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Bryan Cranston says that acknowledging his ‘white blindness’ made him step away from a play

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Bryan Cranston says that acknowledging his 'white blindness' made him step away from a play

Bryan Cranston spoke about being ‘blind’ to racial issues and confronting his own white privilege during an interview with the Los Angeles Times that was published on Thursday.

During the sit-down, the 65-year-old performer spoke about how he stepped away from a directing role in a play that would have ran at the renowned Geffen Playhouse and instead took on a part in another play entitled Power of Sail.

The Breaking Bad star, who will portray a Harvard professor who invites a Holocaust denier to an academic symposium, also discussed confronting his own ‘white blindness’ to various social issues while working on the production.

Difficult topics: Bryan Cranston spoke about being 'blind' to racial issues and confronting his own white privilege during an interview with the Los Angeles Times that was published on Thursday; he is seen in 2019

Difficult topics: Bryan Cranston spoke about being 'blind' to racial issues and confronting his own white privilege during an interview with the Los Angeles Times that was published on Thursday; he is seen in 2019

Difficult topics: Bryan Cranston spoke about being ‘blind’ to racial issues and confronting his own white privilege during an interview with the Los Angeles Times that was published on Thursday; he is seen in 2019

Cranston pointed out that the play that he would have directed was a comedy centered on an Englishman who takes on the Ku Klux Klan after they try to convert a fishing lodge into a meeting hall.

He remarked that, following the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd and other social uprisings, he did not feel as if putting on the show would serve to change any of the audiences’ views on the hate group. 

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‘It is a privileged viewpoint to be able to look at the Ku Klux Klan and laugh at them and belittle them for their broken and hateful ideology,’ he stated.

The Malcolm In The Middle cast member noted that the group, as well as other racist organizations, were still going strong in 2022 and their effects were still being felt by those that they seek to impact. 

Moving around: During the sit-down, the 65-year-old performer spoke about how he stepped away from a directing role in a play that would have ran at the renowned Geffen Playhouse and took on a part in another play entitled Power of Sail; he is seen in 2014

Moving around: During the sit-down, the 65-year-old performer spoke about how he stepped away from a directing role in a play that would have ran at the renowned Geffen Playhouse and took on a part in another play entitled Power of Sail; he is seen in 2014

Moving around: During the sit-down, the 65-year-old performer spoke about how he stepped away from a directing role in a play that would have ran at the renowned Geffen Playhouse and took on a part in another play entitled Power of Sail; he is seen in 2014

‘The Ku Klux Klan and Charlottesville and white supremacists — that’s still happening and it’s not funny. It’s not funny to any group that is marginalized by these groups’ hatred, and it really taught me something,’ he said.

Cranston noted that he came to a realization about the dilemma he faced in putting on the show after acknowledging his own moral shortcomings.

He recalled that he ‘realized, “Oh my God, if there’s one, there’s two, and if there’s two, there are 20 blind spots that I have … what else am I blind to?”‘

The performer then spoke about how he wanted to step aside in order to allow for plays centered on people of color to be shown to major audiences.

‘If we’re taking up space with a very palatable play from the 1980s where rich old white people can laugh at white supremacists and say, “Shame on you,” and have a good night in the theater, things need to change, I need to change,’ he said. 

He did note that he told the Geffen’s artistic director that he would still be interested in taking on roles that fit his description. 

‘If you find a play that you need an old white guy to act in, then maybe I can be available for that,’ he stated.

Cranston then expressed that, with regard to future theatrical productions, he wanted to appear in ‘something that changes the conversation’ of social norms.

Determined: Cranston then expressed that, with regard to future theatrical productions, he wanted to appear in 'something that changes the conversation' of social norms; he is seen at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards in 2019

Determined: Cranston then expressed that, with regard to future theatrical productions, he wanted to appear in 'something that changes the conversation' of social norms; he is seen at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards in 2019

Determined: Cranston then expressed that, with regard to future theatrical productions, he wanted to appear in ‘something that changes the conversation’ of social norms; he is seen at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards in 2019

He noted that, after reading about philosopher Karl Popper’s paradox of tolerance, he had become a full adherent of the principle.

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‘There need to be barriers, there need to be guard rails. If someone wants to say the Holocaust was a hoax, which is against history…to give a person space to amplify that speech is not tolerance. It’s abusive,’ he said.

Cranston remarked that he had also become interested in the impact that socially-minded plays could have on theatergoers.

Doing something that matters: Cranston remarked that he had also become interested in the impact that socially-minded plays could have on theatergoers; he is seen in 2004

Doing something that matters: Cranston remarked that he had also become interested in the impact that socially-minded plays could have on theatergoers; he is seen in 2004

Doing something that matters: Cranston remarked that he had also become interested in the impact that socially-minded plays could have on theatergoers; he is seen in 2004

‘To go deeper, a play can also stimulate the mind. It can make you question your thought process — your dogma. It could challenge you,’ he said.

The actor concluded by expressing that he still believed that acting kindly and understanding towards one another was the best way to overcome many social hardships.

‘Somewhere in this more hardened world — this less civil world that we find ourselves in — someplace, somewhere, lives forgiveness,’ he stated. 

Enlightened: The actor concluded by expressing that he still believed that acting kindly and understanding towards one another was the best way to overcome many social hardships; he is seen in 2013

Enlightened: The actor concluded by expressing that he still believed that acting kindly and understanding towards one another was the best way to overcome many social hardships; he is seen in 2013

Enlightened: The actor concluded by expressing that he still believed that acting kindly and understanding towards one another was the best way to overcome many social hardships; he is seen in 2013

Bryan Cranston says that acknowledging his 'white blindness' made him step away from a playSource

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