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Loving/AMC: Catching up w/ Cranston & Timoney
Topic Started: Jul 13 2007, 05:13 PM (1,131 Views)
Steve Frame
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Bill Timoney & Bryan Cranston

This is about Bill Timoney who played Alfred on AMC and Bryan Cranston who played Doug on Loving.


Art imitates life for married acting couples
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 07/13/07


Cranston is remembered as Hal, harried father of a rowdy boy brood on the Fox sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle." He and his actress wife, Dearden, have traveled East from their San Fernando Valley home to perform in Neil Simon's "Chapter Two," beginning Thursday in West Long Branch.

The Cranstons view the venture as a working vacation.

"But," says Dearden, "I think it's going to be more vacation than work. We're going to be there a month; our run is just two weeks. We've rented a house three blocks from the beach."

Are there any particular Jersey Shore sights the Cranstons are looking forward to?

"We're clueless," says Dearden with a laugh. "This is all new to us. We've never had an Eastern summer experience."

Although, Cranston says he had visited the Shore during his New York years, in the '80s.

"It was usually day trips," the actor says, "but I always thought this is a great area, and I'd like to spend more time here.

"What's funny is because I have such a workaholic mentality I think if we weren't working, I would never have booked a place on the Jersey Shore for one full month. I'd come for a week, maybe. So this has really given us an opportunity to virtually live here for the month of July and see what it's like.

"We walk down to the boardwalk, get our exercise in. We're having a great time visiting all the restaurants in the area. It's really neat."

Meanwhile, another acting married couple Monmouth County residents Bill and Georgette Reilly Timoney will round out Simon's four-character play. And guess what?

"They're our dearest friends," says Dearden of the Timoneys.

Dynamics at play

"The dynamics are really at play here," says Cranston.

"Because Bill is an old friend for 25 years. Robin and I have been together over 20 years. Georgette, we've known since she came into the fold seven years ago. So the dynamics of friends and partners is really splitting and coming together like atoms."

A former cast member of the ABC soap opera "All My Children," Bill Timoney recalls that he and Cranston first met in 1983 when Cranston, then a struggling actor, was cast on "Loving," another ABC soap.

Recalls Bill: "Bryan, ever the hustler, wanted to get publicity for "Loving' by tagging along with "All My Children.' "

To that end, Cranston proposed a "grudge" touch-football match between the two soaps, which took place in New York's Central Park.

"We went on Regis (Philbin)," Bill recalls. "To give you an idea of how long ago this was it was "Regis and Cindy Garvey.' "

Ever since, Bill and Cranston have been the best of friends. (When the Timoneys were wed in 2002, Cranston served as best man.)

Acting alongside a friend, Bill believes, "expands the comfort zone. You're so relaxed with each other. You get freer."

"With everyone knowing each other, all bets are off," says Georgette. "You can go as far as you want, and always know that the other person will be there with you."

Theater vs. film

The Cranstons previously acted together in a movie "Last Chance," which Cranston wrote and directed as well as onstage.

"They were two different experiences," Dearden says.

"With theater, I think you eat, breathe and sleep it. It's with you all the time. On the movie, however, we got real specific on how we would treat each other because there was a whole cast and crew, and Bryan had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. It was more defined with the movie as: When we are working, we aren't married."

"Chapter Two" is based on a period in Neil Simon's life following the death of his first wife when, ready or not, he was thrust back into the dating world. Cranston had no trouble finding his "Chapter Two" character of George.

Says the actor: "If you're happily married and you just think, "God, what would happen if something happened to my wife and she passed away?' That's the only thing you have to think of. That's what George is going through. He's having a difficult time. In that sense, it's not hard. It's not too much of a stretch to imagine that."

"It's poignant, but very funny, because he's very funny," says Dearden of Simon.

"There's a lot in it that will resonate with everybody. And it's one of those parts that, quite frankly, a woman of my age would want to do her whole life. It's pretty cool."

Back when the Cranstons first met, Dearden had carved a niche playing perky damsels-in-distress on a slew of '70s and '80s series: "The Incredible Hulk," "T.J. Hooker," "Magnum P.I.," "Knight Rider," "The A-Team."

"I think I said "Help me!' more than anything else for about 15 years of my life," she says, laughing again.

"That's how Bryan and I met on "Airwolf.' And I believe at the time, I said, "Help me!' "

And he did, Dearden is told.

"And he did," she agrees.

from http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A...93/1031/OPINION
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Steve Frame
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Another article about the 2 best friends and the play.

After 'Malcolm,' another 'Chapter'
Categories: Theater news, Theater news

Chapter Two
Where: Shadow Lawn Stage, Pollak Theatre, Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Ave., West Long Branch.
When: July 19-29. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m. Special performances on Thursday, July 18 and Wednesday, July 25 at 8 p.m.
How much: $35. Call (732) 263-5730 or visit www.monmouth.edu/shadowlawnstage


Call it Bryan in the middle.

Of rehearsals, that is.

Bryan Cranston, who played henpecked Hal in the long-running TV series "Malcolm in the Middle," is now readying an on-stage role. Come Thursday, he'll open a 10-day run at Shadow Lawn Stage in West Long Branch.

The play is "Chapter Two," Neil Simon's 1978 comedy-drama, in which Cranston portrays George Schneider, a successful novelist whose beloved wife dies. Just when George vows he'll never marry again, he meets Jennie Malone, and wedding bells soon ring. Shortly after, their apartment is ringing with heated arguments.

"George is in Chapter Two, while there are times when I feel as if I'm already working on the epilogue of my life," Cranston jokes. He then tells of his own Chapter One, when he was born 51 years ago in Los Angeles to parents who were actors.

"Mom gave it up to take care of me and my brother," he says. "That left my father to live a typical actor's life -- feast or famine. One year, he put a pool in our back yard. The next year, we couldn't swim in it because he couldn't afford the chlorine for it. One year we got a new car, and the next year he traded it in for an older one. That message of insecurity really served me well when I went into this inherently insecure business."

Cranston didn't plan to act, though. "I went to college for law administration. I was going to be a policeman, because it was a masculine thing to do. Being of Scotch-Irish descent, I got a lot of support from all my relatives. Then an academic counselor said to me, 'You need to round out your curriculum with some liberal arts courses.' When I saw that acting was available, I thought that'd be fun. And, that," he says, snapping his fingers and pointing, "began my Chapter Two."

Like George Schneider, Cranston's been married twice. "Unlike George, I wasn't originally married to my soulmate. I was 23, and two years later, we were both thinking, 'Hey, what did we do there?' My heart wasn't broken, and neither was hers. We made a mistake, no hard feelings -- and no children."

In 1986, Cranston was cast in an episode of the TV show "Airwolf." He played a villain who at one point holds a gun to a woman's head. That woman, Robin Dearden, would turn out to be his second wife.

"We were involved with others then," he says, "but less than a year later, we weren't, and we re-met in an improv comedy class."

They now have a 14-year-old daughter named Taylor. The entire family has come along to West Long Branch: Dearden portrays Jennie in the play, and Taylor is working in the box-office.

"We took this job so we could all spend some nice time at the Jersey Shore," says Cranston, who usually spends his Julys in his Los Angeles home.

"Chapter Two" happened because of Cranston's friendship with actor Bill Timoney. The two met in the early '80s, when each was performing in an ABC soap opera. Timoney was portraying the nerdy Alfred Vanderpoole on "All My Children," while Cranston was on "Loving," playing Doug Donovan -- "the associate professor in theater at Corinth University, a school not unlike Monmouth right here," he says, of where Shadow Lawn is in residence.

The two hit it off, and have remained friends ever since. "Some 'friends' forget you after they get a hit TV series," Timoney says. "Bryan has always been terrific to me, and my wife, Georgette."

She's Georgette Reilly, who met Timoney when they were doing a play at the Celtic Theatre Company in South Orange. Once "Malcolm in the Middle" ended last year, Timoney suggested that the foursome do a play. They all agreed that "Chapter Two" would be the ideal vehicle. Timoney plays George's brother Leo, a randy executive, while Reilly portrays Faye, Jennie's good friend, who'll become embroiled in her own difficult relationship.

Cranston knows that, if not for his 133 episodes of "Malcolm in the Middle" (which earned him an Emmy nomination), he could have wound up like many actors -- in Chapter 11.

"That's why no matter how much fan mail I got, I always answered every letter," he says. "People were always writing in, wondering what Hal's last name was, what he actually did for a living, and in what city the family lived -- information that the series never told anyone. There were even people who suggested that Hal was part of the Witness Protection Plan -- and I made sure I wrote them back. After you struggle for a while and success finally hits, you don't forget what it was before. You're grateful."

After the play ends, Cranston will begin a new chapter. He'll go to New Mexico to be in "Breaking Bad," an AMC TV series. "I play a chemistry genius who had a fear of success, and became a science teacher. He's got a wife, a child with cerebral palsy, and an accident baby on the way when he finds he has inoperable cancer. So he begins to make and deal crystal meth to make as much cash as he can for his family before he dies. I like the show, but I'm fully aware that it could flop like a fish on a boat."

But first, "Chapter Two."

"It's an ideal play for me and Robin, for we've lived so much of it," Cranston says. "When George and Jennie meet, (it) rekindles how we felt 20 years ago. We're all set in the scenes where they get comfortable with each other, for we've been comfortable for a long time.

"Then," he says, "there are the scenes where George and Jennie argue. Those are the times that each of us hears a tone we recognize from previous, uh, 'discussions.' I predict that those will feel pretty real when we do them on-stage."
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