An old story circulated on the internet again this week as Twitter users learned about an unusual fan moment between Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins and “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston.
After binging Breaking Bad, the legendary Sir Anthony Hopkins wrote Bryan Cranston a letter telling him his performance as Walter White was the best acting he had ever seen. pic.twitter.com/l4ZVFEn4wf
— Facts (@StrangeFactoid) June 3, 2021
Back in 2013, Hopkins did indeed send an email to Bryan Cranston, which was later publicized on Facebook reportedly by Steven Michael Quezada, one of Cranston’s castmates from “Breaking Bad.” The letter said:
Dear Mister Cranston.
I wanted to write you this email – so I am contacting you through Jeremy Barber – I take it we are both represented by UTA . Great agency.
I’ve just finished a marathon of watching “BREAKING BAD” – from episode one of the First Season – to the last eight episodes of the Sixth Season. (I downloaded the last season on AMAZON) A total of two weeks (addictive) viewing.
I have never watched anything like it. Brilliant!
Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen – ever.
I know there is so much smoke blowing and sickening bullshit in this business, and I’ve sort of lost belief in anything really.
But this work of yours is spectacular – absolutely stunning. What is extraordinary, is the sheer power of everyone in the entire production. What was it? Five or six years in the making? How the producers (yourself being one of them), the writers, directors, cinematographers…. every department – casting etc. managed to keep the discipline and control from beginning to the end is (that over used word) awesome.
From what started as a black comedy, descended into a labyrinth of blood, destruction and hell. It was like a great Jacobean, Shakespearian or Greek Tragedy.
If you ever get a chance to – would you pass on my admiration to everyone – Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Aaron Paul, Betsy Brandt, R.J. Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Steven Michael Quezada – everyone – everyone gave master classes of performance … The list is endless.
Thank you. That kind of work/artistry is rare, and when, once in a while, it occurs, as in this epic work, it restores confidence.
You and all the cast are the best actors I’ve ever seen.
That may sound like a good lung full of smoke blowing. But it is not. It’s almost midnight out here in Malibu, and I felt compelled to write this email.
Congratulations and my deepest respect. You are truly a great, great actor.
Hopkins’ publicist confirmed to Buzzfeed News that this letter was indeed real. Hopkins addressed the email in an interview with HuffPost in 2016, saying he never meant for anyone to read the email, and was upset it had been shared publicly. The ensuing publicity put him off from writing similar letters in the future. He said:
Yeah, of course I wrote him, but I didn’t expect it to go viral […] Some other actor, I don’t know who he was, but Bryan must’ve told somebody about the letter and showed it. And somebody, some stupid guy, put it on the internet. And now I didn’t ask for it. I just wrote this personal letter to Bryan … I didn’t want it to be known publicly, but that’s what happens today. You can’t open your mouth before it goes on the internet or whatever you have, on Twitter or Facebook […] I keep my mouth shut from now on. I don’t write letters to people.
Cranston addressed the letter controversy soon after as well, saying he sent an attachment of the letter to the cast, and didn’t anticipate that someone else would share it.
“In this new age, I didn’t anticipate someone posting that. I didn’t anticipate that someone would then take the letter and show it to the world. It was an oversight of mine, so when it happened I thought, ‘Aw crap.’”
Given that both actors have confirmed the existence of the letter, we rate this claim as “True.”