p. 152-153: BREAKING BAD
We get our first indication that Walt is not Hal when we first see Cranston’s face upon removing the gas mask, as Walt has what the actor calls “an impotent mustache” that Hal never featured. Physical appearance is crucial to creating characters, and Cranston, as a producer as well as a star (as well as an occasional director starting in the second sea- son), had an active hand in creating Walt’s look: “I told Vince, he should be overweight, he should wear glasses, he should have a mustache that makes people go, ‘Why bother?’ His hair should be undefined; he always needs a trim. He doesn’t care. His clothes should blend in with the wall, no color in his skin. As he changes, color palettes will change, his attitude, everything.” These exterior traits clearly reflect on Walt’s internal psyche, and Cranston has noted that physicality is crucial to his performance, both in how Walt feels and in how that interiority is conveyed to the audience. As the series progresses, Walt’s changes are externalized through his appearance, as the impotent mustache and undefined haircut shift to a shaved head with a goatee, a look that Cranston calls “badass, . . . the most intimidating look there can be,” both signaling his changing psychology and allowing Walt to help rationalize his behavior because he “doesn’t recognize the man in the mirror.” Similarly, Walt adopts a black porkpie hat to wear in his persona of “Heisenberg” within the drug business, an iconic marker that transforms both our perception of the character and his interior sense of self. By the second season, it is hard to imagine a viewer looking at Cranston and thinking about Malcolm’s Hal, but at the start of Walt’s journey, that association was crucial to forge allegiance and a positive emotional connection with the character.