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Cranston to direct a final Breaking Bad episode

Actor will direct the ninth episode of the show’s fifth and final season

A scene from Breaking Bad
Image Credit: AP
This image released by AMC shows Bryan Cranston as Walter White (left) and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in a scene from the season 5 premiere of "Breaking Bad," airing on July 15, at 10pm EST on AMC.

Bryan Cranston will sit in the director’s chair one last time for his AMC cable TV drama Breaking Bad.

In an interview on Tuesday, Cranston said he will direct the ninth episode of the show’s fifth and final season, which begins on July 15 and will air split over two summers. That break in filming gives the actor time to put on his directing hat before the second half airs in 2013.

“As an actor on the show, it’s really, really difficult — if you’re in it a lot obviously — to be able to prep so I take opportunities before we’re actually in production shooting,” he says.

Cranston, who won three back-to-back Emmys for Breaking Bad, also directed the first episodes of seasons one and three of the dark series about chemistry teacher Walter White, who turns to cooking meth to help support his family after he’s diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. The actor also directed an episode of ABC’s Modern Family and seven of his former Fox comedy Malcolm in the Middle.

Cranston says in season five viewers will see an increasingly remorseless Walter White complete his journey from a hapless high school teacher to a full-fledged drug lord. “He’s feeling very basic things: control, power, dominance. Those things and those ugly factors have come to the surface.”

Co-star Aaron Paul plays Jesse Pinkman, a former student and meth dealer White teamed up with to help start his drug operation. Paul says Jesse is not happy with the changes in his partner: “There’s something else that is driving Mr White now. It’s not just making money. It’s something else.”

Cranston said he would be willing to star in a Breaking Bad movie if there is one — but at this point they don’t know if their characters will be around to make a film, because only creator Vince Gilligan and his writing team know how the series ends.