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Bryan Cranston Address His White Privilege in 'Power of Sail'

Breaking Bad actor sits down to discuss race in debate and theatre.

Award winning actor Bryan Cranston sat down for an interview to discuss his running play, Power of Sail.


The Breaking Bad lead will be starring in the project as a Harvard professor who invites a Holocaust denier to speak at his symposium. After severe backlash from students, he insists his intentions were to challenge the denier's beliefs in a debate.

Cranston was originally set to direct a black comedy about an agent infiltrating the KKK, but after two years on the project during a pandemic, he didn't feel comfortable going forward with it. Instead, he signed onto Power of Sail. He says about his change in viewpoint,

“It is a privileged viewpoint to be able to look at the Ku Klux Klan and laugh at them and belittle them for their broken and hateful ideology. But the Ku Klux Klan and Charlottesville and white supremacists — that’s still happening and it’s not funny. It’s not funny to any group that is marginalized by these groups’ hatred, and it really taught me something.”

Cranston said he had laughed at the play depicting the KKK, and that he was able to do so because of his white privilege. He continued,

“And I realized, ‘Oh my God, if there’s one, there’s two, and if there’s two, there are 20 blind spots that I have … what else am I blind to? If we’re taking up space with a very palatable play from the 1980s where rich old white people can laugh at white supremacists and say, ‘Shame on you,’ and have a good night in the theater, things need to change, I need to change.”

To address his shift in attitude, he looked for a play to reflect his beliefs. As a piece centered on free speech, its limits, and who decides those limits, Power of Sail met his criteria. He said,

“A good play may not change your life, but it could change your day. To go deeper, a play can also stimulate the mind. It can make you question your thought process — your dogma. It could challenge you.”

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