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Breaking Bad’s RJ Mitte on Bacon, Booze, and the Inevitable Finale

Walt Jr.’s been on a wild and entirely terrible ride in these final episodes of Breaking Bad. (Except for the time he got to meet Saul!) He learned the truth about his dad, intervened in a knife fight between his parents, and most brutally in the last episode felt compelled to tell Walt to “just die already!” But RJ Mitte tells us that, in a way, he’s still rooting for Walt, and he says deep down Jr. still has some sympathy as well. Vulture caught up with the actor to talk about the show’s final run, filming intense scenes with Bryan Cranston, and what’s ahead. But first, a belated happy birthday!

You looked like you had a great time celebrating your 21st in Las Vegas. Did the party go all night?
Actually, it went on for two nights. Palms Hotel threw the party, which was really awesome of them to do. During the day we were at the cabana at the pool, and at night we got some dinner and went up to Ghost Bar. The next day we did the exact same thing but went to a different restaurant and then up to Moon. The chefs were awesome, drinks were good; we had a blast.

What do you like to drink?
Anything quick and easy. I’m a big whiskey drinker. I’m a big Jägermeister fan too. I know that’s weird. I’m also now a big daiquiri fan.

Semi-hangover-related: Looking back, how much breakfast do you think you’ve eaten on Breaking Bad?
I feel like, out of all the seasons, I’ve had maybe seven breakfasts. I don’t feel like it’s so much, actually. I should probably double-check. I know I ate a lot of bacon. A lot. But bacon is the one thing I could never complain about.

At this point, are you rooting for Walt? Do you sympathize with him at all?
I root for Walt, but I don’t think he’s an anti-hero anymore. I don’t see him as the hero anymore. I see him as a villain. That changed for me when he went from wanting to do what’s right for his family to doing what Heisenberg wants.

That call between Walt Jr. and Walt almost made me feel bad for Walt again.
Bryan was there when I filmed my side of it. He was in the room. A lot of things were bottled up in Walt Jr., and his dad is the last person he wanted to hear from at that moment, so it was a surprise. It came at the wrong time. It was amazing but a weird scene to film.

Weird how?
Weird in that it’s the end. He tells his dad to die. That’s something you hear when there is no other way. It was Walt hitting his bottom. That’s the end. Filming it went by so quickly, too. Having Bryan there made a world of difference. You can feel it, even though we’re on the phone, you can feel all that emotion, he’s such an amazing actor.

Walt Jr.’s quiet for a lot of the call. Was he letting his dad try to explain or just letting him finish?
I think he was processing. He was trying to figure it out, but the conversation didn’t go where he wanted it to go. His family was not the family he thought. If you think about it, Jr.’s had so much changing to do over a very short amount of time. I think he feels sympathy for his dad — I do — but you have to remember this is an initial reaction. He just lost everything — his father, his uncle, his family.

Do you think he’d feel differently if he knew Walt didn’t technically kill Hank?
I think he would, but it’s too late. Everything that’s happened now, trying to take Holly and the knife fight with his mother, I think it’s too late.

The writer and director of “Ozymandias” both said you were eager to get some action to do, as devastating as that fight was to watch.
It was crazy. There were so many shots and different segments. There was one fluid shot of us coming into the house, going into the back room, and then coming back out leading into the fight that was super cool. It was a sad scene to do, but so powerful in how it moves through what happens and how it blows up. I remember thinking it was my big scene and I wanted to make sure I did it right. Rian Johnson and I talked it through beforehand. It was really, really sad but amazing to have the opportunity to break people’s hearts. I was really nervous to see how that was gonna come out.

It’s been a pretty bleak season, but one of the best light moments was Walt Jr. meeting Saul at the car wash. I’ve never seen him look so excited. 
I laughed my ass off when I read that. Walt Jr.’s actually meeting someone outside the family! I don’t know if that’s always a good thing! Bob’s so awesome, he’s such a funny comedian, and again, it was weird because this is it. Jr.’s meeting Saul? Jr.’s finding out what’s happening? It was like, Oh my God, this is huge.

How did it feel to have your character finally be brought into the fold? He’s the last person to find out everything.
I mean, I still prepared like I normally prepared. It was strange knowing that he was finding everything out at the end and that we weren’t going back to film again.

How satisfying do you think the finale is?
I think people are going to be satisfied by every aspect, the way it all comes together, the way it plays out. What happens in the finale will change everything. So much is going to happen in just one episode. I don’t know how we did it.

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty