R.J. Mitte — Star of “Breaking Bad” — Speaks to the College of Charleston

– Thank you so
much for having me. I am R.J. Mitte. If you do not know who I am, I do not know why you are here. (audience laughs) I worked on a show
called “Breaking Bad” and I am now current working on another show called
“Switched at Birth” on ABC Family. I’ve been lucky enough that I started playing a
character with C.P., which is very awesome
in the standpoint that only two percent
of people on television actually have a disability. The rest, they
usually find someone that plays disabled. I started with
therapy at age three. I was going to Shriner’s
Children’s Hospital and I worked my whole life
to overcome my disability. With that came a couple of
challenges along the way. I dealt with bullying
because when I was 8, I had like a size 13
shoe from my braces. Think about a kid this tall, size 13 shoe. It just does not look… It just doesn’t
look appropriate. It’s not proportionate. That makes people target you. That makes you stand out. That makes you a target,
and people attack that and people use that to
try and take you down. It’s interesting because I never felt that
I was different. I never felt that I was any different than anybody else. I always tried to give back, even when I was a kid, we were always working and doing charity events,
before the acting. I always thought it was very
important to try to give back. I started working with several
different organizations as she mentioned. IMPWD was one of them. I’m a Youth Ambassador
for United Cerebral Palsy. I work with PACER, which
is against bullying. I work with Diversity, which
is another SAG AFTRA one. I am now an ambassador for
Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, and I always try to give back. People forget that they
always move forward and we dwell in the past. The thing is, you can
not dwell in the past. You always have to
remember to look forward and to look and to continue to want to be not just
better to someone else but better to yourself because everyone deserves a
better way of life, that you can achieve it. You really can. If I am able to do what I do, if I am able to work in
the field that I work, everyone has this opportunity. Everyone has this
responsibility. Everyone can do it. Everyone, literally. Your life, your world,
is not pre-determined. The thing about “Breaking
Bad” which was so amazing, it was able to
continue to do this. Everything that you
saw on the screen, everything that you saw there, it was written. It was written there. It was such an amazing
piece of literature. What Vince was able to create and what Vince brought, truly
was a remarkable setting and truly was able to… I wouldn’t be the same actor. I wouldn’t be where I am. I probably wouldn’t
be acting if I didn’t get “Breaking Bad”
in all honesty. I wouldn’t have the
capability and the knowledge that Brian and Anna
and Betsy and Dean and all of them have given me. It really was a remarkable
piece of literature. I auditioned five times, four in Los Angeles
and one in New Mexico. Two were next to
each other, though. I auditioned one day,
flew out that morning, the next morning, and went in
and auditioned at seven a.m. and I went up to my
room and passed out, and got a call
about an hour later and they’re like
“Oh, you got the job. “You need to come back,
we’re shooting like now.” (audience laughs) Sure, of course! – When your character
is being bullied, and Walt steps in and
stops the bullies, what was it like
playing that scene? (speech drowned out by
audience member coughing) – I thought it
was really amazing because a sampling of
everyone that had been bullied has always wanted
that guardian angel to go and just drop
them down to their knees and give them a little
taste of their own medicine. I think that it was a
great example of that. I feel that it’s not the
best way (audience laughs) to show someone that
bullying is wrong and that it does affect people, but I think it was
an awesome scene. I loved it. Our pasts, our lessons
that we have learned, our pasts will
always be our pasts. It sets you up
for who you become and the challenges and the walls that you have to break
down along the way. And yes, it’s impossible
to forget the past. It’s impossible. People always say
“Forget the past.” And yes, it is important
to keep moving forward, but to never forget,
never push something aside that helps create who you
are and what you are today. It’s really important that
you remember the steps and you remember the
people along the way. Remember how you got there and what brought you
to these moments. The thing is is
people do forget. They are so busy drawing
on moving forward that they forget what
the important steps were along the way. At the end of the
day, always remember that it’s you. It’s you that will
change your life. It’s you that will make
your world a better place, to always be able
to continue growing, continue learning. Thank you so much.