When it comes to acting, few would question the skills of someone as talented as Bryan Cranston. But even if he did, Cranston probably wouldn’t know. He doesn’t read reviews of his work. That seems like a rare quality for an actor, but Cranston has a compelling reason for it.
Let’s take a closer look at an interview Cranston did about reading his own reviews, what his interviewee thought of Cranston’s views on this, and whether Cranston has ever received a bad review before.
Why Bryan Cranston Doesn’t Read Reviews
Cranston has been an actor for a long time. Before making big on Breaking Bad, he had other major roles in comedies such as Malcolm right in the middle as Father Hal, in a recurring cameo in Seinfeld as Tim Whatley, Jerry’s dentist. That said, he knows a thing or two about movie and television criticism.
In a conversation with director M. Night Shyamalan for Interview Magazine, Cranston asked about the impact of critics on Shyamalan. Taking the opportunity to write an editorial, Cranston shared his own relationship with criticism of his work:
“This is exactly why I don’t read reviews of my own work. The good reviews are a kind of smoke development and the bad ones are the ones that can penetrate your soul and corrupt you. “
It’s an interesting approach, and it’s probably quite difficult for Cranston to sustain in this day and age. Cranston asked how polarizing Shyamalan is. He has released box office hits loved by critics and bombs hated by everyone. Shyamalan’s answer was in the same direction.
What M. Night Shyamalan had to say about reading reviews
After The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, critical acclaim for Shyamalan’s work began to dry up. He’s had quite a long stretch with no hit at the box office. He eventually returned with Split, a horror film starring James McAvoy. The success of the film enabled Shyamalan to make the film Glass, which completed the Unbreakable trilogy.
Here is what Shyamalan had to say in response to Cranston’s question:
“I feel the same way, Bryan. I do not read anything about myself in any way. I get the general gist of what’s going on, whether it’s well received or not, but we want our relationship with our material, with our characters, to be what we’re obsessed with. When we start to think about reviews, we start calculating and are safer. ”
Both men’s ideas here make a lot of sense, but how often has Cranston been the target of harsh criticism? Although it doesn’t happen often, he has appeared in films that don’t seem to resonate with large audiences.
Bryan Cranston’s most acclaimed (and least acclaimed) work
Bryan Cranston attends the premiere of Netflix’s ‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’ | Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / Getty Images
Cranston was critically acclaimed as the star of Breaking Bad. There he played the sociopathic chemistry teacher who became a genius meth cooker, Walter White. Although Cranston previously had a long acting career, this was the role that got him on the A-list.
But not all Cranston films have received good reviews. Take the 2017 drama, Wakefield. The Atlantic was unforgiving and called the drama “bizarre”, “strange” and “subdued”. They called the ending “disappointingly open”.
From Cranston’s point of view, it’s hard to imagine how reading such a review would help him do his job better. Finally the film is done with the review. There is nothing he can do to improve the film or its performance. Every role he takes is different, so it’s hard to say that in the future he will be able to apply anything to his work.
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