Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston details the thoughtful origins of Walter White’s appearance, including his “impotent” mustache and colorless clothing.

Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston details the origins of Walter White’s look. Known previously for playing Hal in Malcolm in the Middle, Cranston went on to portray the dispirited high-school chemistry teacher turned meth manufacturer in AMC’s acclaimed drama. Over five seasons, Breaking Bad took Walt from “Mr. Chips to Scarface,” as creator Vince Gilligan puts it, which earned Cranston much critical acclaim and three consecutive Emmy Awards for his outstanding performance.

During a appearance on GQ‘s series in which actors break down their most iconic characters, Cranston detailed the specific origins of Walt’s distinct look.

The Breaking Bad star explained everything from his character’s physical appearance to his questionable wardrobe choices, including what each aspect of his look was meant to convey. See Cranston’s detailed explanation below:

I started out that character very meek, very, submissive and passive, a pushover, because he didn’t know who he was. Then once I got that, I went, oh, he should be a little overweight with the love handles. He should be pasty white. He should have a mustache that looks like, either grow one or cut it, one or the other. And then I called it an impotent mustache.

And I know how to shape an impotent mustache if anyone’s interested. If a mustache drops below the creases of the lips, no, that gets badass, that gets nasty. So you have to make sure that’s always above the crease of the lips. And you thin it out so you can see skin underneath it. And it doesn’t look as masculine. It just seems, what’s the point? Well, I was always looking for those what’s the point?

And I chose my clothes in conversations with the costume designer to select clothes that blend in the wall, beiges, off whites, pastels, soft yellows, things like that. Sand color, anything, he didn’t, he disappeared. He was a nobody. I took all the color highlights outta my hair, which I had. It was kind of brown with kind of reddish highlights. Took it all out, just deadened it, took the color outta my face. All of a sudden you start to see yourself and then you put on those clothes and you go, I know you, let’s go play.

Related: Bryan Cranston’s Two Favorite Episodes Of Breaking Bad

How Walter White’s Look Evolved Over Breaking Bad

Bryan Cranston in Heisenberg outfit in Breaking Bad

As Cranston explains, every aspect of Walter White’s appearance from his “impotent” mustache to his colorless clothing was designed to represent the character’s timid nature. Over the course of Breaking Bad, Walt’s appearance evolves with the character himself, which is especially reflected in his facial hair and clothing. As he takes on his Heisenberg persona, Walt’s meager mustache grows into a fuller and more imposing goatee. He also trades in his beige and khaki-colored clothing for blacks and darker browns, along with adding his iconic porkpie hat to his ensemble.

Cranston’s explanation of the origins behind Walt’s appearance is a testament to how much detail the actor, Gilligan, and the costume designers put into crafting the Breaking Bad universe and its characters. This incredible attention to detail, which is largely responsible for landing Breaking Bad among the greatest television dramas of all time, continued into the spinoff series Better Call Saul when depicting Jimmy McGill’s transformation into Saul Goodman. With Better Call Saul wrapping up the story for the time being, it remains to be seen if another shared television universe will ever come along with an equal penchant for visual storytelling.

More: 15 Years Later – Why Breaking Bad Has Aged So Well

Source: GQ

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