Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Bryan Cranston Recalls Crazy ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ Stunt That Made His Body ‘Shut Down’

Bryan Cranston Recalls Crazy ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ Stunt That Made His Body ‘Shut Down’

Bryan Cranston is revealing a risky stunt he did for Malcolm in the Middle that could have been a literal show-stopper. The actor recounted his experience with stunt work on the sitcom, which ran from 2000 to 2006, this week. He disclosed that his body started to “shut down” while completely covered in paint for a season 2 episode.

“One time, I did a thing where my character was in a depression. He started painting, and I was completely covered in blue paint,” Cranston recounted on The Graham Norton Show recently. “Completely, head to toe, in blue paint.”

In “Hal Quits,” an episode from season two, Cranston’s character Hal believes his job is worthless after attending Dewey’s class for parent job day. Consequently, he opts to take a week off, feigning kidney failure. In the depths of his depression, he unleashes his inner artist. He boldly doused his naked body in a whole bucket of blue paint. The kicker is the episode never reveals his works of art.

Bryan Cranston is Convinced His ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ Stunt May Have Proved Fatal

Bryan Cranston then brought up the false urban legend that Shirley Eaton, who played Jill Masterson in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, died from asphyxiation after being fully covered in metallic paint for the Bond movie. However, Eaton is still alive at age 87.

Of course, the urban legend surrounding Goldfinger actress Shirley Eaton may have originated from the idea that sealing off pores could lead to overheating, rashes, or suffocation. However, modern paint formulas are more breathable, dispelling these concerns.

Regardless, being covered head to toe in paint can’t be comfortable. “I was gonna say, that’s not safe, Bryan,” fellow The Graham Norton Show guest Bryce Dallas Howard chimed in. “It’s not safe,” Cranston agreed. “Because your body can’t regulate the heat if you’re covering up all your pores.”

Bryan Cranston explained that as the day progressed on Malcolm in the Middle, his body pushed back against the blue paint. “As you shoot, you’re moving around, and then there was a part of me, at one point, I was like starting to shut down the circuits,” Cranston recalled. “And they went boom, and they grabbed me, and they threw me in the shower and they just… It was weird.”

“It’s a very slow way to murder someone,” Graham Norton quipped.