Floaters & Sinkers: The Media, Casting & Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston
Recently, we have seen a lot of leaks about who is going to play what role in upcoming expected blockbusters. We have seen Ben Affleck for Batman, Matt Damon as his sidekick Robin, Ryan Gosling in the upcoming “50 Shades of Grey,” and, the latest, Bryan Cranston playing Lex Luthor in the upcoming Superman flick.
Many people don’t see these “leaks” for what they really are. In the world of politics and marketing, these types of “leaks” and considerations are often referred to as floaters. A floater is when a perceived leak or “I’m thinking about running” is released to the public to see what type of buzz develops, not only around the actor, actress, or politician, but, around the film itself. It has an impact on the amount of money and effort that is going to be put around perpetuating this rumor as well as an impact on the final contract that the actor receives.
When you see a report that says that Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston is being considered for the role of a Lex Luthor in the upcoming Superman movie, you are really being polled to determine whether or not the executive producer and suits behind the film believe that the casting would be fiscally equitable.
Presidential primaries have been leaking out for months now, probably over to a year, that they expect a variety of GOP candidates to get into the 2016 presidential race. Names like Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio were all discussed before the 2012 presidential election was even decided. The question then becomes whether this was foresight of a republican loss coming along the way and the start of gauging levels of support for those individuals in the 2016 race.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love Bryan Cranston and have since his time on Malcolm in the Middle. The subtle dark comedy that is laced throughout Breaking Bad is unbelievable. To see Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s heads stuck down in a giant aluminum processing vat to discuss killing Gus Fring with a chemical poison is hilarity that I could only hope would be brought to a character as necessarily colorful as Lex Luthor.
Yesterday, Bryan Cranston was Google’s 9th most searched term as a result of the leak that he could be filling the role. Between this and the heat of the final season of Breaking Bad, that may bode well for helping him get cast into the part. However, the check will likely be smaller than if he had cracked the Google top 5. It could be a difference of millions of dollars just to fall from top 5 to top 10 in the search engine trends.
Next time you see a report on who may be playing what role in an upcoming blockbuster, take a moment to think about the press release that may have been e-mailed to get that story on the cover page or on the news. Who wrote it? The actor’s publicist or the studios?