Shortly after Breaking Bad ended, Cranston turned to the theater stage to play President Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way. It follows the former president’s effort to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 supported by both members of Congress and civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr. After a successful run on Broadway — with Cranston winning a Tony — it was adapted into a made-for-television movie, with Cranston reprising his role, that premiered on HBO in 2016. This adaptation led to an Emmy nomination for Cranston.
In his interview with Time, Cranston discussed what it was like to take on one role for such an extended period of time — in total, Cranston played LBJ on and off from 2013 to 2016. He described the importance of fully grasping the character, stating, “I’ve got to dig into this character, learn as much as I can, and be a student to that world and that era.”
He elaborated that staying in character between takes helped to keep his mindset aligned with LBJ’s. Talking about finding “the nature of the character,” — including the Texas accent — he said, “I just felt it was easier if I stayed in character with the voice, and I said, ‘Well, honey, look at that dress on you, my God, that just brings out the color of your eyes…’ Just playing with it, with conversations that were appropriate for the time.”