RJ Mitte, best known as Walter White Jr. on "Breaking Bad," is calling for more media representation for people like himself -- and in this case he doesn't mean handsome 24-year-old guys who seem like they'd be cool to hang out with. Mitte, who has cerebral palsy, spoke at the Edinburgh TV Festival to promote the 2016 Paralympic Games, which begin September 7 in Rio.
"I wouldn't be in the position I am in today without my disability," said Mitte (via the Irish Examiner), who is co-hosting U.K. Channel 4's coverage of the games.
"I utilized everything I know about living with cerebral palsy for my role in 'Breaking Bad.' It was my acting ability that landed me the role, although my disability helped get me the part of Walt Junior – like everyone else I went through a grueling audition process.
I'm really looking forward to co presenting the Paralympics and I truly hope Rio 2016 will open up further opportunities for other disabled actors in TV. If we can make this happen, we will in turn help change attitudes towards disability across the world."
The Irish Examiner quoted research by disability charity Scope, finding that 8 in 10 disabled people surveyed felt they were not well-represented in TV and the media. A previous 2014 study of 2,000 adults in the U.K. found that half didn't personally know someone disabled, while two-thirds said they felt awkward about disability.
"The representation of disability on TV is hugely important and the effect this has on improving attitudes towards disability should not be under-estimated," said Scope patron and co-host Sophie Morgan. "During the Paralympics there will be more disabled people than ever before on TV but this shouldn't be something that just happens every four years. I would love to switch on my TV and see a disabled person talking about something they are genuinely interested in or acting out a part that doesn't just focus on their impairment."
[h/t: Entertainment Weekly]
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