You've just finished filming the end run of one of TV's all-time greatest badass characters, and you want to commemorate the experience with some body art. If you're "Breaking Bad" triple Emmy winner Bryan Cranston, where does the ink of the show's "Br Ba" elemental chart logo go?
On a tiny little part of your right-hand ring finger.
OK, maybe not what you would have expected from the man who has so brilliantly played meek chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin Walter White for five seasons. But Cranston, 57, reveals in GQ magazine's August cover story that, while one of the show's camera assistants got the "Bad" logo tattooed on his "tuchus," Cranston opted for a more modest remembrance.
"I wanted something … something that would give me private personal pleasure, like when I pass by and catch a glimpse of a picture of my mom, or my old manager. People who are gone now," says Cranston, whose wife says he is not a tattoo guy. "And it seemed appropriate. I mean, 'Breaking Bad' changed my life."
The actor — who does indeed look very GQ in photos that find him sporting suits from Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, DKNY, and Emporio Armani — also talks about how he almost became a cop instead of an actor, his parents' divorce when he was 12, his decade-long estrangement from his father, and how a single elective he was forced to take in college (one he chose only because of its early landing in the alphabet) changed his career path.
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"If acting had been called 'schmacting,' I may have wound up taking archery," Cranston says.
The feature — written by Brett Martin, the author of the must-read new book "Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From 'The Sopranos' and 'The Wire' to 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad'" — also reveals the "Breaking Bad" writers' room contains a fan letter from Henry "The Fonz" Winkler, that the equally comedically gifted Cranston had a fondness for various phallic props to bring levity to the "Bad" set, and that the actor thinks everyone, in the right circumstances, could become "an extremely dangerous person."
His personal example: an ex-girlfriend who once followed him from Los Angeles to New York and became his stalker, leaving messages on his answering machine about how she was going to "cut your balls off," "have your d--- sawed off," and then kill him. And then she showed up at his apartment door.
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"And I envisioned myself killing her," he says. "It was so clear. My apartment had a brick wall on one side, and I envisioned opening the door, grabbing her by the hair, dragging her inside, and shoving her head into that brick wall until brain matter was dripping down the sides of it. Then I shuddered and realized how clearly I saw that happening. And I called the police because I was so afraid. I was temporarily insane — capable of doing tremendous damage to her and to myself."
Cranston, happily married to actress Robin Dearden since 1989, will face his fate as Walter White when the final eight episodes of "Breaking Bad" premiere on AMC on August 11, and series creator Vince Gilligan shares that he and the show's writers have crafted an ending that satisfies his toughest critic: Vince Gilligan.
"Maybe I'm too close to it, but I think these final eight episodes have a real chance of satisfying … not everybody — there's no way to satisfy every last viewer — but the bulk of our viewers," Gilligan tells GQ. "I certainly hope so. They satisfy me, and that's saying a lot."
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