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Today’s guest on London Real is the actor, model and anti-bullying activist RJ Mitte.
This episode means so much to me given RJ’s major role in one of my favourite shows – Breaking Bad!
If you are not familiar with the show, RJ Mitte played Walter White Jr on the show, a teenager who suffers from cerebral palsy.
RJ suffers from the condition himself, but as you’ll see in the interview, he doesn’t really view it as suffering. In his words, “CP gave me a job”.
That gives you an insight into the mind of this great actor.
RJ has basically used the difficulties he experienced growing up disabled, to carve out a successful Hollywood career, and craft for himself a success mindset.
Mindset is a word RJ uses all the time.
RJ has a lot of insights about how to reclaim your mentality from the negativity and manipulation of a fear-based culture.
And this is not just some comfortable Hollywood star saying this. RJ has had some of the hardest challenges it’s possible to have.
Not only does he have a disability, he’s also managed to grow up a child star in a brutal and often shallow industry.
There’s nothing shallow about RJ and he’s one of the sweetest and most patient guests we’ve had on the show.
To call him positive would be an understatement!
The guy is a highly charged, creative and sensitive artist, and his powers for observation are truly admirable.
RJ loves life. He talks at length about how his cerebral palsy allowed him to stand out from the crowd, and gave him a unique set of skills to attract casting directors.
It’s also given him a leadership role of sorts.
RJ is on the board of NGOs and has become a kind of positive role model for young people with disabilities.
This ties in with our discussion about Breaking Bad in general.
RJ goes deep on what it was like to be on the show, and how he fell in love with his work while shooting the pilot episode.
RJ recounts how for the first few seasons of Breaking Bad there was a little bit of resistance from audiences.
The show hit the screens at a difficult time, when ordinary people’s lives were being hit by the economic crash of 07/08.
RJ says that the show’s innovative, hard-hitting subject matter made it hard for some people to grapple with, but as things levelled out economically, the show’s popularity grew.
For all you Breaking Bad fans out there, you’re gonna love hearing his stories on what it was like to basically learn how to act by watching great actors like Bryan Cranston and Anna Gunn.
He also gives his take on what he believes made Breaking Bad such a game-changing show for American TV.
You’ll have to watch the Episode to get RJ’s thoughts on this, but it comes down to something he seems to value above everything else: Truth.
The honest, no-holds-barred representation of drug addiction was unprecedented for such a mainstream TV show, and it resonated with a lot of people.
RJ mentions that some of his friends that had experiences of addiction couldn’t watch the show because it was so real.
But he thinks that people accepted some of the darker scenes of Breaking Bad because people were sort of relieved to see imperfect, flawed people on TV.
RJ says that he loves to observe people.
He’s got a very humble curiosity about other human beings, and he loves to be around them.
He reveals how his creative mind works, and it’s pretty intense.
A lot of actors use personal experiences to give life to a role, but RJ says he LIVES the role as he plays it.
Coming from other actors you’d think this was pretty scary, but RJ is a very composed and grounded young man, and he’s self-aware.
I think his lack of Hollywood ego comes from the fact that his “condition” has forced him to come to terms with his limitations.
In fact, RJ riffs on this quite a bit, and he says a lot of people are so obsessed with chasing a false idea of perfection, that they fail to stop and breathe in the moment.
And they avoid looking at themselves, embracing the whole truth about who they are.
I get a real sense of how much his co-actors meant to him on the set of Breaking Bad, and he talks about some of the challenges of leaving behind that experience.
But as you’ll find out, RJ is not one for dwelling on past successes.
He’s clearly a man who loves to work, and for such a young guy, he’s really mastered the art of turning challenges to his advantage.
All this makes him the perfect London Real guest, and we are so proud to have had him on the show.
[0:11:30] As an actor we shouldn’t just stick to one role.
[0:12:00] Our job is to invoke emotional response.
[0:13:30] Why did it take many seasons for people to like the show?
[0:15:20] Amphetamine addiction.
[0:17:30] Growing up in the show. The pilot episode of Breaking Bad as Walter “Flynn” White Jr.
[0:21:10] Fear. Playing a role. Living in the scene. Being in the moment.
[0:22:50] Different levels of how I behave when acting, when in an interview.
[0:23:50] Learning from watching behaviour.
[0:25:10] Vigilant of how other people behave. Character breakdowns.
[0:26:05] Walter “Flynn” White Jr. and RJ Mitte are both born with cerebral palsy.
[0:27:30] It’s not who he is. It’s not that I wake up and “Oh I’ve got CP today.”
[0:28:20] The power of perception with television. Effecting mindsets of a generation.
[0:29:00] I never thought I was different.
[0:30:00] Anything that hinders you is a disability. A personal challenge that you have to overcome, and embrace it.
[0:31:05] A disability is a challenge. It’s a strength.
[0:31:45] I would have been another face in LA. Able bodied. 5”8”.
[0:32:30] Looking at it as a challenge that becomes an asset that is unique.
[0:33:55] Utilise it to better ourselves. I like a little challenge. Nothing in life comes easy.
[0:34:50] Seeing the value in it and utilising it as a higher value.
[0:35:20] Why create this character.
[0:36:30] That is a real family.
[0:37:10] Honesty and truth. Thats every family. The unspoken dysfunctional family.
[0:39:11] I wanted to die.
[0:41:10] I was sad when it was ending. I don’t have the regular work anymore.
[0:43:45] Digital is cheaper.
[0:44:33] Breaking bad is 500.
[0:45:42] If you are not passionate, you won’t last in this industry.
[0:46:40] You can make the smallest part the biggest part or you can make the biggest part the smallest part.
[0:47:30] How much talking in life do you actually do?
[0:48:30] Life after Breaking Bad
[0:49:30] You can’t be waiting around.
[0:50:10] Doing a lot of non-profit work. Philanthropic industry. Disability services. Working with Scope. Working with children.
[0:51:30] I’m the most trending one with the youth.
[0:52:00] Do you like the term disabled? Enabled. Handicapped. Able bodied.
[0:53:30] You have to overcome, but not fix and cure.
[0:54:20] Modelling. People know I can walk.
[0:55:35] Doing whatever I can not to be idle.
[0:57:33] Seeing a different way of processing.
[0:58:20] Film. Fashion.
[1:00:35] A lot of big actors go home.
[1:01:10] We have to build the next project. This carries over for everything in life.
[1:03:10] Success Secret.
[1:04:30] Looking at all the outcomes.
[1:05:10] Slapped hard by the universe.
[1:06:20] Advice to people who want to be like RJ Mitte.
[1:08:50] Can’t is a poisonous word.
[1:10:40] Movie stars no longer exist.