May 16, 2014 at 10:10 AM ET
"Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston made a bold move when his AMC hit ended. Hot off the heels of playing a sympathetic chemistry teacher turned meth-dealing kingpin, a role that earned him three consecutive Primetime Emmys, he decided to hit the big screen to star in a retelling of a kitschy monster movie.
As the man behind Walter White admitted during a Friday morning visit to TODAY, he initially hesitated signing on to "Godzilla" — in fact, he turned it down when it was first offered to him.
"I was coming off of 'Breaking Bad,' and I didn't know that doing a 'Godzilla' movie would be the best choice for me," he told anchor Matt Lauer. "But I was convinced to read the script, and so I read it, and there was actually a very strong, character-driven component to it."
That, plus Cranston's own childhood soft spot for the larger-than-life reptile, was enough to prompt him to do it.
"Godzilla was always my favorite," he said, comparing the beast to other old-school movie monsters. "I used to go and get my mom's Tupperware and the glasses. I'd fill 'em — pack them with dirt and sand — and flip them over and make molds of what I thought were cities. Then I'd have my monster characters go through and smash it all."
Characters that presumably didn't include Godzilla's box office rival, King Kong.
"King Kong ... they infused human emotions into," the actor said of the astounding ape. "King Kong was not as great as Godzilla, and it never will be."
"Don't even get me going on Mothra," Lauer, a fellow childhood monster movie enthusiast, added about Godzilla's film foe.
Cranston, who plays a nuclear physicist in the new flick, said this movie marks a return to basics.
"It goes back to the more historical, iconic storylines of 'Godzilla,'" he explained. "Serious, absolute fun and destruction — it's good."
Also good? The glimpse into Cranston's early career that TODAY viewers were treated to Friday. Check out the show clip for a quick roundup of his 1980s commercial spots.
See more from Cranston in "Godzilla," open in theaters nationwide, and catch him on Broadway in "All the Way," now playing at the Neil Simon Theatre.
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