Editor's note: This week's Ecollywood column was so long that we split it half. Read the second part, about actor Dominic Monaghan's eco-volunteerism.

Building a green home is quite the protracted process. Just ask Bryan Cranston. The Breaking Bad star first told us about his construction plans in July, and as of now, still hadn’t broken ground due to back and forth negotiating with Ventura County for approval on the plans for the beach house. “I’m not putting in AC or forced heat. The cooling is from Mother Nature and the heat is from radiant heating on the floor,” he notes. “It’s going to receive a platinum level green certification.”

Cranston expects it will take at least a year to get it built, he tells MNN, but the wait will be worth it. “I believe in the philosophy. A friend of mine is interested in making a television show about the making of my house from start to finish.”

The Emmy-winning actor returns for Breaking Bad’s third season on March 21 on AMC with an episode he directed. "You’re able to put your imprint on it,” he says of working behind the camera, but compares it to “doing a massive 10,000 small-piece puzzle without the benefit of looking at the picture on the box. It’s a tremendous challenge and a lot of fun.”

Previously known best for his comic role as the goofy dad in Malcolm in the Middle, Cranston acts on the opposite end of the spectrum as teacher-turned-drug dealer Walt White. “I wouldn’t want to take him home with me,” he says, outlining the makeup and wardrobe removal ritual necessary to literally leave Walt at the set.  

He’s glad that he’s received accolades and elevated industry status late in his 30-year career. “You don’t appreciate it early on, only by having to work for it,” says Cranston, who has several upcoming film roles. He plays a bigoted Air Force major who’s against the formation of the Tuskegee Airmen in Red Tails, stars opposite Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci in Taylor Hackford’s Love Ranch, about Nevada’s first legal brothel, and in 2012, he will appear in John Carter of Mars, as the colonel who accompanies the title character (played by Taylor Kitsch) through a space portal. This summer, he’s set to direct Meet the Murphys, a family adventure that he’s co-writing.


For some people, green living is a trade-off. “We made a choice to go with disposable diapers, and that’s when we sold the Mercedes and bought a Prius. It’s what we could handle,” says Modern Family’s Julie Bowen (pictured right), the mother of a nearly 3-year-old boy and twin sons, 10 months. “I recycle and compost,” she adds. “And I want the new Prius, the one with the solar panels on the roof.”

Playing the mother of three older kids on the hit ABC sitcom is “teaching me a lot,” she says. For example? “Limits and boundaries. You don’t have to be your kids’ best friend. My kids are tiny babies, but it is good to have her in my arsenal when I think, ‘I just want to hang out and be their buddy.’ No. You’ve got to have limits.”


A couple of recent movies have put Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba (pictured left) on a greener path. “I’m not as green as I’d like to be, but I did see Avatar and I felt terrible because I don’t want to do that, and then I saw Food, Inc. and realized I need to be more careful of what I’m eating,” she says. “I eat organic and I cut down on meat. I tried to be a vegetarian but my body craves protein and I haven’t found the right mix yet. But I cut down to only two times a week, and it has to be organic meat.”

Inaba also recycles at home and is considering a hybrid or electric car for her next vehicle. She requested and received gardening tools for her last birthday. “I want to grow my own vegetables — tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, some fruits, papayas, all of that,” she says.

Dancing With the Stars, featuring a cast including Baywatch and Playboy icon Pamela Anderson, Shannen Doherty (Beverly Hills 90210), Kate Gosselin (Jon and Kate + 8), Jake (The Bachelor) Pavelka, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, ESPN host (and stalker victim) Erin Andrews, figure skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek, Niecy Nash (Reno 911!), NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, and soap star Aiden Turner in Season 10, has its two-hour premiere on March 22 on ABC.


“I never use hot water in the washing machine. Everything gets clean in cold water,” says Rosemarie DeWitt (pictured right), who plays Toni Collette’s sister Charmaine in United States of Tara, about a woman with multiple alter personalities and how her family deals with all of them. “I probably don’t need to use the dryer so much, either. I need to get a clothesline up and going.” 

DeWitt returns for the Showtime series’ second season on March 22. “It’s a fun character because I can bring all of myself to it and no one says, ‘you’re too angry’ or ‘you’re too bitchy’ or too kooky. I love how she’s not afraid to speak her mind and to try to live out her dreams, as skewed as they may be.”

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Additional photo credits: Julie Bowen by Bob D'Amico/ABC; Rosemarie DeWitt by Jordin Althaus/Showtime; Carrie Ann Inaba by WENN.