Bryan Cranston has told Sky News he believes everyone should take some time out from time to time.
The actor spoke to Sky News ahead of the release of his new film Wakefield about his character – the titular Howard Wakefield – who abandons his life and his family but stays close by in order to observe them.
Cranston admits that while he was initially hesitant about taking the role, he could relate to Wakefield.
“Wakefield deals with a lot of social issues and one of them is a familial issue of abandonment -the man abandons his family and I have abandonment in my family’s history, so it’s a touchy subject with me, not me personally – my father,” Cranston said.
“So I kind of pushed it [the role] away at first, then I thought about it and realised, and what experiences like Breaking Bad taught me, is that it’s not imperative that you like a character. It’s imperative that you understand a character.”
“And I did understand Howard Wakefield, and despite some of the disturbing actions that he took, I got him and I related to many of it.”
In the film, Wakefield lives in an attic above his garage from which he can see his family. He creates a home there, foraging for food and discarding his phone.
Cranston thinks that taking a break from technology is something we can all benefit from.
“New technology has demanded that we produce more and we’re available 24/7 and at times you just want to slow down and get away from it and put the phone down and not have all those minutiae of details that you have to pay attention to,” he said.
“I’m absolutely as addicted as anyone else, because it’s a great tool.”
Cranston – who initially found fame playing the scatty father of the family Hal in Malcolm In The Middle – is best known for his role as chemistry teacher turned meth-maker Walter White in Breaking Bad – a role he received multiple awards and nominations for.
He said that while the show changed his life, he has had to make an effort to keep a work-life balance.
“Breaking Bad broke it open for me, and the dam was broken, the water rushed out and I had a lot of tremendous opportunity,” he said.
“But in so doing I could keep busy every moment of my life, for however many years – and that’s great to have those choices, but I have other obligations and desires that are familial, so I need to say no as I need to nurture this area.
“Just seeking some balance – a little time for myself, time for my child, time for my marriage, time for my neighbour, time for life.”
Sky News asked Cranston if he’s managing to strike that balance, and he admitted that it takes work.
“It’s never always perfect, but you get out of balance, just like an automobile needs a tune-up. So do we. We need tune-ups from time to time.”
Wakefield is out on digital platforms from 28 July.