
The Life: Not working for Fox anymore, you can't use those perks of prime playoff seats?
The Life: Finally, what's your connection to the "Power Rangers" kids show?Cranston: What happened is that I've never done voices for the "Power Rangers," but I did a lot of voice-over work for the company that did it. And this was prior to the "Power Rangers" coming in, so I did all these voices for different movies and Japanese anime and this and that coming in for several years. ... And so, and then I left to do other things. And they just got the "Power Rangers" in, and they said, "Well we've got to give these guys names, American names, and so I'm told that they ... 'Well, how about Bryan Cranston? We'll give Cranston the name. We can't give him Bryan Cranston, but we can use his last name.'" And so they assigned names from people that they worked with over the years, and apparently I was the blue Power Ranger person. The Life: Is that a Dodger Blue connection or just a coincidence? Cranston: Subliminally? Absolutely ... Absolutely.