‘The things that I had to go through to get to walk, to talk, to move my hands, to pretty much fight for my independence, that is something that no one else can take away from me.’
RJ Mitte became famous playing Walter ‘Flynn’ White Jr in the hit TV series Breaking Bad, but he’s not just an actor – he’s also an activist. Like his character in Breaking Bad, RJ has cerebral palsy. It’s placed some hurdles in RJ’s path, from mobility to bullying, but hasn’t stopped him from acting, advocating for others – or even walking the runways of Milan for Vivienne Westwood.
Aside from his acting work – which has lately seen him branch out into producing roles, too – RJ devotes much of his time to campaigning on issues relating to equality and diversity. He is a union advocate for actors with disabilities in Hollywood and a celebrity ambassador for United Cerebral Palsy. Having experienced school bullying at a young age, RJ is passionate about raising awareness of schoolyard cruelty and victimisation.
Join RJ Mitte as he speaks with candour about the challenges and triumphs in his life to date, and our capacity for change. In conversation with Tom Ballard.
The Wheeler Centre will provide for all possible access requirements for this discussion. If you require specific arrangements – or are attending and require guaranteed proximity to our Auslan interpreter – please contact Wheeler Centre reception in advance of the event. Additional space will be made available for those with accessibility needs, including extra allocated room for wheelchairs.
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RJ Mitte played Walter ‘Flynn’ White Jr – the son of cancer-stricken science teacher-turned-drug manufacturer Walter White (Bryan Cranston) – on the Emmy Award-winning drama Breaking Bad. Like his character on the show, RJ has cerebral palsy, although his is a milder form of the disability.
Beyond acting, RJ is involved with several organisations that raise awareness of equality and diversity, including as the Youth Spokesperson for the National Disability Institute’s Real Economic Impact Tour, which works to improve the financial situation of low-income persons with disabilities.
He is also a spokesperson for ‘I AM PWD’, the tri-union campaign (SAG, AFTRA & Actors’ Equity) advocating for actors with disabilities, and for ‘Beyond Diversity – the future is now’. In 2011, Mitte became a Celebrity Youth Ambassador for United Cerebral Palsy, an organisation that educates, advocates, and provides support limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Earlier this year, he made his catwalk debut for Vivienne Westwood at Men’s Fashion Week in Milan.
Tom Ballard is a comedian, writer, broadcaster, actor, philanthropist and philanderer.
In 2009 he became the youngest person ever to win the Melbourne International Comedy Festival's Best Newcomer Award. Since then he's co-hosted the Triple J breakfast show for four years, won an ARIA, supported the likes of Wil Anderson, Stephen Merchant and Danny Bhoy, roasted Jimmy Carr and even filled in for Tony Jones on ABC TV's Q&A .
While all that's very impressive, you should also know that Tom has quite bad eczema, is scared of going to the gym and can not cook anything at all.