While Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn arranges elements of his proposed modern-day western set in Bangkok, more talent comes together for his adaptation of James Sallis’ neo-noir novelette, Drive. Ryan Gosling is already behind the wheel in the nameless role of “Driver” — a former Hollywood stuntman tangled up in a failed heist as the getaway man, on the run from his cutthroat accomplices. Film School Rejects now says Refn is happy to have Bryan Cranston joining the cast.
Similar to Breaking Bad fans and fans of Cranston in general, Refn is a great admirer, ‚ÄúWe signed Bryan Cranston. I wanted him and I got him. He‚Äôs my favorite actor around.‚Äù
This news slipped during an interview for Valhalla Rising, and Film School Rejects neglected to ask Refn who Cranston would be playing. From the novel I know only two characters likely to fit his description. There’s a mobster names Bernie who makes a haunting late appearance in the last 30 pages. But a far more likely fit is Driver’s pal, Doc, a washed up physician turned drug-dealer who takes a break from dying of cancer to patch up a bullet hole or two. It’s a small but potent supporting part spanning the last half of the story. I’d lay odds we’ll see Cranston signed on as Doc.
The slim 158-page novel by Sallis was one of Entertainment Weekly’s 10 Best Books of 2006. I don’t want retype a lot of critics’ raves, but you can find a scan of the blurb page after the cut.