Charles Baker talks about playing Skinny Pete in AMC’s “Breaking Bad”

Charles Baker plays the role of Skinny Pete in the popular AMC series “Breaking Bad”. The show is now in its 5th and final season and Charles took time out of his busy schedule to talk with Media Mikes about his experiences working on the show and how he turned a background character in to a recurring role on one of televisions hottest shows.

Adam Lawton: What was it that first drew you to the role of “Skinny Pete”?
Charles Baker: “Skinny Pete” wasn’t even a role when I first started on the show. He was originally just called “Skinny Stoner” and I was hired for only one episode during season 1. It was supposed to be just a day player role and what drew me to it was I was going to get to work on television. (Laughs) It was a job and people really didn’t know a lot about the show or anything like that. I had heard some things about the show but didn’t know how phenomenal it was going to be or that I was going to be a part of it.

AL: Being the role was written originally for a one time appearance were you allowed to provide any creative input or direction?
CB: Because of how things happened so consciously in season 1 they just told me they were going to bring me back for another episode and would see how things went. My first scene was very small so I came in with how I thought the role should be played and the director who worked on that episode had his own ideas about the role so what we created for that bit part kind of dictated my role for the rest of the series. A lot of times before each scene I would have to repeat one of my lines from that first episode as a way to get myself back into character. I would always have to repeat “Yo my pops is a contractor” in order for me to fall back into that speech pattern. Each time I was on the show I was working with a different director who would have their own idea for what they thought Skinny Pete was. A couple directors thought of him as a hardcore, mean, scary guy while a few others saw him has this lovable, goofy guy. However they saw the character was how they directed us. We would have to find a balance in their in order to keep consistency while still getting what they were asking for. That is how the many layers of Skinny Pete happened.

AL: Was it hard working with different directors all of the time?
CB: It was a challenge but I think it was a great learning experience. I love things like that where I have to find it in myself to make things like that work. It was better for me in the long run I think because I didn’t get stuck in a rut. I was able to give Skinny Pete more levels and layers to play with. For me it was a lot of fun and similar to an improve exercise.

AL: What do you think has been the roles biggest progression?
CB: He has kind of grown a little bit. Pete has started to follow in Jesse’s footsteps without having to learn all the harsh lessons Jesse had to learn. I think he has seen Jesse become more responsible up until the point where we see him start to be affected by the actions of his crew. You see Jesse start to become more of a business man than a thug. At the start of season 5 you see Pete acting similar in a scene between him and Badger at a music store. That’s a new step for Skinny Pete I think. He is actually taking something serious instead of just playing around.

AL: What do you think is in store for Skinny Pete as the show concludes?
CB: I wish I could tell you. I don’t even know what’s going on. That’s all part of the brilliance in how the show is shot and how tight security is. In the past If I had a scene where I don’t speak and I am just in the background I got to see that script so I knew what’s going on. With this last season they have been using a stand-in for scenes that I may or may not be in. They just didn’t tell me anything. (Laughs) If I had dialogue then it was just me. I am not even sure of what scenes I am in or not. I am ok with that because I am a huge fan of the show and I want to be surprised just like everyone else. I know Vince and the people who work on that show will never let me down. They don’t have to tell me what I am doing. They can put a blind fold on me, tell me what lines to say and I know it will be brilliant. I will trust them on that.

AL: What was it like for you working with Brian Cranston both as an actor and director?
CB: Brian is a wonderful person. Since the beginning he has been the leader and father figure of the show. Vince keeps a very tight hand on everything that happens but he is not always around during filming so Brian is the foundation and keeps everyone together. Having him direct was very natural since he has been such a guide through everything.

AL: What do you think you will miss most about playing the character?
CB: I am going to miss a lot of things. Every episode was a new adventure for me. They opened up a lot of things for Skinny Pete and gave him a lot of responsibility. To be able to sink your teeth in to a character for as long as all of have on “Breaking Bad” is great. This was a first for me as I had never played a recurring role on a series before. It was like creating an alter ego who becomes like a friend. I will certainly miss that and having a job. (Laughs)

AL: Can you tell us about some of your other upcoming/current projects?
CB: I currently have a small recurring role on the show “The Black List” with James Spader. I play a character by the name of “Grey”. He was originally called “The man in the grey flannel suit”. Luckily they shortened that down. I like to compare the role to if James Spader was Batman I would be his Alfred. I am his go to guy. It’s definitely a switch from that of Skinny Pete. Grey combs his hair and wears a suit. (Laughs) They say he drives a Bentley but I haven’t been able to do that yet. I also shot a pilot for NBC called “Murder in the First”. We are just waiting to hear if that’s going to go through. I really think it will because it’s a great show and cast. I worked on an independent film in Texas titled “Flutter” that I just saw a rough cut of the other day. It stars Lindsay Pulsipher from “Hatfields and McCoys”. From what I have seen of the film it is beautiful. I don’t know when it is coming out but I hope it is soon as I think people will really enjoy it. Lastly “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” which stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara is out now and I have a role in that as well.

RJ Mitte talks the final season of AMC’s “Breaking Bad”

RJ Mitte plays the role of Walter Jr. on the hit AMC television series “Breaking Bad”. The show is currently in production on its final season and RJ took some time out of his busy shooting schedule to talk about his involvement with the show and how it has progressed over the last 5 seasons.

Adam Lawton: How did you originally get involved with playing the role of Walter Jr.?
RJ Mitte: I went through the audition process which consisted of 5 separate auditions. I did 4 in Los Angeles and then went out to Albuquerque where I had a screen test and an audition. All of this happened within a couple of weeks. I was at the auditions in Los Angeles while they were telling me to get ready to go to New Mexico. The next day I was on a plane and I had my audition in the morning. From there things just took off and I have been working on the show ever since.

AL: What was your first day on set like?
RJ: It was amazing! Before “Breaking Bad” I wasn’t really doing anything substantial. I was doing background work actually as I was learning at the time how to work on a set. I was still learning how everything worked, what a set does and what it takes to be on a set. I was just sort of thrown in and started seeing how everything worked first hand as a lead actor.

AL: What has it been like working with such a diverse and great cast?
RJ: It’s really awesome. We have a great cast and crew. I can only imagine how differently things would be if we shot the show in Los Angeles. A lot of what I know about acting comes from working on “Breaking Bad”. Brian, Anna and everybody have taught me so much. Just by watching them is so interesting as everyone has their own style of acting. It’s been an honor to practically grow up watching the show and getting to see how it all comes together.

AL: What has been your experience with the notoriety you have received since the show took off?

RJ: I never thought a show about methamphetamine would get so big. Being recognized is something that has definitely changed. It’s interesting because I never thought people would be coming up to me telling me they love my work. It’s really cool!

AL: What do you think has been the biggest change in your character over the course of the show?
RJ: The views Walter Jr. has of his parents have changed several times. That is something he has been back and forth on. Just the transition of his parents is a big thing. Walter Jr. is in a completely different world. He is your typical kid that is trying to go through life as normally as possible. It’s interesting to see how the writers write his transition from his parents because there have been so many ups and downs.

AL: Have you been able to provide input on the character?
RJ: Yes. For every script we always have input. The writers are pretty open about asking us as to how we feel about certain things. We have been really lucky to be able to do that and to be able to take our characters in to the direction we want them to go.

AL: Can you give us any updates on the upcoming season?
RJ: We are currently shooting as we speak. I just got done shooting the first episode and I have the script for the second. Things are going and it’s insane! There is just so much going on in the first episode that I am anxious to see the fans reactions.

AL: How soon do you get the scripts prior to shooting an episode?
RJ: Usually it’s anywhere from a couple of days to a week. It depends a lot on the shooting schedule. The scripts have become very tight because people have tried stealing them. The scripts are water marked now and at times I have to sign them in and out. So many people are trying to get scripts from the show. Ultimately that just ruins it for everybody when something like that happens. I can tell everyone that this season will be worth the wait.

AL: Do you have a favorite episode from the series?
RJ: I love everything that we have done. Weather I am in the scene or not I love what we have done. I am hoping to have a new personal favorite very soon. We shall see. I have certainly enjoyed my scenes with Brian. It’s been fun.

AL: What other projects have you recently completed or are currently working on?
RJ: I have a movie that was filmed awhile back coming out titled “House of Last Things”. I also just shot a small spot on “Vegas” with Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis. That was an amazing set to shoot on and it is really well done. I wasn’t killed off so I could possibly be coming back. I also am scheduled to shoot a film in France as well as Abu Dhabi. I am keeping busy and also looking for more work.

IronE Singleton reflects on his role of T-Dog in AMC’s “The Walking Dead”

IronE Singleton is known best for his role of T-Dog in AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. His character has been a key aspect of the show for the last three seasons, until his recent demise in the fourth episode of the third season. Media Mikes had a chance to reflect with IronE about his role on the show and what we can expect next.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about how you prepared for shooting your death scene?
IronE Singleton: Mentally, I had a lot of time to prepare because I got word about a month in advance. So I was ready to do that. Plus, when I originally signed on it was only for two maybe three episodes and I ended up lasting three seasons. As far as the physicality was concerned, I had to wear a prosthetic. They put me this pasty stuff on me and let it dry on me for like an hour. Once it dried they cracked it off and that is what they used when the zombies were biting me and pulling out all the guts and veins etc. They were pulling from the prosthetic.

MG: I am a big horror fan and I cringed with your neck scene.
IS: Yeah, I hear that a lot. During one interview I had recently, one guy said he was eating his pizza and he had to stop eating since he almost hurled. People say they can’t eat when they watch this show. They love it but they can’t eat.

MG: What has been your highlight working on “The Walking Dead”?
IS: I have a two and a quarter season highlight reel. Every day was total bliss. Every day was something that I will relish for the rest of my life. I had great times throughout. I honestly did not have one bad day on set. It is hard for me to pin point because every day was like that. I would look forward to going in to work, getting the handshakes, the hugs and kisses. That is what I did everyday for two and a quarter seasons.

MG: Are you surprised with the fans reaction to your character T-Dog?
IS: It is a bit overwhelming. In a good way – in a great way! The amount of support and love that T-Dog is getting showered with is unbelievable. Let’s just say it has been a very emotional week for me since the episode has aired, to say the least. When I did “The Talking Dead” after my final episode, I had to choke back the tears. I am just taken back by all the love from fans, not just in the US but all over the world.

MG: What is it about “The Walking Dead” and it killing off key characters each season?
IS: It is so similar to real life though. When people die you don’t expect them to die unless they have a terminal illness. You just don’t see it coming. That is what happens on “The Walking Dead”. That is the stuff that grabs you the most.

MG: I was hoping for a T-Dog vs. Merle showdown this season.
IS: I think you and millions of others were waiting on that. Ever since the rooftop scene, where T-Dog dropped that key, people were talking about us meeting up again. It would have been great TV.

MG: What season was the most challenging for you?
IS: Season one…we are going to go with the rooftop scene. Oh my goodness, it was like 107 degrees but with humidity it was like 115-120 degrees. I almost fainted a few times and that is something that I don’t do. Having played football for 15 years, I have never come close. So there I was on this rooftop about to pass out, I was thinking “Man that is a big wuss move” [laughs]. Season 2 also was rough with the highway scene, where I cut myself and we had to do that twice. That was also a big one for me, as well as the well-walker scene.

MG: What do you got line-up next in the cards?
IS: I’ve got a project with Neve Campbell called “Sworn to Silence”. I play a small town cop, who was once a former army ranger. He moves to a small Amish community and him and Neve’s characters are out searching for a serial killer. This is based on a best-selling novel by Linda Castillo. I also have another movie “A Box for Rob” that is currently making its way around the festival circuit. I am also working on an autobiography, which I am currently searching for a title. It is related to my life coming from the projects and making it all the way to Hollywood. I am co-writing that Juliette Terzieff, she is the founder of The Zombie Survival Crew. We are halfway done with it and it is currently slated to be published in February 2013. Lastly, I have my song “We Are the Walking Dead”, which is available to purchase on my website: