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Bryan Cranston wasn't supposed to play Walter White in Breaking Bad

Rhiannon Ingle

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Bryan Cranston wasn't supposed to play Walter White in Breaking Bad

Walter White from the hit-series, Breaking Bad, is arguably one of TV's most-known and well-loved anti-heroes.

It's almost hard to even picture the iconic television character being played by anyone but Bryan Cranston but it did nearly happen.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Before Breaking Bad, most people knew Cranston, 66, as the loveable yet clueless father, Hal from Malcolm in the Middle.

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Yet, everything changed for the 66-year-old upon taking on the heavy role as a chemistry teacher turned drug maestro in the AMC crime drama series - talk about range.

Joined with co-star Aaron Paul, 43, who portrayed former student turned drug-dealer Jesse Pinkman, the pair's notable ensemble of yellow jumpsuits, bald heads and gas masks have since cemented in all of our brains.

However, Cranston was never actually supposed to take on the character of Walter White - or his criminal alias, Heisenberg,

Instead, he was the third choice and only landed the career-changing role after two other actors turned it down.

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Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

In the early days of the casting process, writer and producer, Vince Gilligan, had two stars in mind - neither of which were Cranston.

Both The Lion King's Matthew Broderick, 60, and Being John Malkovich's John Cusack, 56, were approached by Gilligan to take on the role of the drug-lord.

Both Broderick and Cusack declined the offer, leading Gilligan to finally go to Cranston.

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Acting as a main frontrunner for the character, the Ferris Bueller star would have definitely brought something different to the table had he landed the role instead.

Network executives at AMC even voiced their scepticism if someone like Cranston, who became synonymous as a family man and devoted husband in Malcolm in the Middle, could separate his more wholesome image and commit to a darker character.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

According to The Hollywood Reporter, one AMC official revealed: "We all still had the image of Bryan shaving his body in Malcolm in the Middle. We were like, ‘Really? Isn’t there anybody else?’"

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It took some determined convincing by Gilligan showing executives Cranston's performance in an episode of The X-Files, a project the pair previously worked on together, until they finally saw his potential for the role.

And Cranston couldn't have been more on-board.

After years of being known as the happy-go-lucky family man, he was definitely ready to shake things up.

In the same article, Cranston revealed: "I wanted a change of pace, and whether that meant a comedy or drama, it was going to be different because I didn’t need the money anymore."

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Regardless, it's fair to say that everything could have been totally different if the television anti-hero that is Walter White was not played by the initially unassuming but eventually iconic Bryan Cranston.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston

Rhiannon Ingle
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