Bryan Cranston Brings Writer’s Block to Life

Watch a short film entailing a stylistic fever dream of frustration.
Bryan Cranston Writer's Block
Brandon Polanco
By  · Published on April 19th, 2017

Anyone who’s ever had it knows that writer’s block is more than a mere malady, it’s a mental frustration that keeps you hovering between the fantasy you’re trying to create and the reality of not being able to create it. It’s like pushing against a massive wall that yields a little but never gives.

Writer’s block has been captured on film many times in everything from Naked Lunch to Adaptation to The Shining, but I’ve never seen it captured quite like it is in Writer’s Block, a short film from writer-director Brandon Polanco that blends one writer’s frustration with fever dream hallucinations of his block, here manifested as a lovely and mysterious woman.

The short stars Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston as the writer and it was made a few years ago while Cranston was shooting Cold Comes the Night, on which Polanco worked as a first team production assistant. So cool he got that film’s lead in his, especially considering this was around the end of Breaking Bad when Cranston couldn’t have been any hotter.

There’s definitely more style than story here, but I think that’s appropriate given that Polanco is seeking to capture the intangible, a cognitive strife that blurs actual perception, and in that regard I believe he’s succeeded. Cranston is, of course, excellent, as is Lela Edgar, who plays the embodiment of his block. While the short might be too obtuse and nonlinear for some, anyone who’s ever been afflicted by writer’s block will find a lot they recognize here, if only by feeling.

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