Bryan Cranston is heading to the big screen for his next spine-chilling role. The former Breaking Bad lead has officially signed on to star in the upcoming thriller The Infiltrator.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Infiltrator is the first of a slate of seven projects from U.K. production banner Good Films. The film, described as “an investigator thriller,” is based on Robert Mazur’s autobiography of the same name. Adapted to the screen by Ellen Brown Furman, the movie will feature Cranston as Mazur, a former DEA agent who has to go undercover in order to bust notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Though Cranston has held supporting movie roles in the past, such as in Argo and Godzilla, this will mark the actor’s first time carrying a feature film — and there’s a reason he chose this particular role. Per THR, the project reunites Cranston with director Brad Furman. The two previously teamed up on the 2011 thriller The Lincoln Lawyer, which starred Matthew McConaughey.
His relationship with the director aside, the role sounds like a perfect match for Cranston. Good Films founder Miriam Segal explains the film as one “that demands a dynamic and complex leading man,” a description that many would agree fits Cranston to a tee. The actor has had his fair share of experience playing layered, complicated characters. He earned four Emmys (including three consecutive) for his dark and often terrifying portrayal of school teacher-turned-meth mogul Walter White in AMC’s hit crime series Breaking Bad.
If his time on the show proved anything, it’s that Cranston is at his best working with material meant to leave viewers on the edge of their seat. From the sounds of it, that’s exactly what he’ll be doing in The Infiltrator. Like in Breaking Bad, the movie will show Cranston’s character wrestling with two personas — although this time he’ll be fighting drugs, not making them. Mazur uses the alias of Bob Musella, a big shot with connections to the mob, in order to go undercover and collect information on Escobar’s money laundering operation.
Mazur himself has already expressed excitement at news of the casting. “Frankly, I couldn’t be happier or prouder. The man is clearly, extraordinarily talented,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. He also praised the movie’s team, saying: “These are people I’ve now dealt with for years. I think I’m a pretty good evaluator of people’s agendas — that’s what I did for a living undercover — and not only are they super-talented people … (but) very respectful of the story.”
Furman has had mixed results with his projects in the past. Though Lincoln Lawyer was well received, Runner, Runner, his most recent directorial effort starring Brad Pitt and Justin Timberlake, earned overwhelmingly negative critical reviews. Still, having Cranston on board definitely makes the project more appealing.. The actor garnered a cult following on Breaking Bad and has continued to earn critical acclaim even after the show ended.
Earlier this year, he won a Tony for his Broadway run as President Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Way. Fans have been eagerly waiting to see what he’ll take on next, and The Infiltrator seems action-packed enough to draw those looking to (temporarily) fill the Breaking Bad void — even though Cranston will only be pretending to be a bad guy this time around.
The Infiltrator will be partly filmed in Tampa, where Mazur was a resident. Per the Tampa Bay Times, London and Paris are also slated as filming locations. Though no release date for the film has been revealed just yet, shooting is reportedly scheduled to begin in February.
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