Crime pays as Cranston weighs his options

Bryan Cranston's role in Breaking Bad may have won him three Emmy awards but it seems the actor is still bemused by his fame.

Cranston, who chatted to us from the US last week, says being known across the globe as Walter White, the chemistry teacher who turns to a life of crime as a crystal-meth cook, still takes getting used to.

''It is unusual and not always comfortable,'' Cranston says. ''I have paparazzi in my neighbourhood now and I'm walking my dog and picking up my dog's poop and it's like, 'Oh, someone's taking pictures of me.' I don't see how that's interesting.

''With all the benefits that come with success, there are some freedoms you give up.

''You don't know how to plan for it. [Actually] I'm baffled by it. The car that's going slowly past me in the street and I'm looking at them thinking, 'Maybe they need an address or something' and it doesn't occur to me, until I go, 'Oh, that's what they're doing.'''

Cranston is steadfast in the belief that he should live up to his own expectations - not what fans want. ''I learnt long ago that people will either like you or not like you and there's nothing you can do about it, so I try to be true to myself,'' he says.

''To be honest, I try to please myself, which is a lot harder to do, than some outside entity.''

Breaking Bad's creator, Vince Gilligan, has announced season five will be the last in the series, although it will be divided into two sets of eight episodes each.

Cranston doesn't feel sad about his role ending - yet. ''I think if you ask me in six months how I feel ... I'll have a different response; then I will know we're in the home stretch and I'll be missing the people and missing the character.''

History will show that Cranston made one of the most remarkable switches in Hollywood - from the loving father Hal in Malcolm in the Middle to the fierce Walter White in Breaking Bad.

''I'm proud that I was able to find and be able to be gifted with this role of a lifetime,'' he says. ''It wasn't like I was tempted to play another dad ... I'd spent seven years doing that.''

Cranston agrees there is no shortage of offers for his next move as an actor but says ''it's not the easiest thing'' to find the right project.

Instead, he is enjoying niche directorial projects before the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad are filmed.

''In this hiatus ... we have almost five months off, so I decided to direct an episode of The Office. Modern Family has asked me back to direct another episode, so we're trying to work out the dates on that. So I'm happy about that.

''I've known the cast of The Office for some time, so it will be fun to go there and order them around and make them follow my every whim,'' he says, laughing.

Breaking Bad season five premieres on Showtime on Foxtel Sundays at 7.30pm.

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