RJ Mitte: 'Breaking Bad didn’t even make me a millionaire' (2023)

RJ Mitte, the actor, is best known for his role as Walter “Flynn” White Jr in the critically acclaimed and hugely popular TV seriesBreaking Bad. Like his character on the show, he has cerebral palsy. Now 22, Mitte lives in Los Angeles with his mother Dyna and sister Lacianne Carriere, 11.

How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude towards money?

I grew up not being able to say “can’t” and “won’t”. As a child, I was taught that you can achieve and you can do anything you want. It’s a matter of choosing to do so – and not letting people fill you with fear and doubt.

I’ve always treated money with respect, but I don’t really think about money – I try to avoid it, because I don’t like what money does to people. I find if you get too much money involved, people get corrupted. I see what it does to them, how it changes their mentality. When you give someone some money out of generosity and you don’t watch it, people will squander it and even use it against you. Sadly, the greed of man is always growing and it’s very powerful.

What was your very first job and wage?

I sold sandwiches to my classmates at school. Not legally – I was seven or eight years old. I varied how much I charged. Some people I’d sell them to for less and some people I’d sell them to for more, depending on whether I liked them and how much they wanted the sandwich.

I’d make $3 or $4 per sandwich. My mother didn’t know I was doing this though.

Did she ever find out?

Yes. One day – the Game Boy came out I think – and I really wanted it. She was like: “You have to save your money.” I said: “No, I have it,” and I took out all this money I’d made … and my mother thought I’d stolen it! I said “No, I've been selling the sandwiches you make me.”

I’d gone from “eating” one or two sandwiches a day to four and then to eight sandwiches each day. I had been telling my mother: “I’m so hungry, I snack on them throughout the day, I need them.” You could say it was good practice for my acting career.

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Has there been a time in your life when you didn’t know how you were going to pay the bills?

Every day of my life. You always have worry about: What’s my next job? What would happen if they didn’t hire me?

There have been times in my life when it’s been crunch time, and I haven’t wanted to answer phone calls – because sometimes you don’t know where you’re going to get the money to pay your rent, sometimes you don’t know whether you’re going to get a new job next month.

But I’m really good at making money in general. I will do what is necessary to provide for my family, even if it’s not acting or being in this industry, and I always have.

How has the huge success ofBreaking Badaffected you financially?

Breaking Badgave me a career. It gave me more work than I could possibly imagine – I started filming it when I was 14 years old and I finished when I was turning 21. But the financial impact – well, I’m still waiting to see that.

How come?

The thing about [having] more money is that it means more bills.

Each time you make a little bit more, you’ve got to pay out a little bit more. People see me and they think that I’m a millionaire and that I have an extremely significant living. That’s not the case. I’m lucky – I have more than most people. But I don’t think people understand that in this industry it’s not like you suddenly start taking private jets and flying around the world. When you see that, most of it is a facade – smoke and mirrors.

Sure, you have the potential to make a lot of money, but you have more potential to lose it or spend a lot more than you realise. There are so many times when people get cheated and skimped on. It’s not an easy profession.

So how did the money you earned change your life?

It helped. Not a lot of people know this but my mother [who adopted Mitte at birth and brought him up alone after separating from her husband] was paralysed for six years from an accident.

This was after my little sister was born, when I was 11. I became financially responsible for them from the age of 13, and I still am today. I work constantly – I try to do four or five jobs a month that bring in an income.

When it comes to money, I provide for my family, and that’s important to me.

Worst money mistake you’ve ever made?

Giving money away. I tend to have an issue with that. I’m like: Oh you need your car fixed, OK, here. I think being generous is the whole point of having a little bit extra.

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Are you a spender or a saver?

I’m a bit of both. To a degree, I’m very frugal. I don’t need a lot. The only thing I really spend money on is food and gas. I get a lot of clothes for free, and when I don’t get them for free, I go to thrift shops and get vintage things – I think the best clothes can be found there. And I very rarely go on holiday because I don’t really have a lot of time.

As for saving, I try to save as much as anyone can. But things come up in life, you know? So I save until something happens … and then I have to start un-saving.

What’s the one luxury or indulgence you couldn’t live without?

My Netflix is pretty important to me. More and more, I’m becoming reliant on that! I guess my car is my indulgence – it’s a '67 Mercury Cougar, a pony muscle car. We also have a family car which is a Mercedes ML350. I paid 65pc less than the normal retail price though.

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How did you negotiate 65pc off?

I have my ways! I’m really good at getting deals on vehicles. I never pay full price for a car, ever. It’s usually cut in half or a little bit more. As soon as you buy a car, it goes down in value, so I don’t buy a new car unless it’s a deal.

What’s the most extravagant thing you’ve ever bought, just for fun?

A pair of Louis Vuitton shoes. They’re black, a cross between a dress shoe and a tennis shoe. I bought them when I was 18 and they cost $1,200 (£766). That’s the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought but my investment paid off. I wear them all the time. I’ve got more mileage out of those shoes than any other pair of shoes I’ve ever had. They’re extremely comfortable.

What is the most important thing you’ve learnt about money?

Money changes people. It’s something that you have to be careful of. You have to treat it with respect but at the same time, be careful because you will lose yourself to it. You have to protect who you are and what you stand for.

Do you support any charities?

Yes, quite a few. I sit on the boards of a number of charities in the United States, and am a supporter of Scope here in the UK. I give up at least a quarter of my time to charities, maybe more. But a quarter is such a small part when you spread it out. I enjoy it.

Is it hard for a disabled actor to get work in Hollywood?

It’s hard for any actor to get work – and yes, if you’re a disabled actor, it is harder. Attitudes in Hollywood are changing, but slowly. People still see someone with a disability as a liability. They look at you and think: “You’re going to take twice as long on that shot”. But that’s not the case. People have this misconception about what a disability is. They see it as a weakness, an illness – something that needs to be fixed or cured. But when you have a disability, you have no choice but to take it and utilise it to your advantage, and grow from it.

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A disability is knowledge; a disability is power.

What’s the best financial decision you’ve ever made?

Hiring a business manager. I keep everything out of my hands. I try to avoid dealing with money at all costs.

What’s your financial priority?

I would love to be retired by the age of 25. That would be amazing.

RJ Mitte is a supporter of the disability charity Scope, which campaigns to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. To donate and support disabled people and their families visitscope.org.uk/donate

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Does RJ Mitte actually have CP? ›

Mitte was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 3; after his diagnosis, doctors put his legs in casts for 6 months to straighten his feet. He used leg braces and crutches for most of his childhood until his body became strong enough to walk without them.

What speech impediment does RJ Mitte have? ›

Unlike his on-screen character, Mitte has a milder form of CP, and does not use crutches or slur his speech. Yet the 22-year-old actor has faced many of the same medical and social challenges as White. "People with CP overcome hurdles every day," Mitte says.

Is Walter Jr really disabled in real life? ›

Roy Frank "RJ" Mitte III (/ˈmɪti/; born August 21, 1992) is an American actor, best known for playing Walter White Jr. on the AMC series Breaking Bad (2008–2013). Like his character on the show, he has cerebral palsy. After moving to Hollywood in 2006, he began training with a personal talent manager.

Is the son in Breaking Bad disabled in real life? ›

Actor RJ Mitte rose to fame at the age of 14 when he was cast as Walter White Jr in cult series Breaking Bad. He has cerebral palsy and was bullied when he was younger because of his disability.

What mental illness does Walter White have? ›

By examining the social and internal interactions of the character Walter White, it is clear that he could be clinically diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder.

Is Walter White Jr Autistic? ›

He has cerebral palsy, as manifested in speech difficulties and impaired motor control, for which he uses crutches.

Does Walt Jr ever walk? ›

He has cerebral palsy, as manifested in speech difficulties and impaired motor control, for which he uses crutches.

How old was RJ Mitte in Breaking Bad Season 1? ›

His son was played by R.J Mitte who joined the Breaking Bad cast when he was just 13 years old.

How much did Skyler make in Breaking Bad? ›

It can be presumed that she was a 90th percentile bookkeeper while working for Beneke Fabricators. According to Payscale, 90th percentile bookkeepers in the US earn around $111,000 annually. While this is a decent sum, Skyler didn't keep the job for long. At the start of the series, she had quit her job.

How long do people with cerebral palsy live? ›

Many children with milder forms of cerebral palsy have average survival times similar to those of the general population. Children with mild cerebral palsy have a 99% chance of living to 20 years old, whereas children with severe cerebral palsy have a 40% chance, according to Dr. Ananya Mandal.

Why did Walt leave Gretchen? ›

Trivia. In 2016, Vince Gilligan finally revealed the true reason why Walter broke up with Gretchen and left Gray Matter: he felt inferior to her and her wealthy family, confirming that it was due to his ego and pride.

How much money did Bryan Cranston make per episode of Breaking Bad? ›

In 2008, he assumed the iconic role of Walter White on Breaking Bad, which made him his fortune. Bryan Cranston's salary per episode was $225,000 and it even earned him the Primetime Emmy award for outstanding lead actor three times.

What is Hanks illness in Breaking Bad? ›

Hank develops symptoms of PTSD and transfers back to the Albuquerque office to continue his investigation into the blue meth. Meanwhile, Walt and Jesse, having lost the Salamancas for selling meth, have engaged with Jesse's friends.

Did Walt look at Jesse like a son? ›

Did Walter White care more about Jesse than his children? It was not a matter of caring more about Jesse, it was that he cared about Jesse in a different way than his own son. In Jesse, Walter found what he didn't have with his own son, and that was someone who looked up to him in a sense.

Why is Walt Jr called Flynn? ›

This changed, however, in the final season of Breaking Bad when Walt's actions were unearthed. Walt Jr. was disgusted by his father and vowed to protect his mother and baby sister. In doing so, he permanently dropped his birth name and went by Flynn to further wipe his connection to Walt.

Is Tuco A psychopath? ›

Numerous characters in television shows are informally described as psychopaths. Examples include Natalie Buxton in Bad Girls, Sean Slater and Michael Moon in EastEnders, Dexter Morgan in Dexter, Tuco Salamanca in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, and Frank Underwood in House of Cards.

How long does Walter live after his diagnosis? ›

On the day Walter White was diagnosed with cancer, he was given two years to live. He missed the 2 year mark diagnosis by only one day in "Felina" when he died.

Is Walter White a psychopath or sociopath? ›

The sides of his personality — sociopath and family man, scientist and killer, rational being and creature of impulse, entrepreneur and loser — are not necessarily as contradictory as we might have supposed. Or rather, if we insist on supposing that they are, it may be for our own sentimental reasons.

What happened to Walt Jr legs? ›

But the truth is, Walt Jr. was cast as having cerebral palsy—as he does in real life—because it is an easy disease for insurance companies to call a pre-existing condition.

Does Walt's family get the money? ›

After Walt recovers, Skyler confronts him about that and leaves him when he lies about it. Yes, Walter White Jr. (Walt Jr. ) and Skyler White both eventually get Walter Whites money from his involvement in the meth business.

How much IQ does Walter White have? ›

145 is a good estimate of Walter White's IQ. That's just above genius level, which is 140.

Does Walt Jr ever meet Jesse? ›

Walter White Jr. (RJ Mitte) was the only main character in Breaking Bad that never interacted with Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul). Both appeared in all five seasons of the award-winning AMC series.

Does Walt become a kingpin? ›

After the destruction of the Cartel and the collapse of Gus' Drug Empire, Walter decided to establish himself as the only major drug kingpin left in the Albuquerque area. However, Walter had been manufacturing and selling crystal methamphetamine for a period of time prior to the formal establishment of his "empire".

Did Walt get a happy ending? ›

Crime didn't pay and Walter lost just about everything, including his life. But it was also, by the show's bleak, almost Calvinist standards, a relatively happy ending. It wasn't, as he so often feared, all for nothing – he found a way to get his money to his children.

How much older was Walt than Skyler? ›

Skyler is 12 years younger than Walt, whom she met when she was a hostess at a diner near Walt's former place of work, near the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

How old is Jesse Pinkman in the last episode? ›

Seeing as El Camino picked up moments after Breaking Bad's final episode, Jesse was still 25. In fact, the character's actions to acquire a new identity occurred while he was on the brink of turning 26 years old.

Where was Breaking Bad filmed? ›

The Breaking Bad show was primarily filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Who would have known?

What was Jesse Pinkman's net worth? ›

Net Worth of Aaron Paul

He is best known for his role as Jesse Pinkman in the AMC television drama series Breaking Bad (2008–2013). As of 2021, Aaron Paul's net worth is estimated to be $25 million.

Does Skyler get the money after Walt dies? ›

When her life fell apart and Walt disappeared, Skyler lost her assets and moved in with her kids in a small apartment with a job as a taxi dispatcher. It was revealed that her sister, Marie, reached out for a truce, so it's likely that the two reconnected shortly after the series finale.

How much did Gus pay Walt? ›

Season 3. Gus is pleased with the quality of Walt's blue meth and offers him $3 million for three months of his time to cook more in a high-tech "superlab" hidden under an industrial laundry that Gus owns. Walt initially refuses, but Gus eventually convinces Walt that he should cook for his family's financial security.

Does Christopher have CP in real life? ›

I'm an actor with cerebral palsy. I swim, surf, grocery shop, and love the beach. I'm Christopher on Fox's 9-1-1 (monitored by mom)

Was Walt Jr supposed to have cerebral palsy? ›

At first glance, Breaking Bad's creator Vince Gilligan thought RJ Mitte​ wasn't right. He had written the role of Walter White's son, Walt jnr in tribute to an old college friend with cerebral palsy and was determined that an actor with the disability should play the part.

Is cerebral palsy a form of autism? ›

Is Cerebral Palsy a Form of Autism? Cerebral palsy is not a form of autism. According to the Mayo Clinic, cerebral palsy — which develops after the brain suffers severe damage before, during, or shortly after birth — causes problems with muscle control and tone, movement, and posture.

Why does Walt Jr have CP? ›

But the truth is, Walt Jr. was cast as having cerebral palsy—as he does in real life—because it is an easy disease for insurance companies to call a pre-existing condition.


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