Larry Hankin, who played the junkyard owner Old Joe in Breaking Bad, recently shared a story about filming the season 5 premiere that involved him repeatedly forgetting his lines and getting scolded by Bryan Cranston.
In an interview with Cracked, Hankin revealed that he has dyslexia, making it difficult to remember his lines. During a scene where Old Joe explains the use of a magnet, Hankin keeps flubbing his lines, which causes Cranston, who played the lead character Walter White, to get frustrated with him.
Fortunately, director Michael Slovis was there to support Hankin and help him get back on track. Despite the setback, Hankin eventually nailed his lines, and the scene was successfully filmed.
I’d done one episode of Breaking Bad already, but I came back for a second one. I loved playing Old Joe. […]
The second one was where I sold them the magnet. I was explaining the magnet to them in the junkyard, and I just kept going up on my lines. I have dyslexia, so it’s not easy for me to memorize scripts. For auditions, it was okay, but when I had a lot of lines, it was hard. In this case, I just forgot them. The director said, “Cut!,” and Bryan Cranston leaned in and whispered, “Get your lines down.” Then I went up on my lines again. The director said, “Cut!” and Bryan went, “What’s the matter with you? Remember your lines.” But that doesn’t do any good — it makes it worse.
I didn’t want to go through that a third time, so I stepped out and asked to talk to the director. I said, “Bryan’s giving me a hard time.” The director said, “Two things, Larry: First, all actors go up on their lines, it happens. The second thing is, we’re losing the light, so fuck Bryan and let’s just finish this scene.” I got back in, and I never forgot my lines again. The director scared the strength into me.
I get it, though. Bryan’s an actor. He takes this stuff very seriously. I didn’t. I mean, it was important for me to do the job well, but I didn’t need to be an actor in the same way a lot of other guys did. That’s why it was okay for me to get out of it. […]
Now, if someone wants me for a part and it’s easy enough, I’ll do it — like when they called me back to do El Camino. It was a little part, but I went up on my lines again and after a couple of takes, Vince Gilligan called a break for 10 minutes for me to get my lines down. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why they never asked me to be on Better Call Saul.
About Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad was a critically acclaimed series aired on AMC from 2008 to 2013. The show followed the story of Walter White, a high-school chemistry teacher who turned to a life of crime after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Throughout its run, Breaking Bad featured several memorable guest stars, including Hankin, who made several appearances as Old Joe.
Larry Hankin in Breaking Bad
Old Joe, portrayed by Larry Hankin, was a minor character in the acclaimed series Breaking Bad, but one that made a lasting impression on viewers. The owner of Rocker Salvage first appeared in season 3 to help Walt and Jesse get rid of their mobile meth lab. In one of his most memorable scenes, he impressively cites legal loopholes to keep DEA agent Hank Schrader from searching the RV.
Old Joe returned in the season 5 premiere to sell the main characters a powerful magnet used to destroy evidence. He also appeared in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie to help Jesse dispose of his getaway car. Despite his popularity, Hankin was not asked to return for Better Call Saul, which he attributed to needing help remembering his lines.
Larry Hankin is famously known for his iconic portrayal of Mr. Heckles in the hit American Tv sitcom Friends; in 2021, he returned as Mr. Heckles in Friends: The Reunion.