Bryan Cranston: Who would play me in the film of my life? Mr Bean

The actor on a special kiss in improv class, snail jokes and the book that changed his life

Born in California, Bryan Cranston, 60, was a US television soap opera regular and had a recurring role in Seinfeld. Between 2008 and 2013, he played Walter White in Breaking Bad, which ran for five seasons, and this year he was nominated for an Oscar for Trumbo. His memoir, A Life In Parts, was published this week. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Robin Dearden, and daughter, Taylor, who are also actors.

When were you happiest?
Now is pretty damned good.

What is your earliest memory?
Crawling around the Christmas tree.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Impatience.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Every time I look in the mirror, I see an old guy I dont recognise.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Mr Bean.

What is your most unappealing habit?
I recycle religiously, and get on my high horse when people dont.

What is your favourite smell?
My daughters neck.

Which book changed your life?
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Decadent desserts.

To whom would you most like to say sorry?
Every girl I dated before I read Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My wife. We met on a terrible television drama called Airwolf. In every episode, the denouement had to include a helicopter.

What was the best kiss of your life?
A year after we met, my wife and I found ourselves in a comedy improv class together. We stayed in a kiss longer than was acceptable between friends, and thats when we knew.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
That I couldnt bridge the gap with my parents before they died. My mother died 10 years ago of Alzheimers, and my father died two years ago. He left when I was 11 and we got back in touch when Iwas 22.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
To Elizabethan England, to see the explosion of creativity in music and plays but only so long as I wasnt subjected to the plague.

When did you last cry, and why?
When I think of my mother. After my father left, she became an alcoholic and wallowed in resentment.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
If everybody was kind.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
When you are not feeling happy, pretend you are, and pretty soon you will be.

Tell us a joke
So there is a guy at home and theres a knock at the door. He opens it and theres no one there. Hes about to close the door when he notices that, on the ground, theres a snail looking up at him. He bends down, picks up the snail, steps out on to his porch and throws the snail as far as he can. Three years later, theres a knock at the door and the man opens the door, theres no one there. He looks down and theres the snail. The snail looks up at the man and says, Hey, what was that about?

Tell us a secret
Sometimes I dont really know what I am doing.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/22/bryan-cranston-when-not-feeling-happy-pretend