Magazine article Variety

How I Got the Role of a Lifetime

Magazine article Variety

How I Got the Role of a Lifetime

Article excerpt

I'M not sure I knew what that title meant then, but the script was oh-my-God superb, the best hour-long drama I'd ever read. Great characterizations, complex plots, nuanced story elements, surprises that left you thinking: What on earth is going to happen next?

By virtue of the writing, I began dreaming about this character, this Walter White. I was waking up in the middle of the night with him on my mind. I recalled being back on the Blue Ridge Parkway marooned by rain. I got so lost in an Ibsen play, the story and the characters, that I forgot about the rain. I can't describe how rare that is to find in script form. I can't explain how an actor longs for that richness and depth and humor and humanity to work with. To build on. This was it. I had no idea where the story was going, but I knew it was gold.

I had a meeting set with Vince the following week. I told my agents: "Make it sooner" I went into the AMC offices in West L.A., knowing I was scheduled for twenty minutes, and ended up staying an hour and a half.

"Do you know how he should look?" I asked.

"Uh, kinda," Vince answered, smiling.

I ventured some of the ideas that had come to me since I'd read the script. "He's missed so many opportunities in life," I said. "You can see that in every part of him. He has a mustache that isn't manly. That isn't anything. You look at him and say: Why bother? His skin and his hair are the same bland hue. He wears pale yellow and sand and taupe. He blends into the background. Invisible. To society. To himself. I'm thinking he's doughy One hundred eighty-six pounds"

I saw this character, this man, so clearly. I knew how he carried himself. Burdened. His shoulders were slumped like those of a much older man. I was imagining a man who carried himself a lot like my dad.

When I asked about his plans for the arc of the show, Vince told me in his genteel Virginia drawl, "I want to take this character from Mr. …

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