“I didn’t want to learn about the back-alley process. I wanted to know how to make it perfectly, the absolute purest meth, and what equipment and chemicals to use, because that’s what my character does. So if I had to, I could make more than just meth; I could make really, really good meth. [laughs] It has created a very healthy sideline for me if this acting thing ever stops working,” jokes Bryan Cranston about preparation for his role as a meth dealer on Breaking Bad in Playboy’s August 20Q (issue on newsstands, online at www.playboydigital.com, and on i.Playboy.com Friday, July 15, with the complete interview available at www.playboy.com/cranston).

Cranston—who’s received three consecutive Emmy’s for his leading role on Breaking Bad, which returns for its fourth season on July 17— entered Hollywood in the 1980s and has become an acting sensation. He’s well known for his roles on major sitcoms such as Malcolm in the Middle and Seinfeld and blockbuster movies like Larry Crowne, which is in theaters now. The long-on-talent actor sat down with Playboy Contributor Eric Spitznagel to recount sex scenes with Julia Roberts, goofy pranks and why Jon Hamm wants to kick his a**. Following are selected quotes from the interview:

On his three Emmy Awards: “All three are in my office. I walk by sometimes and the glistening gold catches my eye and I think, I cannot believe that happened! Our show isn’t eligible for an Emmy this year because AMC decided to push the premiere of our fourth season to the summer. So now people have been coming up to me and saying, ‘You can’t be nominated for an Emmy! You must be freaked out! That’s horrible!’ And I’m thinking, Are you kidding me? Not being nominated is a relief to me in many ways.”

On Jon Hamm telling the press he’ll kick Bryan’s a** if he wins another Emmy: “Jon’s a younger man, and I’m pretty sure he could kick my a**. Somebody asked me if AMC delayed the airing of Breaking Bad to give Jon Hamm a chance to win an Emmy. That’s such a hilarious conspiracy theory. I can just imagine that secret board meeting: ‘We’ll take care of Cranston. Tell Jon Hamm to prepare his speech!’”

On his wife’s friendship with Tom Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson: “My wife, Robin, and Rita have been friends since college. She was a bridesmaid in Tom and Rita’s wedding, so I was there too. I think actors have a tendency to want to hang out with other actors, and there’s a reason for that. When you’re out there with civilians, you get the same kind of questions again and again…But when you’re around other actors, you can talk about other things. Nobody’s asking, ‘What’s it like to be in movies?’ Because we all already know.”

On his sex scene with Julia Roberts in Larry Crowne: “Before we shot the movie, I went on a diet and bleached my teeth and got one of those spray tans. I wanted it to seem like we were at least viable as a couple. So we’re doing the scene, and right away I’m lying on top of her. I met her maybe a month before, and now I’m lying on top of her. Our noses are touching, we’re waiting, and we hear Tom Hanks, the director, say, ‘Okay, we need to make an adjustment on the camera. Hang on.’ So there I am, lying on top of Julia Roberts, and we’re making small talk. ‘So…how are you? You have kids, right?’ We’re talking about family, whatever, just passing the time. It was probably more awkward for me, because under the sheets, she was wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Tom kept tugging on her shirt. ‘Aw, Julia, Julia. Come on, we’ve got to show something. We’ve got to show a little skin.’ And me, I’m just wearing a c*ck sock.”

On his c*ck sock: “It’s a sock that goes over your junk. Literally, you stuff your junk into this sock that’s attached to a string, which you tie around your waist with a little bow. I’ve always been like, ‘And this protects me how?’ I don’t understand how it’s less embarrassing than if I didn’t have on anything at all.”

On whether or not he’s ever tried meth: “Never meth, but I’ve had several drug experiences. Pot always just made me sleepy. As a teenager I had friends who wanted to get high and go to concerts. But if I smoked a joint, I would pass out before the first song.”

On filming Breaking Bad in New Mexico: “One of the best parts about spending any time in this state is getting acclimated to the culture. The biggest question you get when you come here is, ‘Red or green?’ That would be chilies, the red and green chilies that are indigenous to this area. I have a fondness for the green. They’re hot, really spicy and go on everything. I put them on my ice cream.”

On keeping the mood light when filming intense scenes for Breaking Bad: “I’m always looking for opportunities to goof off. Just last week I was doing a love scene with Anna Gunn, who plays my wife. We are in bed, making out, and I’m naked. There’s a moment in the scene when I get up and walk to the bathroom, and you see my a**. Without telling her, I put on these big adult diapers. After we made love, I go out of bed, and I could hear her laughing behind me. I finally turned around and said to her, ‘Next time can we try one of my fantasies?’”

On not knowing how much money he makes: “Honestly, I don’t have a clue how much money I make. It really doesn’t matter to me. My agents know, and sometimes they ask me, ‘You want to know how much you make?’ I don’t care. I’m sure it’s fine. I mean, I don’t want to sound glib. I know money is important, but ever since I stopped worrying about finances, I’ve made more money than I ever thought I’d make in my life. The fact that I make a dependable income at all is just amazing to me.”

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