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TV Quickfire: Bryan Cranston on playing a maverick judge in new legal drama Your Honor

Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston plays a judge in the gripping new drama, Your Honor. We found out more about what viewers can expect...

Bryan Cranston as Michael Desiato in Your Honor
Georgia Humphreys

TELL US ABOUT WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO A ROLE…

IF I read a character who has all the answers, makes the right decisions, is kind to everyone, I'm bored. I don't want to play that character. But someone who has flaws, but tries to be a better person, I think everyone can relate to that.

YOUR CHARACTER GOES AGAINST THE LAW, UNDER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES – A BIT LIKE WALTER WHITE IN BREAKING BAD…

Walter White was very methodical in his journey, what he was plotting out to do; Michael Desiato in Your Honor is impulsive. He has to make an immediate decision to save his son's life, and then has to suffer the repercussions from that decision. So, there are distinct differences, and I hope the audience sees that.

HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR PORTRAYING A JUDGE?

Well, the first thing I did was go to New Orleans where the story takes place, and go to the courthouse. I watched a bunch of different trials in various stages and observed the judges and how they handle themselves.

Some are very 'masters of their universe' kind of thing, and they take control. Others like to be in the background. I think Michael, he's one to sit back and allow the jury and the lawyers to take control of a trial. Unless he needs to make a statement, then he'll step in.

WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF THE ROLE?

It was actually the running. When I was younger, I used to run marathons and I was so looking forward to being a runner again, but then I got injured. I had to have epidural shots in my spine two different times in order to just have a slipped disc not give me sciatica, and it was troubling. And then I strained my hamstring.

So, it was difficult to come to terms with that. But when I started running marathons, I was 30-years-old. I think Father Time has said, "Not so fast".

COVID-19 DELAYED FILMING. WHAT WAS IT LIKE RETURNING TO THE ROLE AFTER THAT?

We were actually rehearsing in shields that put a barrier between you and the other person and, for me, I'm 64 years old, I've had my fair share of rock concerts that I've been to in my life – I am absolutely positive that I have lost some measure of hearing. And so, what was interesting is when you're talking to someone with a mask, and or a shield, it's so blocked. I can't constantly say, "I'm sorry, what did you say?".

The crew was also asked to stay clear of the cast, just so that we try not to get anyone infected, but that kind of segregated environment, it's uncomfortable, and it was it anti-social. And so, it's difficult.

We were looking at just shooting the last two and a half episodes of the series so it was easier to think, "OK, we're near the finish line, let's just power through with these conditions that are in place that are necessary". But, if I were just starting an eight-month project with these protocols in place, it would be a little depressing, to be absolutely honest with you.

Hopefully, we'll be able to get back to a point where we can all be in the same room, where we can hug each other again, but we have to have universal cooperation. It's not a country effort, it's not a political effort, it's a human effort. Let's do the right thing. Let's wear our masks. Let's beat this.

:: Your Honour is released on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on Tuesday March 2

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