From bad to worse for TV's "Breaking Bad" dad

Tue Mar 3, 2009 10:46am EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - How rough can life get for Walt White, a quiet chemistry teacher with a pregnant wife and a handicapped son, who becomes a crystal meth dealer after discovering he is dying of lung cancer?

Much, much worse when "Breaking Bad" begins its second season on U.S. cable channel AMC on Sunday.

But actor Bryan Cranston, who won an Emmy last year for playing Walt, says the extreme -- and often darkly hilarious -- plot has plenty of relevance to viewers.

"I think the story is very relatable in this economic climate where people find themselves without health insurance, without a job and wondering what they are going to do and how they are going to provide for their family," Cranston said.

The title comes from a southern U.S. saying "to break bad," which is used to describe people who have strayed from a straight and narrow path.

The second season sees Walt becoming ever more immersed in the ruthless drugs underworld he has entered in a bid to secure the financial future of his family after his death.

Cranston, 52, shaved his head and dropped 16 pounds in weight last year after his character started chemotherapy for inoperable lung cancer.

But the actor, best-known previously for playing the very different dad, Hal, in the TV comedy "Malcolm in the Middle", said he is not shedding more weight.   Continued...

<p>Actor Bryan Cranston accepts the award for outstanding actor in a drama series for "Breaking Bad" at the 60th annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 21, 2008. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson</p>