Details: Your character, Walter White, has experienced quite a downward spiral. At the end of last season, he indirectly caused a plane crash. Is it time to change the name of the show to Broken Bad?
Bryan Cranston: I think the current tense is still accurate: breaking. He is continuing to break, and there is more bad work to be done. You have no idea.
Details: You actually directed the first episode of the new season. What's your technique?
Bryan Cranston: Well, the first thing I realized is the man playing Walter White is brilliant. I start with a compliment to that young man every time and tell the rest of the cast they have to get up to snuff to match him. [Laughs] You have to like puzzles, because directing is like putting a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle together without having the luxury of the picture on the box. It's all in your head—put the edges together, get the frame, and then start filling the interior.
Details: The meth-making in Breaking Bad looks pretty authentic. Are there a lot of shady-looking technical advisers lurking on set?
Bryan Cranston: Not unless you call DEA chemists shady. They're not on set all the time, but they advised us on the complicated issues.
Details: So you really know how to cook meth?
Bryan Cranston: I promptly forgot three quarters of it. It's a very technical thing, especially on Walt's level, which is not just street crank. This was my reintroduction to chemistry. It's fascinating. I wish I felt this way in high school.
Details: Looks like they have you in tighty-whities again this season. This has to be some kind of record for the most time spent in underwear on television.
Bryan Cranston: You know, I started to object to that imagery, but then I realized: You have to give America what they obviously want to see. This one's for you, ladies. If you're 65 or older, this one's for you.
Details: You played an army officer in Saving Private Ryan, and later this year you'll be seen in Red Tails, about the Tuskegee Airmen. What makes you such a believable soldier?
Bryan Cranston: I'm also playing a Civil War colonel in Andrew Stanton's upcoming film, John Carter of Mars. And years ago I was a northern colonel in the miniseries North & South: Book II. I think, if you look at all the craggly lines in my face, it looks like a battlefield. So you say, "That guy's been through a war! Let's put a uniform on him! Doesn't matter which one."
Details: Is it true you met your wife on a television show?
Bryan Cranston: I did, back in 1986. It was a show called Airwolf. I was the bad guy of the week, and she was a hostage or victim of the week. I threatened to kill her or date her. She took option two.
Details: Frankie Muniz of Malcolm in the Middle is now a drummer for a band called You Hang Up. Any paternal advice for your fake son?
Bryan Cranston: I just hope he gives me some fake tickets to the fake concerts they're gonna play.
Season 3 of Breaking Bad premieres Sunday, March 21, at 10 P.M.