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Bryan Cranston Remembers Jonathan Demme and The Film They Never Got To Do Together

Cranston was set to star in Demme's "Old Fires," but then the film never got made, much to their mutual disappointment.

Jonathan Demme, Bryan Cranston


“Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston and director Jonathan Demme had long wanted to work together, and came close in 2013.

Demme had tapped Cranston to star in “Old Fires,” playing a man who emerges from a coma and discovers that his family has moved on. Jason Segel and Jennifer Ehle were also attached to the film, which was written by Heather McGowan (“Tadpole”).

“It made me very sad this morning to hear the news [of Demme’s death],” Cranston told IndieWire on Wednesday. “He was such a kind man and I was so looking forward to working with him. Even though that project didn’t materialize, we were talking about other projects to do together.”

“Old Fires” ultimately didn’t move forward when Demme couldn’t secure the proper funding for the film.

READ MORE: Jonathan Demme’s Last Project, ‘Shots Fired,’ Airs Tonight — Remembering His Best TV Work

“There are so many aspects to putting a film together, it’s so delicate,” Cranston said. “At any given point, one element could become a sticking point or completely collapse. In this case, it was budgetary restraints. I think Jonathan wanted a certain number to reach and it fell short of that number, and he didn’t think he could do it for the very small budget that was set up. So it was not going to work.”

Cranston also believes the film world still wasn’t quite sold on him as a leading man at that time, as he was still known more for his TV work in series like “Breaking Bad” and “Malcolm in the Middle.”

READ MORE: Remembering Jonathan Demme: Why He Was One of the Great Filmmakers of Our Time

“This was prior to ‘Trumbo’ coming out and ‘All the Way,’ so maybe it was partly they didn’t want to invest in me at the time,” Cranston said. “But regardless of that business aspect, it was disappointing because I was looking forward to collaborating with him and continuing our friendship.”

Cranston said he flipped through old voice mails from Demme when he heard the news of the director’s passing. “I went back and I replayed a voice mail message that he left for me after he saw ‘Trumbo’ and he was just so effusive and supportive and loving,” Cranston said. “It’s so sad.”

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