Bryan Cranston is one of the few artists who can do whatever he wants. But doing what you want sometimes means refusing things, knowing that they might not turn out well. That’s how he felt when he pulled out of directing a play parodying the Ku Klux Klan, suspecting it might not go well given the current peak of white supremacy.
In one new interview with The Los Angeles Times (as if caught by page 6), in 2019, a performance hall in Los Angeles offered Cranston the chance to direct the stranger, a play by Larry Shue about an Englishman who puts a stop to a KKK plot to take over a Georgian fishing lodge. But after the murder of George Floyd and the protests that broke out, the breaking Bad alum suspected that a comedy ridiculing racial tensions might not fly in the current climate.
“It’s a privileged vantage point to be able to look at the Ku Klux Klan and make fun of them and put them down for their broken and hateful ideology,” Cranston told the publication. “But the Ku Klux Klan and Charlottesville and the white supremacists – it still happens and it’s not funny. It’s not funny for a group marginalized by the hatred of these groups, and it really taught me something.
“And I realized, ‘Oh my God, if there’s one, there’s two, and if there’s two, there’s 20 blind spots that I have… what’s the use? else am i blind? he said. “If we take up space with a very palatable play from the 1980s where rich old white people can make fun of white supremacists and say, ‘Shame on you’ and have a good night at the theater, things have got to change, I need to change.”
Instead, Cranston took a job in sail powerabout a professor whose decision to have a Holocaust denier speak to his class is not well received by his students.
“A good play might not change your life, but it might change your day,” Cranston explained. “To go further, a play can also stimulate the mind. It can make you question your thought process – your dogma. This might challenge you.