Bryan Cranston Blasts Disney In Moving Speech

By Douglas Helm | Updated

bryan cranston

Anyone who has seen Breaking Bad knows that Bryan Cranston knows how to deliver a gripping monologue. But instead of using his gruff tenor and charismatic presence to scare off other drug dealers, Cranston is using his powers for good by giving an impassioned speech at the SAG-AFTRA rally in Times Square. Cranston took Disney CEO Bob Iger to task while also calling for strikers with rallying cries like “We will not allow you to take our dignity,” and “We are union through and through all the way to the end.

Disney CEO’s Controversial Comments

Bryan Cranston’s criticisms of Disney CEO Bob Iger are likely in reference to the recent comments Iger made about the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike. Iger, who makes an approximate annual salary of $27 million, made the comment that the writers and actors in these unions aren’t being “realistic” with their expectations (via Variety). Iger also said, “They are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.”

As Bryan Cranston touched on in his speech, comments like this from highly-paid Disney CEOs come across as dismissive at best and ignorant at worst. AI regulation and better compensation are two of the biggest points of contention in the negotiations between the actors’ and writer’s unions and the studios represented by AMPTP.

Both SAG-AFTRA (the actors) and WGA (the writers) had separate sets of negotiations with AMPTP, and negotiations have fallen through each time leading to the first time both unions have been on strike together since the 1960s.

“We will not allow you to take our dignity. We are union through and through all the way to the end.”

Bryan Cranston

Comments from SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland have given some additional clarity as to why Bryan Cranston and the unions feel like Disney and the other AMPTP studios aren’t being realistic in their expectations.

According to Crabtree-Ireland, one of AMPTP’s ideas for AI was taking the likeness of background actors without consent or compensation and using them in productions in perpetuity. It’s pretty easy to see why the actor’s union wouldn’t want to agree to that.

Other Actors Targeting Studios

Bryan Cranston wasn’t the only actor speaking against Disney and the other studios at the New York SAG-AFTRA rally, as Steve Buscemi, Matt Bomer, Wendell Pierce, Christian Slater, Christine Baranski, Stephen Lang, and Titus Burgess also made appearances. On the other side of the country, there are plenty of actors, writers, stunt workers, and other entertainment industry professionals striking on the front line.

bryan cranston breaking bad
Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad

Cranston’s Breaking Bad co-star Bob Odenkirk recently made some comments of his own about productions continuing with waivers, saying, “It’s a strike,” adding, “be on strike.”

Due to SAG-AFTRA union rules, you won’t see Bryan Cranston promoting any of his projects until the strike is over, but for his most recent project, you can see him in Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City. Asteroid City is still available to see in theaters and also stars Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Edward Norton, Rupert Friend, Maya Hawke, Steve Carell, Steve Park, and Hope Davis.

Cranston’s next big film will be the Matthew Vaughn-directed Argylle, which is a spy thriller starring Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Dua Lipa, Samuel L Jackson, Sam Rockwell, Ariana DeBose, Catherine O’Hara, Rob Delaney, Jason Fuchs, and Jing Lusi.