Bryan Cranston Wants You To See 'Total Recall', Then Read The Book

You could look at actor Bryan Cranston’s resume, from voicing Commissioner Gordon in "Batman: Year One," to "John Carter," to even the science of "Breaking Bad," and think, “This guy loves him some geeky stuff.” Well...you’d be wrong, according to Cranston himself; or at least that’s what he told us in LA before the premiere of yet another sci-fi project, the remake of Total Recall. (Watch director Len Wiseman talk about Cranston's villainous performance in Total Recall at MTV Movies!)

No, it’s not the flying cars, the future phones, or the chance to chill with the Dark Knight that draws Cranston; it’s the script, stupid: “The writing in our industry is the most important - bar none,” said Cranston. “The thing I’m good at is being able to able to identify well written material. Now, that doesn’t mean the product is going to end up that way... It’s a recipe, and often it doesn’t work. You go, wait a minute, I had all the ingredients, and I don’t know what happened! But if you start with the right writing, you at least have a shot. The best actor in the world can make C level material... C+ level material. Maybe B-. That’s it.”

When we pressed a little bit more, drawing the comparison between all his projects, Cranston stayed firm. “Am I moved by the story? Am I moved by the characters?” Cranston said. “When I read a script, I always I try to do it objectively first: is it resonating, am I moved? If I like it, I go to the next round, read it now more subjectively as the character they’re thinking of me for. And then when I read it again, I see if I’m connecting to it already. It’s a good sign.”

Still, he may have an ulterior motive for doing the new version of Total Recall, and that’s to encourage fans to go back and read the original story. “Get them reading... Wouldn’t that be great?” said Cranston with a laugh. “If they said, hm, this Philip K. Dick person, what else did he write?”

Moving on, we chatted a bit about his perspective on technology - both in terms of how it affects movie-making, as well as in Total Recall in particular. “Everything is changing,” said Cranston. “I did a little move in ’99 called Last Chance which now I would shoot on digital, and then, I shot it on 35MM. I put all my money into it. It cost me $300,000 to make. Got friends, shot the movie in three weeks, and it’s a sweet little film, and I’m proud of it.”

“Now? Almost anybody can do that!” continued Cranston. “One of our producers - Stew Lyons of 'Breaking Bad' - during college at NYU, he was in charge of the film equipment room. He was the most honored, respected man there. Students would bring him presents to say, can I get the 35MM camera? Can I get a roll of stock? He was charmed and dated! That office no longer exists. These phones [holding up his phone] can shoot a movie. So technology has taken over, and it’s a good thing.”

“It’s opened up the world of storytelling to the person who can’t really afford that. So if you have a story to tell? There’s no more excuses. Take your phone, take your iPad, and you can make a movie. The editing equipment... It’s getting more and more affordable. I love it.”

Turning to "Total Recall," Cranston continued that, “On a larger scale, you have us traipsing around on huge sets, and we have to imagine what’s happening. We see the little steam thing coming out, we’re firing blanks... But that’s part of your imagination. You realize what the world is going to look like behind you once the CGI takes over. It’s still a world of make believe, no matter what level you’re on.”

Total Recall opens this Friday, August 3rd in theaters everywhere. Check out the trailer below:

Full Disclosure: Travel and accommodations for this story were paid for by Sony Pictures, which produced Total Recall. Photo ©2012 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.