Say what you will about James Franco, you can’t deny he isn’t a prolific artist. With a metric ton of projects that are either ongoing or announced, Franco has enough work to keep him busy for the next half a century. And like any actor-director, he has his favored collaborators, and he’s just announced that Bryan Cranston will play a younger version of himself for their third collaboration together.
Speaking with the South China Morning Post, Franco revealed that Cranston had agreed to star in Franco’s The Masterpiece.
It took eight months for [Why Him?] to go ahead and I asked Bryan to play Sheriff in In Dubious Battle, and then I directed The Masterpiece and he did that too. I asked if he would play himself, and he actually plays a version of himself from the early 2000s, so it’s Bryan Cranston from Malcolm in the Middle. It just speaks to his love of cinema that he supports his fellow artists.
Franco also mentioned that he appreciated Cranston’s ability as a comedic actor and felt like he hadn’t been able to flex those muscles since Breaking Bad.
After Breaking Bad, I think people had forgotten how Bryan is this great comedic actor – as that’s what he did for years and years,” Franco says of the former Malcolm in the Middle star. “When we were filming Why Him?, Bryan said to me, ‘This is the most fun I’ve had in a decade.’ So I found him to be a strong comedic and improvisational partner like Seth, in his own way. He could fly with anything.
He’s absolutely right about Cranston’s comedic chops, and while Why Him? isn’t doing as great as either of them had probably hoped, it’s good to see Cranston having a little fun again. Who knows, maybe The Masterpiece will actually be a masterpiece.