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These days, it seems like you can't swing a meth barrel without smacking into Bryan Cranston in one role or another. Cranston, who's been lauded for five seasons of drug-making, glasses-wearing excellence on AMC's "Breaking Bad," isn't just mixing up extra-potent crystal these days. He's in the upcoming "Godzilla" remake, is voicing the character of Jack Black's panda dad in "Kung Fu Panda 3," and he even popped up in a lil Best Picture winner by the name of "Argo." That's not even mentioning guest spots on "The Cleveland Show" and "The Simpsons," roles in the "Total Recall" remake and "Rock of Ages."
Really, cool it, Walt.
According to a lengthy New Yorker profile, the full text of which is only available online to subscribers, Cranston has also noticed that willy-nilly role-taking, and has put into place a plan to curb it. Cranston already has a daughter, but let's welcome the birth of his new baby, the Cranston Project Assessment Scale, an apparently hand-drawn little ditty that he showed to writer Tad Friend. Friend describes it in the piece as having "rankings from Very Good to Poor, and across the top, in decreasing order of importance, were Story, Script, Role, Director and Cast. A very good story was worth 10 points, a very good cast only two."
According to Cranston, "an actor can only raise the level of bad writing by a grade. C writing, and I don't care if you're Meryl Streep — you can only raise it to a B."
Factors like a high salary may raise a movie's overall score, while spending a long time away from his wife and daughter, however, would lower it. If a movie totted out to less than 16 points, he'd trash it, and anything 21 and above would be accepted. In between was a "consider."
So how do Cranston's recent projects tot out? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences thought "Argo" was the gold standard, but how did Cranston rank it? A big fat 28, strongly in the "accept" category.
"Ben was a three as a director — he was 'good' — and now he's a four, 'Argo' says," Cranston said.
His next project, "Godzilla," due out May 16, 2014 and directed by Gareth Edwards, wasn't accepted quite so readily with a score of 20.
"I was dubious, but when I read the script I was surprised — you care about these people, and you've got Godzilla," he said.
What a glowing review. Gotta get that paper somehow, right?