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From Breaking Bad to the Paralympics!

Published : Sep 11, 2016, 10:51 pm IST
Updated : Sep 11, 2016, 10:51 pm IST

RJ Mitte, best known for his role as Flynn (Walter White Jr.) on the hit television series Breaking Bad, is not just a talented actor but also an outspoken activist for people living with disabilities

A still from Breaking Bad
 A still from Breaking Bad

RJ Mitte, best known for his role as Flynn (Walter White Jr.) on the hit television series Breaking Bad, is not just a talented actor but also an outspoken activist for people living with disabilities. Now, the 24-year-old has a new role in a cause he strongly believes in — TV presenter for the 2016 Summer Paralympics!

The actor, who has cerebral palsy, is currently reporting for BBC 4 from the ongoing sporting event in Rio, held for athletes with disabilities, which goes on until September 18 this month.

“I am reporting and broadcasting for Channel 4 in the UK. I’m very excited that I will be a part of this journey! I will be interviewing the players and also witnessing the events,” he says, adding that he also enjoys playing various sports — “I’m a very active person, and I play lots of sports, including basketball too. Whatever you throw at me, I am game for it!”

While this new avatar certainly puts RJ in the spotlight again, it is for his performance throughout five seasons of Breaking Bad that he’ll be uiversally cherished for. The success of the show, not just in western countries, but also in India, is undeniable. The drama, which centered around the life of a high-school chemistry teacher, who turns into a drug kingpin and navigates the criminal underworld, enjoys a cult following even today – three years after its last episode aired.

Talking about the experience, RJ says, “It’s an interesting story a lot of people can relate to — about a man, Walter White, who will do anything to keep his family safe. He has no choice but to evolve and fight, but he ends up falling into a trap that slowly destroys his family. In this show, you root for the anti-hero and learn that there is good and bad in all of us. I play Walter’s son, Flynn, and I relate to all the characters on the show, as everyone has a different facet to their personality.”

He goes on to say, “You grow along with the people in the series. I could have never imagined that the show would be this big a hit. All of us loved working with each other on this passion project. It changed the game for everyone involved. It was truly made with love.”

Ask him about his knowledge of the Indian fan base for Breaking Bad, and he says, “I have definitely heard of how big the fan base in India is. I hope to come down very soon. I like Bollywood too; it’s amazing. The industry is brilliant and I’d love to be a part of an interesting Hindi project sometime, I just haven’t found the right opportunity.”

RJ, who — like his character on the show— has mild cerebral palsy, champions the cause of representation of people living with disabilities. When asked if he thinks his role would open more avenues in the media for the disabled, he says, “I don’t know if it opened more avenues, but I think it definitely put it on the map. We should now be open to having people with disabilities in non-disabled roles. Even for Breaking Bad, they weren’t looking for someone with or without disabilities, they were just searching for someone who could play the role. The main focus should be the character. Having real people playing real roles on film and TV is crucial.”

Besides reporting from Rio, he has a few movies on hand as well, “I just shot a sci-fi movie called The Recall with Wesley Snipes, and the experience was great. I’m working on a few other movies in the future but my focus right now is the Paralympics.”