As the acclaimed, Emmy-winning drama "Breaking Bad" comes to an end this week, star Bryan Cranston (himself a three-time Emmy winner) has Hollywood at his feet.
He could do anything, choose any movie or TV show, take on any role he wanted. Yet, as Cranston told the New Yorker recently, he's developed a complicated points system for determining which roles he will take.
Dubbed "The Cranston Project Assessment Scale," it ranks projects based on (in order of most to least important): story, script, role, director, and cast. A very good story is worth 10 points, while a very good cast is worth just two points. There are bonus points for things like high salary and location.
"An actor can only raise the level of bad writing by a grade," Cranston explained. "C writing, and I don't care if you're Meryl Streep — you can only raise it to a B."
Even Meryl Streep only gets so many points!
If a project falls below 16 points, he passes. If it's above 26 points, Cranston enthusiastically accepts.
"'Argo' was a 28," he noted. Cranston played Ben Affleck's CIA boss in the Oscar-winning movie.
"Ben was a three as a director — he was 'good' — and now he's a four, 'Argo' says."
[Related: Catch Up on 'Breaking Bad' With Our Recap]
Of course, Cranston hasn't always been able to be this picky. He was a working actor who had to scrap for parts for many years. And some of his career-changing roles came about due to luck — like when he got to play Buzz Aldrin in HBO's "From the Earth to the Moon" because another actor was too big to fit into the spacesuit.
But now that all the world is his oyster, Cranston wants to stretch. He's portraying Lyndon B. Johnson in an American Repertory Theater play in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Then, he'll reprise a character on the final season of "How I Met Your Mother." Next May will see him as a scientist facing "Godzilla." And then he's set to star as a '50s-era blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter in "Trumbo."
As he he told the New Yorker, "You never want to repeat yourself."
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