tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg May 27, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT
this with my name above the title on a broadway house, it stopped me cold. i couldn't move. i couldn't believe it. to see this whole thing happening. an emotional moment, all my god -- oh, my god. you have hopes and aspirations this will happen but it -- you never actually think it is going to. i want to pick up the phone and share this -- i did. i called my wife and daughter and said, i have to show you a picture. i took a picture of that. i sent it to her. it was like, you are kidding. my daughter is laughing. i am just a goofy guy who lives at home. you are seeing a guy who is above the marquis in the hottest play on broadway. >> bryan cranston makes his
♪ >> outside the neil simon theater in new york, we could not help but run into some of his fans. >> in a good way? you should come see the play. >> we would like to but we are only here a day. we will come back. >> come today. come on. >> we are such big fans of yours. >> thank you. >> we also went backstage. >> here is the -- the entrances
we have going backstage. we have some props over here. i want to show you. >> cutty sark. >> just a little bit of cutty, that is all he needed. linden --forget that lyndon johnson was the person who put the stuff in the white house. >> he did. he said to nixon, you are going to need this. you will forget what people tell you in private. he considered a recorded phone call private. make sure they tell you in person. for the memoirs. he planted that idea in nixon's head. i want to show you something. >> oh my gosh nests. >> -- oh, my goodness. >> these are my your lobes.
i put them with a little glue. >> that is good. >> something like that. it gives me an extra -- >> they just hang there. [laughter] >> it is like i am wearing heavy earrings. would you like to try them on? >> this is the phone? >> remember these? rotary dial. >> we have hats. >> 20 different actors. 38 different characters. people have taken on and off. wigs. it is a madhouse during a show. >> johnson wore a cowboy hat only time. cowboyooked right in a hat. but is a dangerous thing for a president to wear a hat. remember michael dukakis? wearing a helmet?
he lost the election right there. >> this cup -- this doesn't belong. >> i remember candidate obama was given a somewhere. ombrero. that is an election killer right there. >> have you done theater before this -- when was the last time? >> i did two plays in between the end of malcolm in the middle and the beginning of breaking bad. >> you are always anxious to get back? >> if you get a play that resonates and make sense, seems challenging, that is what you are looking for. >> we sat down for an extended interview about this role and his career. you finished breaking bad. why this? broadwayn johnson on for bryan cranston? or looks atany act
broadway as the pinnacle of their career. i had it on my bucket list to do a broadway show. that was going to be very exciting for me if that was possible. of breaking bad created such a fervor that it got a lot of attention. i was caught up in that maelstrom of energy. i thought, i have an opportunity now. i knew after 14 years of doing television, seven with "malcolm in the middle," six with "breaking bad," it was time to step away. hide oout so to speak -- ut, so to speak, in the theater. and to do a character i can sink my teeth into.
know about did you lyndon johnson other than the fact he was president during vietnam? >> i think the interesting concept is that for most people, when they think of lyndon johnson, they think of the failures of vietnam. that is his legacy. in the 50th anniversary of the first year of his presidency. the civil rights act -- >> which this play is about. which this about -- play is about, from the first year of his presidency. i think it is credible and important to be able to revisit that legacy. not in a historical revisionist sort of way. were the at congressman's that he actually took? >> there are people that think that vietnam is a scar, but it is important for a kind of balancing of what he accomplished.
extraordinary legislative achievements in the great society. >> i agree. you don't want to diminish the unfortunate condition of vietnam. even linden, and my research -- i was listening to some tapes that he had. he is talking with russell, his mentor. he is saying, i don't see how we can win this. why we are even there. we don't have any business there. why would i send kids off to die? for what? he was lamenting the fact that there was no rightful place for america to be involved in that war. the escalation was certainly on his shoulders. to hisened to it is -- advisors and generals and pushed forward. my theory is it was his political hubris that did that. >> political hubris? >> yes.
he did not want to be known as the first president to lose a war. >> he said that. >> yeah. vulnerablewant to be to attacks by barry goldwater during the campaign of 1964. that he was weak, soft on military. scared. have the red scare come in and to be a factor in that election. >> he is an interesting guy. i know a lot of people think he is the most interesting president of the last -- after roosevelt. the most interesting guy to inhabit the office. the largeness of the personality. >> unbelievable. i think it was bill moyers who said linden johnson -- lyndon johnson is 11 of the most interesting people i have met. he is the full spectrum of
emotion. you cannot assign anyone attitude to him. you have to use all of them. passionaterial and and interesting. wallowing in self-pity. brazen, funny, embracing, threatening, ferocious. you never knew what part of lyndon johnson you were going to receive when you walked into his office. >> is probably dependent on what his needs were. >> absolutely. his political acumen, the flipside of that hubris going -- coin, was unmatched since roosevelt. he knew everyone in the house of representatives. anyone in the senate. he knew what those senators and congressmen wanted for their own political base and needs. he gave them. he worked hard to give them what
they wanted so he could get what he needed. >> politics was a transaction. >> it was a beautiful thing in his words. >> he loved it he read -- he loved it. >> it was brutal and it cost him. but that is the difference. would ripssel said he it off and hit two over the head with it. outhen you begin to figure -- you talked about before as an actor, how you begin to get inside a character. by the end of your process, you are him. anyway, yes. when an actor for starts -- first starts, the character is floating somewhere out there.
the more research you do and the more you allow the character to be absorbed into your being, the more secure you feel. it feels like there is a transitional. transitional period. it comes inside. from that point on, you hold on and let the character live. when you read source material or comments from the director or writer about the text or your character, it then goes through that filter you have created. either sits well or not. night after night, i am trying to be a new era >> really?? absolutely. there is a passage in the play where i am in the mutilating -- where i am manipulating hoover. >> j edgar hoover. >> i just got off the phone
with the governor of mississippi. he is not doing anything about looking for the three boys who went missing during freedom summer. i amvince the governor going to send the fbi down there. oh, no, no/ . ok. then i tell hoover, but governor -- the governor once the fbi to look into the kids. be happyys, i would to, but we don't have jurisdiction. i talked to bobby. i was probably lying about that. last night or the night before, i said, no, i talked to bobby. i indicate to my help, i talked to bobby, indicating i had no idea. it got a laugh. constituting -- you are
constantly allowing it to stay alive. i don't want to to set in concrete. no matter what happens or audience you have, you are doing the same performance. the same words -- but there is a different feeling to it. >> doesn't matter how you felt? about how actors might give a different performance because they are feeling different. >> i think it is important to be honest about that. if you are not feeling well, you may have to augment your natural performance and play it under, hopefully with the same intensity or intention, but maybe not with the same volume or energy. >> what does the audience do for you? >> it is wonderful to be able to
feel the immediate response. gasps, push backs in their seat. you can feel it. sometimes they go for the jugular, as lindenwood -- as lyndon would. >> he could sense blood in the water. it if you were week, he had you. >> he fed into that. there is this. the greatln, performance we saw by daniel day-lewis, who won an academy andd, he had photographs history books. o's you had robert car autobiography -- biography. you had recordings. people that knew him. video of him making speeches. >> there is no excuse for me to
be bad. is that where you are going? >> this is a piece of cake. [laughter] come on. there is this. he is my height, 6'3". you are less than that. >> that is true. i am just at six foot. a little less. >> everybody talks about how they don't sense that. they sent the towering presence of him. how did you come up with the idea of being able to suggest that lyndon johnson powered over people? >> three inch lifts. with lists. i want to tell you a secret. i had a conversation with the head of wardrobe. i said, i want you to go into everyone's wardrobe and grab their shoes. take the heels of their shoes down an inch. i was serious.
thatohnson treatment -- was a big part of it. he used his size and girth to be able to intimidate. he invaded their space. he was right in on people. he would then them backwards. >> there is the famous photograph of the senator from rhode island. >> it could be in a good way. he is smiling. or he is poking the chest. it isis hopeful -- helpful to have all that material. >> i don't have his girth. he was always battling his weight. he had terrible eating habits. it was not important to him. it was sustenance. . lifts that get me close. i have height and be with you. i went, dam you. i wish i had that. >> i wish i had your talent.
it is a trade-off. >> i have prophetic earlobes. prosthetic earlobes. >> wouldn't you love to have a commerce asian with him now? what would you -- wouldn't you love to have a conversation with him now? what would you ask? >> the most important thing -- i would ask something that no one else would ask him. or i would think no one else would ask. that would be something like, childhood memory. i would want to get in and say, what was your first pet? what was the first thing that you ever really got so excited about? >> that is such a good instinct.
i used to be the producer for bill moyers. we went on to do an interview with jimmy carter, when he had just gotten the nomination. bill and i talked about it. bill asked him about first memories of growing up and playing. this was almost like, then candidate carter went back. he was back in that time and place. the emotional charge of the interview was elevated. it wasn't just a political interview. this is where i came from. the thing i would like to explore with him is the notion of where his spear was. -- jhihs fear was. where was his vulnerability? we know of a connection to his mother. that will give you a sense of the balance between insecurity
and overconfidence. >> his mother who he admired and loved, but was also very strict for the time. she was the disciplinarian, and tough one. and a there were times when she would withhold affection from young if she was displeased with his behavior or grades. -- almost like he was not in the room. i don't hear him, i don't see him. for a young boy, that created extremeemptiness and desire to be loved. that is what i found the emotional core of lyndon johnson. >> the need to be loved? >> the need to be loved.
the need, the desperate desire to be loved. >> the interesting thing is people say, i didn't necessarily like him. but i love him. i knew beyond all this stuff, the ends justify the means. >> his -- the end was so valuable and ultra mystic and altruisitic and and important, but the means were treacherous and unapologetic. he would take your nose and rub it into your own fecal matter. he would just -- he was unbelievable, some of the things he did. >> someone said he was a great rent for two or -- rancatouer.
violent and vile. utterly terrible. is there a link between walter white and linda johnson? -- lyndon johnson? >> walter white was real. [laughter] he was real to me. unless youy someone make him real. yeah, there are similarities. i think both had created and allowed the incredible drive it and ambition to be unleashed. >> and the end justifies the means. walter white saving his family so he can do whatever he wants. >> it is for my family. lyndon johnson is for the betterment of the country. i'm cutting your balls off for the betterment of the country.
it was necessary to protect the country. i know you know the scene. >> go ahead sir. >> this is joe. >> your father is the one who makes clothes? you made me some real light weight slacks. to me three or four months ago. a light around and a light green. they are real light weight. i need about six pairs for summer wear. >> you recall the size? >> no, i don't know.. what -- once you have the measurements? i can send you a pair. i want them half an inches wider
and the waste. but i want to-three inches left so i can take them back up. i very 10-15 pounds a month. make these one half inch bigger than the waste. make the pockets an inch longer. my money and my knife fallout. the pockets, when i sit in the chair, the pockets and knife fallout. another thing, the crotch is a little too tight. when you make them up, give me an inch i can let out. they cut me. it is like a writing a wire fence. best i have had anywhere in the united states. when i gained a little weight, they cut me under there.
see if you can't leave me about an inch from where the zipper ends right under the back of my bunghole. so i can let it out if i need to. >> there you go. >> this is the president of the united states. [laughter] talking to his tailor. >> you can tell, he is eating and drinking. he is doing three or four or five things at a time. he got involved in every little detail. the measurement . he wanted an inch more in his pockets. so my pocket knife does not fallout. the president of the united states. and you never know when i'm going to have to whittle. i need to cut this budget. here's what we are going to do. [laughter]
>> how did you get the voice? >> going down to hell country country helps a lot. the basic thing is dropping the ing. you got the heart a -- hard r of the midwest which is different than the soft r of the south. it was a hard r, but with a twain. -- twang. git for get. >> do you do this on your own or with somebody that understands dialect? coach thata dialect helps tremendously. pick apart words.
cutting it short when it needs to be drawled. just being open to it and listening. >> tell me about the satisfaction of being here, on stage. having people in the audience. having a chance to mold and shape it. >> it is deeply gratifying. this is my joy. i love to act. i love to come to theater. a day off is great for rest. >> you don't speak on a day off? >> idles big on monday. the thing is, is not a monday -- i don't speak on monday. the thing is, it is not a monday. i look forward to coming to the theater. >> when do you come? >> i'm here an hour and a half before the curtain. usually people get here in our
-- half an hour before and get into the customs quickly. i am the first one here. i take my time. i put my own makeup on. do my hair. >> you have done this always? >> on the show. with film and television, you have people doing that. for walter white, i am usually in the makeup and hair chair at 5:30 or six clock in the morning. 5:30 or 6:00? those are my hours. >> we are simpatico. i turned 40 when we were doing malcolm in the middle. i turned 50 when doing breaking bad. i know the business and life
owes me nothing he everything you are able to achieve is a gift. i never forget that. actingthere are careers, careers, that sometimes go nowhere. i have no idea why this happened to me. i love it. i am always involved. there's a tremendous amount of luck that is necessary to have a successful career. >> the same change things? -- does fame change things? >> it does. in good ways and not so good ways. i don't seek fame. it is a byproduct of what i love to do. the good things -- first of all, financial security. i never have to work another day in my life. but i don't work for money anyway. i have people who are incentivized to have me earn a good living. i trust them.
i don't even know what i'm making during the play. >> you really don't? >> i know the ballpark. you don't read your contracts? >> i never read my contracts. i say to my agents, are you happy? if they say, i think we can get more, that i try to get more. i don't need money -- i don't want to sound like i don't need money. it is great. i have had none, and having it is better. but it is not what motivates me. >> there was a time in your life when you liked to observe, go to the mall, and just see how people are. get a sense of rings that might play, might he tools to use any performance. actor's job.e i tell young actors, if you are
bored, you are not doing enough for. -- work. what can i do if i'm not acting? work. you can go to an airport or a restaurant or mall. you observe human behavior. you take it in. you say that couple is silently arguing. how fascinating. what is the difference and then talking to men and women talking to women? a mana man and a woman, on the make. the flirtation that she may be showing or not. >> it is all human behavior. >> is all human behavior. no matter what the condition, you can be working. the interesting thing about fame -- i was talking to david to company about this -- he said, once the observer becomes the observed, your cover is blown. their behavior changes.
>> you're exactly right. behavior ifge their i am recognized, and all bets are off. >> this is akin to this. there was a great acting coach actors to walk around. because they were thinking about it, they're walking would be affected. ask them to think about some thing else. once they thought about southern else, they did not have a sense of being observed. the walk would change. >> that became more natural. to have ay you have thought of what my objective is when you go onstage. for any given point. what is just happening? what do i need to do? so you're not thinking, how am i sitting? otherwise you become self-conscious. you are not doing your work. ♪
bad"e have seen "breaking have all the success that i was lucky enough to be part of? >> in the final episode. >> they call the penultimate episode, which i like better. >> would you go back, please? there. >> this? just yesterday, your charity announced a $28 million rent ugrd -- grant fioor drago abuse treatment in the southwest. >> the southwest is our home. >> i am sure there are other people who are suggesting other motives.
times reporter said it was a publicity mover to short the stock rice because of your association with walter white? >> that is not exactly -- youo clench your self -- kingpin asmphetamine a cofounder of your company. >> i hope you understand this is a person who was there early on but still had nothing to do with the growing of the company. >> what was walter white's contribution? >> to be honest, nothing. >> the company name. >> your appearance gave credence. it gave people a sense that, this is real. >> thank you. the point was, this was so huge. breaking bad.
i had never seen anything like it in terms of how people took note of the fact you were associated with "breaking bad.": you look back on that experience and obviously achieved your life. >> i knew when i read the pilot script by vince gilligan that there were something special. there is no way -- >> it was that good of a script. >> it was terrific. i related to this man. i knew men like him. who had missed opportunities in their lives. functioning, still functioning and loving to their butly, paying their bills, there was something that died in the interior. they are putting one step in front of the other. they are in a deep depression. in doing some of the research, i found that in broad strokes,
when people are in deep depression, there are two basic externally andts internally. that scum a he's screwed me -- that boss, he screwed me. >> someone else's fault. >> or, it is me. i missed it. i go into a shell. that was walter white. he didn't care about his looks or weight. nothing mattered to him. he was invisible to himself and the world. this ironic diagnosis of terminal cancer was his get out of jail free card. it it exploded his emotion. >> it gave him reason and purpose to live. >> even if it is just for a short. period of time.
>> i love it. >> it was for me. i was good at it. that is the brilliance of the vince's writing. confess to the hubris. that was a full actuation of the character. that he came to understand who he was in the evil that men do. >> your father was one of those men. >> physically. walter white that was much older than he was chronologically. i wanted to give him sloped shoulders. his posture was bad. he was a little overweight. i wanted to give him the 25ghtiness of a man who was -30 years older. >> closer to your mom. >> might up reading was a mess. it was a mess.
it was like living two different lives. up until 10 years old, it was a model life. they were both there. my dad was one of our coaches and sports. taking us places. my mom was the team mom and tupperware lady. making our costumes for halloween. didn'tey realized they -- my dad did not want to be with my mother and they split up, it exploded. it was not like coming to an understanding. it exploded. immaturityonal damaged the rest of the structure. i didn't see my father for 10 years. >> didn't see him? >> no. nothing. did not see him. he had a breakdown.
he was 48. >> was about success? >> it was. the lack of success. his frustration at not being -- he was an actor. his frustration at not being a star. he wanted to be a star. like a lot of people. he didn't handle it well when he was getting to be a certain age -- i am sure there are deeper convocations i was not privy to. he is of a generation where ,evealing those inner thoughts men would rather go to their admit what they consider weakness. >> not being a star is a weakness. >> or to be able to say, i felt this. nearingday, and he is 90 --
>> he is seen everything good that happened to you. relationship,the all of us want to say, i did ok, dad. >> he is extremely proud. extremely proud. and he has changed. as men do three tough him a old guard guys soft and. -- as men do. soften.ld guard guys >> lyndon johnson went back to the texas health country after saying he would not run for another term. he started smoking again. caro.t this from robert nailew he was nailing a into his coffin. what was that about? >> there was a certain amount of -- he was a great prognosticator. he knew he would die of a heart attack. >> he had had two heart attacks
already. >> he knew he would die of a heart attack. he did. 64 years old. which is young. [laughter] >> but he knew he was going to die. it was like courting death. >> maybe that is why he thought, the hell with it. it's going to happen anyway. had he run for reelection and won in 1968, he would have died three days after his term would have ended. of 1973.n january if he were elected to a second term of the presidency, i think he would've died in office. so did lady bird. the stress, the amount of stress. in the way vietnam was rolling out. he was not capable of commanding that war.
he was not able to know how to end of that war. >> you wonder when you think about what that meant to the country and toward the country tryrt -- and tore the counrt and how much he hated it, cause his drive was to do something about education and poverty. all the things that roosevelt wanted to do. you would hope that in a case like that, somebody, for all of where we are in a place we are doing the wrong things, whether it is district of or think of philip seymour hoffman with a different thing, addiction. >> linden was addicted as well. his addiction was politics. he was not -- he did not read. he didn't go to theater or the concerts. >> he went to baseball to court
richard russell. >> his arena was politics. the only books he ever read were biographies of presidents he admired. maybe he could glean something from them. he was a machine of politics. true, good, all twisted contentions -- altruistic intentions. he didn't care how we got there. he just wanted to get the a congressman's. his a, schmitz are unparalleled. >> people who love them said he was larger than life. in the end, they knew however despicable he was, his heart in the end was in the right place. >> he got things done. >> which brings me to the president obama comparison. if only the president were more like lyndon johnson.
he would be able to do more with the republicans in the congress. unfair to ourt is president. >> so to see. -- so does he. >> he is his own man. there are two distinct theerences that don't allow system to work as it did in johnson's day. ownident's experience. he did not have the years in the house and senate that johnson did. johnson had 12 years in the house, 12 in the senate. gross to the most powerful position in the senate before taking on the vice presidency. he knew all the players. everything about them. what they wanted. he knew their wives. he could be ice and say, how was margaret.
bill.d to get that he would catch them. he just complement and my wife, i have to help them. president obama does not have the same experience. the second thing is, i don't think the temperament or the attitude and sensibility in johnson's days -- this is just my opinion -- was, this is politics. it is a horse trade. if you want to get something you need and want for the betterment of the country, it will cost you. werewolf come from. >> -- where will it come from. >> you have to do something for me. >> blood sweat and tears. now, it is arms folded. theill not even, meant other side. >> it is a zero sum game. if i succeed, you fail. >> the wrong point of view is
applied. in johnson's day, the intention was, let's do something for the betterment of the country. now, it is a let's win. we are doing subbing for our side to win. is that best for the country? it is many times not. i think our president is in this dayto be and age and live in that kind of cesspool of attitude. >> he knew the game, but he had the majority. he had the fact that people wanted the country to do well after the tragic assassination of president kennedy. >> johnson knew he had a window of opportunity. >> the other thing that is isser rating -- that fascinating to me is the idea of bobby kennedy. this guy that became vice
president and all the sudden was diminished. >> lyndon johnson heated being vice president. it was an impotent role. so why did he take it? trounced byot kennedy in the primaries. he saw the handwriting on the wall. he thought, my opportunity to get in and become president is limited by age. in., king arthur just came he is going to be president. he is to be president for eight years. whoever his vice president is will have the inside track. not necessarily guaranteed. but the inside track to be the next president for eight years. if i'm going to get in, i am looking 16 years down the road.
i think it was a calculated move on his part. i have to bite the bullet, except the vice presidency, -- vi presidency, bring the southwes with me, and hopefully get the nomination in the years. >> i need someone more personable. people like you -- even dick russell likes you. >> really? pressurender a lot of to announce my running mat e. are telling me i have to pick bobby kennedy. there was a time when they look down on me like i was some sort of country bunk and --
bumkin. >> where is your ambition? what is it that bryan cranston wants to do or needs to do? >> rest. i need to rest. i go pretty hard at it. it is so much fun. i'm having a great time. but i think, when this is over, when i finally leave the stage for the last time, i'm going to collapse. [laughter] your body has a tendency to hold on, hold on, hold on. it is physically and emotionally demanding. i love putting it all out there. i think i want to relax for a while and let it rest. see what happens next. >> thank you for doing this. >> i so appreciated. -- i so appreciate it. >> they show up at school hungry
because most have not had breakfast. but they were so on fire to learn. it made you feel good. but thereould, day -- would come a day when i would see the light in the eyes die, because i discovered the world hated them because of the color of their skin. as a southerner, i have had to bite my tongue on this issue my entire life. until my mouth was full of blood. not anymore. hell is the point of being president if you can't do what you know is right? this is not about the constitution. this is about those who have more wanting to hang on to what they have at the expense of those who have nothing. and feel good about it. dick can talk about his right until he is blue in the
>> this is "taking stock" for tuesday, may 27th, 2014. i'm pimm fox. the united states has unofficially started summer and it is cooling off. minus5 degrees ice bar in some areas. the founder tells me how this new concept is catching fire in the united states. are you planning a scuba vacation? there is a new business based on creating artificial reefs. we will speak to the owner.
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