Bryan Cranston’s post-“Breaking Bad” career has taken him from LBJ on Broadway and television (“All the Way”) to James Franco movies (“In Dubious Battle,” “Why Him?,” “The Disaster Artist”) to indie flicks (“The Infiltrator” and “Wakefield”). However, he may have finally found the lead role that will land him his second Oscar nomination after “Trumbo.”
Word is, Cranston delivers in “Boyhood” writer-director Richard Linklater’s September 28 New York Film Festival opener, the road trip drama “Last Flag Flying” (November 3, Amazon). Adapted from the 2005 Darryl Ponicsan novel, Cranston plays one of three Vietnam Navy veterans who reunite to bury one of their sons, an Iraq soldier. Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne costar.
A sort of “spiritual sequel” to Hal Ashby’s 1973 film “The Last Detail,” which starred Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, and Otis Young in an adaptation of Ponicsan’s novel, that film followed two Navy sailors who show their pal a good time while escorting him to prison. “Last Flag Flying” picks up with the characters of “The Last Detail” decades later. Carell takes the role originally played by Quaid, with Bryan Cranston in the Nicholson role and Fishburne picking up for Young.
Next up: March 9th, the Weinstein Co. will release retitled comedy “The Upside,” Neil Burger’s American remake of the Cesar-winning French sleeper “The Intouchables” ($426 million worldwide) in which Cranston plays a wheelchair-bound New York millionaire quadriplegic whose tough lieutenant (Nicole Kidman) hires a near-homeless man (Kevin Hart) to assist him. The diminutive comedian beat out Chris Tucker, Jamie Foxx, Chris Rock, and Idris Elba for the juicy role of the young ex-con who becomes his challenging caregiver. Needless to say, conflict and mayhem ensue. TWC’s sizzle reel in Cannes was hilarious.