Bryan Cranston is so charming. It’s his Tim Whatley smile. It’s his slick delivery. Bryan was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last night to promote Trumbo, which comes out this week. I reviewed Trumbo at TIFF and wrote that while Bryan played a sly smooth-talking screenwriter as well as he could have, the film was too superficial to be the communist/Cold War caper it was meant to be. It was underwhelming, at best, and I am a big Jay Roach fan. Click here to read my review. But you still have to promote it. And that’s where the charm comes in.
When chatting with Fallon, Bryan reveals that his “nice suit” isn’t his. This isn’t anything we don’t know. Of course stars have stylists or image consultants who help them sell themselves and their films, shows or music through a predetermined “look.” But, it’s Bryan’s delivery of this familiar fact that shows just how good he is on talk shows, and as a personality. So he tells us he has a stylist and that it was a necessity, because he does not know how to dress himself effectively. Then he talks about how his tie is too long, and, that instead of re-tying it, he cut off the end so it would look the part. It did, and this show-and-tell got a great laugh. It was Dad Humour 101. Jimmy followed this by showing a stylist breakdown of his attire that night, which included directions on how and when to unbutton his jacket.
It’s hard not to love Bryan, especially after watching this. He’s not (just) Walter White and further proved that with a 90s soap opera sketch later on in the show. That personality and natural smile is what they’re using to sell Trumbo, a so-so forgettable movie that could have been much more. Everybody likes Bryan. And it’s that effervescence that catapults Bryan to number 11 in Scott Feinberg’s The Hollywood Reporter Best Actor power rankings.
For what it’s worth, here are my current Best Actor power rankings, from what I’ve seen this year. These have been revised to take #categoryfraud into consideration (Because Paul Dano is that good in Love & Mercy):
1) Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs (Yes, still… in spite of this)
2) Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies
3) Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
4) Michael Caine, Youth
5) Johnny Depp, Black Mass
6) Matt Damon, The Martian
7) Jake Gyllenhaal, Southpaw
8) Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Of course, there are still two notable performances that remain unseen by critics and audiences, but are still swimming in buzz - Leo in The Revenant and Will Smith in Concussion. Don’t sleep on Will Smith.
Watch Bryan Cranston’s stylist story on Fallon here: