Bryan Cranston Couldn’t Stand One Of His Breaking Bad Co-Stars
According to actor Larry Hankin (who portrayed Old Joe in Breaking Bad), he got on Bryan Cranston's bad side by not being able to remember his lines.
Bryan Cranston is pretty well known in Hollywood for being an extraordinarily affable guy, so when he does not like someone, it must be for something big. However, the Malcolm in the Middle actor is also known for being extremely professional and meticulous in his acting, which his Breaking Bad co-star Larry Hankin says caused an issue. In Hankin’s upcoming book That Guy: A Cautionary Memoir (per Cracked.com), he revealed that he got on Bryan Cranston’s bad side while filming by not being able to remember his lines.
Much like Bryan Cranston pre-Breaking Bad, Larry Hankin is the kind of character well known for appearing in small roles in just about every popular show of the 1990s (including a recurring role in Friends). He appeared in two episodes of Breaking Bad as Old Joe, the cranky proprietor of a junkyard that Walter White (Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) find themselves in need of a couple of times over the series. According to Larry Hankin, the second episode (season five premiere “Live Free or Die”) was where things went wrong between him and Bryan Cranston.
Specifically, Larry Hankin says that he forgot his lines for a scene in which his character sells a magnet to Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, in part due to his dyslexia. Unfortunately for Hankin, he forgot them twice, which caused the lead actor to have some words for him. According to Hankin:
I just forgot them. The director said, “Cut!,” and Bryan Cranston leaned in and whispered, “Get your lines down.” Then I went up on my lines again. The director said, “Cut!” and Bryan went, “What’s the matter with you? Remember your lines.” But that doesn’t do any good — it makes it worse.
To Larry Hankin’s credit, he says that he managed to nail it on the third attempt, in large part due to episode director Michael Slovis’ encouraging him and telling him not to pay attention to Bryan Cranston. Hankin also acknowledges that Cranston is deeply invested in his acting performance, saying he “takes this stuff very seriously” and contrasting himself as someone who just sometimes appears in television shows and films.
While Larry Hankin might not consider himself a trained thespian on the same level that he puts Bryan Cranston on, he is not a slouch at acting either. Hankin’s IMDb page currently lists him as having a very impressive 191 acting credits, with five more forthcoming in various levels of production. Interestingly, in addition to appearing together in Breaking Bad, both Larry Hankin and Bryan Cranston appeared in episodes of the iconic 1990s sitcom Seinfeld, albeit not together.
Larry Hankin appeared in one episode of Seinfeld as Tom Pepper, the actor hired to portray Michael Richards’ Kramer in a fictional show within a show; according to Hankin’s memoir, he and Richards were already acquaintances and frequently auditioned for the same roles. He also goes on to say that Richards specifically requested that he be cast as the fictional version of his fictional character (who is himself based on a real character).
For his part, Bryan Cranston appeared as dentist Tim Whatley in five separate episodes of Seinfeld, portraying an acquaintance of the central quartet who seems to have a fondness for ethnic humor and possibly an adventurous personal life. Hopefully, everyone on Seinfeld was able to remember their lines around him.