"It's a battle cry of sorts," said actor Bryan Cranston, stepping into the iconic role of Howard Beale, the mad anchorman at the heart of the 1976 TV-news satire "Network," a role that brought actor Peter Finch a posthumous Oscar the next year.
The iconic film is not only relevant today, it is prophetic in our age of "fake news" and deciphering fact from fiction.
"You know, talking about the packaging of news an manipulating audiences ... being addicted to our televisions, that is today that's exactly what is happening," Cranston said.
The "Breaking Bad" actor is bringing Beale to the New York stage, where he serves up the day’s news with increasing agitation and rage in a bid for record ratings .
"When I do that 'mad as hell' speech, sometimes it's really emotional and I'm weeping, and sometimes I am angrier than I am sad. That's good. I like to keep it to where it kind of surprises me, even."
His inspiration? The man once known as the most trusted man in America, Walter Cronkite.
"I was raised with Walter Cronkite, everybody believed Walter Cronkite. He was the anchor to our lives and he told us what happened," Cranston said.
"My Howard Beale kind of goes off but I try to walk the line and allow the audience to determine whether or not they think I'm crazy or enlightened," Cranston added.
The audience plays a big role in this production, thanks to director Ivo van Hove’s interactive staging.
"You can be part of this production. We will invite people via social media to yell" Howard Beale's famous line, van Hove said.
Explained Cranston: "We are going to interact with the audience. It's always fun, it's always unpredictable and that's what keeps you going, it keeps you from becoming stale with it."
And, don’t go away just yet, the famous fictional anchorman has a message for all of you:
"This is Howard Beale inviting you to come see 'Network' on Broadway starting Nov. 10th. Don’t disappoint me. "
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