“Yo, man! I’m Skinny Pete.” It’s the line that launched the career of actor, Charles Baker, and in the process, built the foundation for one, unforgettable character on the critically-acclaimed TV show, Breaking Bad. For five seasons, Baker played Skinny Pete – a meth addict who slowly but surely weaved his way into the very fabric of the show’s success.
For the millions of fans addicted to arguably, one of the best TV shows ever – Breaking Bad has sadly come to end.
The good news is, AMC is sure to rebroadcast it over and over again, which means TWC customers can watch it on our TWC TV App. Earlier this month, we announced the addition of AMC to our “out-of-home” On Demand experience available with the App. This means you can watch your favorite AMC shows on your smartphone, tablet, or PC anywhere in the country with Internet service.
Now that the curtain has fallen on Breaking Bad, the Texas actor living in L.A. is reflecting on his five seasons. Baker recently sat down with TWC Untangled to talk about the show, his influence on the writers and the future of Skinny Pete.
TWC: Well, it’s finally over. What a great run. How does it feel to be part of something that began with a cult following and ended as one of the most successful shows in cable history?
Baker: It’s surreal! I, like a lot if aspiring actors, dreamed of something like this, but never really expected it to happen, especially on this scale! I’m immensely proud to be a part of it, and at the same time I’m a little sad to think that the odds of being a part of something this huge again are pretty slim. I’ll definitely be a lot more discerning when selecting projects now.
TWC: Did you expect the show to end in a hail of gunfire, Walter White dead and Jesse as the last man standing?
Baker: I gave up trying to guess what would happen a long time ago. I know the writers thought of every possibility and then some. I had sort of a zen feeling that it was going to end exactly the way it was supposed to – and I think it did.
TWC: Skinny Pete was a reoccurring character, which means you were not in every episode. It must have been exciting when you discovered your character would appear in the final episode playing a phony hit man.
Baker: Yeah. I was pretty stoked! It goes back to the whole thing about being surreal. I spent the entire series working “on call.” I never knew if I was going to come back, and every time I did, the first thing I checked was whether or not I died. Every episode, I finished feeling a lot like the line from Princess Bride (“Goodnight Wesley, I’ll most likely kill you in the morning!”). So the fact that I made it all the way through, to me psychologically, was like walking away from a battle, unscathed.
TWC: Consider Breaking Bad’s synopsis: “A high-school chemistry teacher with terminal cancer turns to making and selling meth to secure his family’s financial future.” Let’s face it – not the feel-good show of the season. Yet, this dark and twisted tale somehow worked. Why?
Baker: In my opinion, it worked because it was actually so much more relatable to viewers than most other stuff on TV. People know families that have been destroyed by either health care costs or drugs or both or more! We’re more aware of these type of things happening in our communities, and so it resonates with viewers.
TWC: Looking back over five seasons, why do you think the writers and producers kept bringing your character back time and time again?
Baker: Necessity! Jesse was supposed to die early in the series. Since he didn’t, they needed to build a world around him (i.e. friends, family, etc.). I got lucky and was established early on as his friend. It was either bring me back or hold more auditions. It probably didn’t hurt that I worked cheap too, lol.
TWC: Did you undergo any lifestyle or diet changes to play the role of a meth-addict? Or is it just natural metabolism and Hollywood makeup?
Baker: Sadly, I did nothing new to maintain my slight physique. I have a high metabolism and a poor appetite, so it works out. They actually don’t use makeup on me. The magic beanie I wear does all the work!
TWC: Jesse Pinkman’s go-to snack is Funyons. What’s the snack of choice for Skinny Pete?
Baker: Pizza, yo!
TWC: The role of Skinny Pete opened a lot of doors for you. Has the character created any challenges as you pursue other films and TV shows?
Baker: I find it odd that many people are unaware that I’m not some druggie they pulled off the street to say some funny lines on the best TV show in history. I often get called in to read for a “Skinny Pete” type of role, only to get weird looks when I show up looking like myself. I often lament that if I would have been cast as a lawyer on the show, I’d only play lawyers for the rest of my career.
TWC: If there is one existing character on TV that you could play – Breaking Bad or otherwise – what character would you choose?
Baker: I would have been an awesome Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street! And I’d play any character in Game of Thrones for free!
TWC: There’s talk of a Breaking Bad spin-off show. What’s the latest on that and is there a place for Skinny Pete?
Baker: From what I know, the spin-off will be a prequel and is definitely going to happen. I seriously doubt I’ll be involved much – unfortunately. I’d love to be a part of it, but nobody has talked to me about it. I suspect my involvement will be minimal.
TWC: Are you involved in any other films or TV shows that we should keep an eye out for?
See Charles Baker in the opening scene of NBC’s The Blacklist:
TWC: Apart from viewing your own show, is there one or two TV shows that you binge watch or find yourself consuming for hours on end?
Baker: Game of Thrones and Sons of Anarchy. They both have such great Shakespearian aspects to them!
TWC: How does Charles Baker get his TV fix? Are you a traditional viewer or do you find yourself watching on your computer, smartphone or tablet?
Baker: I’m a traditionalist – TV all the way. I got a big TV! I’m too old to be staring at a 9″ screen!
TWC: Okay, send us off in style. Give us your favorite Skinny Pete line?
Baker: One of my absolute favorite lines was actually cut, but it’s still a favorite. “So, Chekov’s dead? (pause) What’s your B-story?”
Charles Baker can also be seen in the Sundance film, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. The film is currently available on Time Warner Cable On Demand. Episodes of Breaking Bad are also available On Demand
For more on Charles Baker’s career, click here.