Amazon and Bryan Cranston’s ‘Dangerous Book for Boys’ Finds Its Lead Actor

Bryan Cranston’s upcoming series adaptation of The Dangerous Book for Boys wouldn’t be worth much without the right boys to tackle all that danger. Now they’ve found their lead actor in young Gabriel Bateman, a rising star who’s already faced down the devil himself.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Cranston and Amazon have cast Bateman in the lead role of Wyatt. He’s a kid navigating something no young child should ever have to endure: the death of his father. Thankfully, he and his brothers have something magical to help them deal with their grief: the titular Dangerous Book for Boys. The tome was left behind for them by their late father, an inventor of sorts, and it helps “[inspire] a whimsical fantasy world that allows Wyatt to feel connected to his father while gaining skills that apply to his real life.”

The Dangerous Book for Boys is based on Conn and Hal Iggulden’s quirky 2006 guidebook, which instructs young lads on things that “every boy should know.” The subjects range from history and fishing to noteworthy quotes or how to build a treehouse. The “how-to” format wouldn’t seem to lend itself to a narrative series, but Cranston and Amazon seem to have found an interesting angle for it. Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland) is directing and co-writing the first two episodes with Cranston. We’re betting Cranston might wind up playing the eccentric inventor father — think a mashup of his Walter White from Breaking Bad and his Hal from Malcolm in the Middle.

As for star Gabriel Bateman, he’s already added some fascinating roles to his resume in spite of only being 12. He starred in the horror flick Lights Out last year, acting opposite Teresa Palmer. He’s actually been something of a horror staple in recent years, also appearing in the Conjuring spinoff Annabelle and playing a demon-possessed tot in the Cinemax series Outcast. In spite of the dead dad angle, it sounds like The Dangerous Book for Boys will be comparatively light-hearted.

As for Cranston, he’s all over Amazon these days. He appears in the crime dramedy Sneaky Pete, and he’s co-executive producing the upcoming science fiction anthology series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.