When Breaking Bad returned to AMC last night, fans of good television were reminded of just how good of a show it is (and just how much it sucks that after another seven episodes we’ll have to wait an entire year to see the rest of the season), thanks in no small part to Bryan Cranston’s three-time Emmy winning performance as the desperate, scheming Walter White. Cranston’s presence seems absolutely integral to the idea of Walter White as a character, so it’s hard now to imagine that anyone else could’ve ever played the role. Yet, when showrunner Vince Gilligan first threw Cranston’s name to the execs at AMC, they weren’t convinced. The Hollywood Reporter‘s story about the series’ return explores the AMC network execs’ initial reticence to hire the man we’d all come to associate with Walter White, and reveals that they initially wanted Matthew Broderick or John Cusack to play the role.
Luckily both actors passed, and the suits at AMC were eventually convinced by Cranston’s performance in an episode of The X-Files that impressed the actor’s abilities on Gilligan. Still, Breaking Bad showed us all the darker side of Hal from Malcolm in the Middle; we’ll never know if it would’ve done the same for Ferris Bueller and Lloyd Dobbler.