When Hurricane Sandy was looming over New York, Texas native Brandon Polanco was working on the independent film Cold Comes The Night as a production assistant—the lowest run on the film crew ladder—and the film’s star, Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston, was bored. As Polanco explained to the Austin Chronicle in November:
“Since we were shooting upstate and not in the city,” Polanco explained, “the producers asked us to stay on location.” To pass the time, “Bryan decided that he wanted to make another film, a short film, and that it would only be for the production assistants.”
Cranston read the scripts blind and then selected the one to shoot: Polanco’s. Within hours, the team got to work. “I would spend the entire experience of the shoot working on my days off from the feature, and hiding out in my room cutting the entire film together to present to Bryan,” Polanco wrote.
The final product is a 13-minute short called “Writer’s Block,” in which Cranston plays a frustrated screenwriter seeking out his muse (played by Lela Edgar).
It’s very difficult for a young, unheralded filmmaker to attract attention to a short film, and “Writer’s Block,” which is the 2009 Stephen F. Austin graduate’s second short, would probably have disappeared into the learning-experience ether if not for the performance by Cranston. Because of the presence of Walter White himself, though, “Writer’s Block” has been viewed nearly 45,000 times in the two days since it went public on the video-hosting site Vimeo. (It’s also available for download on iTunes.) That’s roughly 44,700 more viewers than watched Polanco’s first film, Snap Shot.
Watch “Writer’s Block” below: