- Bryan Cranston was cast as the Devil in the 2006 ABC Family miniseries Fallen.
- His casting was initially doubted by his co-star Paul Wesley due to his reputation as a comedic actor from Malcolm in the Middle.
- Cranston’s later success in Breaking Bad opened the door to a wider range of roles and expanded his career opportunities.
Future Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston played Lucifer in the ABC Family miniseries Fallen, but his co-star doubted his abilities beforehand. The miniseries, which was based on the The Fallen novels by Thomas Sniegoski, aired in three parts between 2006 and 2007. It starred Paul Wesley as Aaron Corbett, a teenager who discovers he is the Redeemer, who can return fallen angels to Heaven.
Wesley recently appeared on the Inside of You podcast, where he and host Michael Rosenbaum discussed his career from the early days to his recent appearance as young Captain Kirk on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. During their conversation, he discusses when he learned that Bryan Cranston had been cast as the Devil in Fallen. Wesley revealed that he didn’t “see how this is gonna work” because he had pre-judged Cranston based on his character from the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. Read Wesley’s full quote below:
Bryan Cranston… he’s a buddy of mine…. So I was the lead of this ABC Family show called Fallen… It was a great miniseries about this… young kid who’s a fallen angel. He figures out that he’s actually the son of the Devil. It was gonna be this huge stunt casting thing at the end of episode 5 where we reveal the Devil.
They were like “We’re gonna cast someone someone amazing…” I was waiting, waiting, waiting for who they were gonna cast, and suddenly they were like, “We got the dad from Malcolm in the Middle.” I was like “Wait, what? What do you mean? The dad from Malcolm in the Middle? How’s he gonna play Lucifer? I don’t see how this is gonna work. It’s comedy.”
So Bryan of course nailed it… And then he went on to get Breaking Bad… and went on to be who he is today. Even I was guilty of judging Bryan Cranston, who’s arguably one of the greatest actors right now period… based on Malcolm in the Middle.
Breaking Bad Showed the World What Bryan Cranston Could Do
As Wesley reveals, Bryan Cranston was originally known for playing the goofy dad Hal Wilkerson on the Frankie Muniz sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. The popular comedy, which ran for 151 episodes between 2001 and 2006, helped cement his reputation as a comic actor. In 2008, when he was given the opportunity to play the complicated antihero Walter White in the five-season AMC crime drama Breaking Bad, Cranston was finally able to show the darker side of his range to a wider audience.
The series pulled Cranston out of being typecast, but it also showcased his general acting skill. Although he was nominated for three Emmys and one Golden Globe for Malcolm in the Middle, Breaking Bad earned him six Emmy nominations and four wins as well as four Golden Globe nominations and one win. He would also go on to acclaim for other roles, including his nomination for an Academy Award for his performance in 2015’s Trumbo.
Since Breaking Bad, Cranston has enjoyed a much wider range of roles. While this includes returning to comedy in movies like 2016’s Why Him?, he has expanded his range of potential genres considerably. However, without cutting his teeth on this devilish performance in Fallen, this expanded career might never have happened for him.
Source: Inside of You