RJ Mitte on what Hollywood can learn from the Paralympics

Nov 20, 2020, 02:00 AM

Breaking Bad actor RJ Mitte on his obsession with the Paralympic Games and what Hollywood needs to do to represent disability better on the big screen.

Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte joins us on A Winning Mindset: Lessons From The Paralympics to discuss his love of the Paralympic Games and why he believes Hollywood should be doing more for persons with a disability.

Mitte, who starred as Walt Jr in the hit Netflix show, Breaking Bad, talks about how the entertainment industry can represent disability better, particularly after recent backlash over the portrayal of limb difference in The Witches. 

"It’s a marketing ploy," he admits. "They don't care how it blows up, as long as it blows up for long enough to get a return. And when it comes to showing people with disabilities as a hero, it's a case of look at that person overcoming adversity. 

"The only time you see a disabled hero is when they're in a wheelchair and then walking. There's so many of those that we need to go away from and strive for better."

The American actor also spoke on how his role has not only changed him, but how it may have the power to influence other disabled actors. 

"The closest person I had to relate to (growing up) was Forrest Gump. But he wasn't really disabled," he says. "But I'm now very honoured we have a Walt Jr to look at and to not just be a disabled person, but a pivotal part of a family. Walt Jr set a tone for what we are striving for in the arts and media."

Beyond being an actor, Mitte travelled to Rio 2016 as part of the Channel 4 broadcasting team, and he is counting down the days until Tokyo 2020. 

"Growing up I watched the Olympics but I also watched the Paralympics. I hung around to the end and it was always amazing to see feats that so many people believed were impossible that were actually possible and getting the opportunity to go to Rio, see all the sports and be a part of the team... it really changed my life when it came to perspective. Just seeing this true strength of valour for everyone."

Learning topics for this episode include diversity and inclusion, disability representation, understanding disabilities, and breaking down barriers.  
 
Allianz is a long-standing partner of the International Paralympic Committee. Together, we’re proud to bring you this series of podcasts. We aim to help you move forward in all aspects of your personal and professional life. 

By hearing from Paralympic stars, you’ll be introduced to stories that inspire and change the way you think. Stories of facing life’s challenges with confidence, determination and excellence, and the true power of having the right team behind you.