As the much lamented passing of James Gandolfini recently reminded us, some great actors find their definitive role on the small screen, where an ongoing series allows them to dig deeper into a character and shoe greater progression over a long period of time than a single movie can. Gandolfini, despite his fine scenes in everything from The Mexican to Zero Dark Thirty, will always be organised crime patriarch Tony Soprano, and soon the same question may be asked about Bryan Cranston, the former sitcom star whose portrayal of science teacher turned drug lord Walter White on another cable television series, Breaking Bad, has is about to begin its final season.
Cranston's portrayal of a man becoming a monster – or, as it increasingly appears, a monster finally revealing his true self – has been acclaimed, and he's crammed no shortage of supporting role into his annual hiatuses. Cranston was Ryan Gosling's mechanic in Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, a villain in the Total Recall remake, and Ben Affleck's wry mentor with a moment of vivid forcefulness in Argo. Next up for Cranston is Tze Chun's Cold Come the Night, an independent American crime thriller where he again plays a gangster, this time Russian, who pursues a single mother, played by Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness), who absconded with the cash from an illegal transaction gone wrong in the motel room she was cleaning.
After that Cranston will play the veteran hand, along with Juliette Binoche (Three Colors: Blue), to the young leads Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) and Aaron Johnson (Savages) in the latest, now post-Pacific Rim, take on Godzilla, from Monsters director Gareth Edwards. A film that focused on characters played by Cranston and Binoche would be fascinating, but despite Monsters being a political metaphor that worked by suggestion, Godzilla is going to be pure giant lizard stomps big city action.
Frears gears up for Armstrong biopic
It looks as if veteran English filmmaker Stephen Frears (Prick Up Your Ears, The Queen) will win the race to get a post-doping confession Lance Armstrong film made. Working from a screenplay by John Hodge, who wrote the likes of Trainspotting and Trance for fellow Brit Danny Boyle, Frears will be covering the cyclist's tainted triumphs and subsequent disgrace. To play Armstrong he's looking at Ben Foster, the American actor who often played hair trigger killers (3:10 to Yuma, The Mechanic) before turning in fine performances in The Messenger and now Ain't Them Bodies Saints.
Have you heard a strange noise coming from the office cubicle/bedroom inhabited by your nearest comic book movie fan? Chances are it stems from reports that Warner Bros' 2015 sequel to the just-released Superman reboot, Man of Steel, will add in another of their stable of capes, Batman. The Metropolis/Gotham crossover will necessitate a new Batman, as Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale's Dark Knight trilogy has concluded. Who should play Batman? Take your pick, the gyms of Los Angeles are probably full of young actors trying to bulk up. But isn't there a disconnect between an all-powerful being from another planet and a billionaire with some martial arts training and a sweet ride?