Bryan Cranston Returning To His Most Controversial Role

Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart are working on a sequel to their controversial film, The Upside.

By Mark McKee | Published

Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart in The Upside

2017 was a year that altered the direction of two actors when they appeared in a film that drastically differed from all the others in their careers. When Kevin Hart, known for his buddy comedies and stand-up specials, joined Bryan Cranston, known primarily for his dark role of Walter White in Breaking Bad, in the film, The Upside, it felt new and fresh for both of them. According to Movie Web, despite the backlash Cranston received, he revealed that he is hard at work to bring a sequel to screens. 

In a recent episode of the Club Random podcast, Bryan Cranston addressed the backlash that he got from appearing in The Upside. He told host Bill Maher that he got a lot of s*** for being an able-bodied man portraying a person with quadriplegia, something many people saw as ableist and evidence that disabled people don’t get the same opportunities as other actors. Cranston said that while he could see their point, he called it a double-edged sword because he is an actor with the notoriety to carry a film. 

The Breaking Bad actor then went on to say that despite that backlash, he and Hart were working together on bringing a sequel to the screens as soon as possible, saying the story wasn’t finished. Bryan Cranston defended his portrayal in The Upside by pointing to other actors who have played people with disabilities to renown, including Al Pacino, who played a blind Army Officer in Scent of a Woman, and Daniel Day-Lewis, who played a man with cerebral palsy in My Left Foot. He finished out his comments by saying that he can only come into it with the perspective of a 66-year-old white male; he can try to understand but will never know what it is like to live in that skin. 

Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart in The Upside

The Upside follows the story of Phillip LaCasse (Cranston), a quadriplegic who hires a recently paroled felon, Dell (Kevin Hart), to be his caretaker. The two embark on a journey of self-discovery while rediscovering the joy of life and pushing each other to move beyond the obstacles they face and remind each other that there is still a life outside the door for them. Bryan Cranston’s portrayal in The Upside helped him find the balance between his light-hearted, goofy father figure in Malcolm in the Middle and his dark and macabre character of Walter White in Breaking Bad

The film was also a departure from the norm for Kevin Hart, who had only really been known as a stand-up comedian who could fill stadiums and the other half of a Dwayne Johnson buddy comedy. The film served as an excellent opportunity to show his more profound and dramatic acting chops, an opportunity that saw him rise to the occasion. Along for the ride with Hart and Cranston is Nicole Kidman, who portrayed Cranston’s personal assistant, Julianna Margulies, and Tate Donovan. 

It doesn’t seem like the pair is letting the backlash get to them, as Bryan Cranson and Kevin Hart seem to be ready to face the backlash all over again with The Upside 2