Behind the Scenes with RJ Mitte

Kerong Kelly and Margret Ekblom , News Editor and Writer

In the following interview, actor RJ Mitte explains how his cerebral palsy on the show made him realize just how much he has overcome, and how the meaning of “Breaking Bad” has shaped him as an actor and a person.

KK: You portray a teen on “Breaking Bad” with a disability that you can identify with personally. How has this shaped you?

RJ: Characters are based on learning experience. Yes, Walt Jr. had a more pronounced form of cerebral palsy, but it’s been an eye opener for me. My cerebral palsy could be worse and being on the show allows me to be aware of how far I have overcome it. It made me realize the great chances I’ve been given. I think it is important that viewers of the show were able to relate with me and overcoming disabilities. At the end of the day, people all have challenges and everyone must overcome these challenges one way or another. People can overcome those challenges and use them to their advantage so they can flourish and grow.

KK: Do you find yourself using method acting?

RJ: One of the hardest parts about acting is at the end of the day leaving the character on stage. Everyone has their own types of methods of acting and how they bring it to the camera. You have to get out of your comfort zone. Believing in character is what makes it real.

ME: Your character Walt Jr. seemed to be the most grounded/most moral. Has your perspective on the fine line between good and bad changed since being on the show?

RJ: The line is definitely blurred. It has made me think about being as real and honest as possible. I’m a big advocate for anti-bullying. Putting this into the sense of “Breaking Bad,” Walt makes/deals meth to provide for his family, but as the series goes on, the good cause he’s cooking meth for gets blurred and the “bad” takes over. Also, you have to be able to learn from good and bad experiences. Not everyone is just good and just bad. We are all good people, but it’s the habits and the traits that fuel that anger, and people must find a new understanding of their own motives.

ME: Followers of the show root for Walt, the meth maker and dealer, while they want the supposedly “good” guy Hank, the DEA cop and uncle to Walt Jr., to lose.

RJ: Everyone wants an anti-hero. You feel for Walt because his bad actions are justified about the good he’s supposed to do. How far a bad act can go before it starts to change you and your family? “Breaking Bad” taught us that you couldn’t live decently while creating bad acts.

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