Bryan Cranston On How He Had To Confront His White Privilege For New Role

Hannah Smith

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Bryan Cranston On How He Had To Confront His White Privilege For New Role

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Justin Bettman/Gil Cates Theater

Bryan Cranston has said that the Black Lives Matter protests led him to confront his own 'white blindness', by taking on a new role exploring the impact of white privilege and 'free speech'.

The Breaking Bad actor is set to star in Power of Sail, a play about a white academic who faces backlash for inviting a Holocaust denier to speak at an event.

Cranston explained that he had been motivated to take on the role by a desire to challenge his own privilege, saying 'I’m 65 years old now, and I need to learn, I need to change.'

Bryan Cranston (Alamy)
Bryan Cranston (Alamy)

Cranston had initially been set to direct a staging of The Foreigner, a comedy about the Ku Klux Klan, but said the murder of George Floyd and the global outcry that followed led him to re-examine whether the play was appropriate.

'It is a privileged viewpoint to be able to look at the Ku Klux Klan and laugh at them and belittle them for their broken and hateful ideology, but the Ku Klux Klan and Charlottesville and white supremacists – that’s still happening and it’s not funny,' he said, adding, 'It’s not funny to any group that is marginalized by these groups’ hatred, and it really taught me something,' he told the LA Times.

After realising that he'd only found the play funny because of this 'privileged viewpoint', Cranston said he had a wider epiphany about his 'need to change', telling the Times, 'I realised, ‘Oh my God, if there’s one, there’s two, and if there’s two, there are 20 blind spots that I have … what else am I blind to?''

Cranston stepped aside from the play, instead saying he'd only agree to be involved in 'something that changes the conversation'.

Bryan Cranston (Alamy)
Bryan Cranston (Alamy)

That led to his upcoming role in Power of Sail, which he says will 'challenge' whether or not there should be limits to the idea of unrestricted free speech.

'There need to be barriers, there need to be guard rails,' Cranston argued, adding 'if someone wants to say the Holocaust was a hoax, which is against history… to give a person space to amplify that speech is not tolerance. It’s abusive.'

Cranston most recently appeared in the 2020 Showtime series Your Honor, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe.

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Topics: Celebrity, Film and TV

Hannah Smith
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