Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris Went to Harvard and Has Always Played 10-Years Older Than His Real Age

dean-norris-breaking-badDean Norris has turned out to be one of the more compelling characters on AMC’s Breaking Bad, playing DEA agent Hank Schrader but it was difficult for Norris to choose acting as his career.

“It was a tough decision, because I went to Harvard, and I was the first kid in my family to go to college—and my parents didn’t go to college,” he told NPR.  “So on one level, you’re like, wow, here’s the lottery out of the lower middle class by getting this ticket into Harvard.  And I had a choice to either go into investment banking or pursue acting, and I talked to a lot of people.  I had done some plays with the American Repertory Theater there in Boston, so I had other professional actors who were making a living…and I asked them what they thought my chances were.

“And I figured these guys all made a living.  They didn’t make as much money as someone on TV or film, but I said, I’m standing backstage in some tights and a codpiece, watching grown men onstage, and it was just electric.  There’s 800 people out there, and there’s just something magical about being backstage, ready to go onstage, and all your colleagues are out there.  And I said, man, if this is as good as it gets and I can do this the rest of my life—be a repertory actor—I’d be a happy man.”

However, Norris has been faced with some typecasting issues in his career.  “Well, you know, if you stop in any doughnut shop, and you see three cops eating doughnuts, one of them is gonna look like me,” he said.  “I don’t know why that is…but I guess you have a certain look, it’s kind of an authoritative law enforcement-type look, and that look is certainly the first thing that people cast you with before you get a chance to do some acting.”

Not only does Norris have the face of a cop, he also has the face of someone slightly older.  “I was always playing 10 years older than I was because I was losing my hair, and I just had that kind of look,” he said.  “So I was playing 35-year-olds when I was 25, always playing 45-year-olds when I was 35.  And I always felt when I got into my mid-to-late 30s, that would be the time when I would be playing characters that fit who I was…I think people kind of hit their peak when they’re young, and I have no complaints because I made a really good living…I would rather be having all this stuff happening now than having had it happen at 25 and not happen again.”

Breaking Bad airs on AMC, Sundays at 10 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/director-david-gordon-greene-nar.jpg
Director David Gordon Green Narrates a Scene From ‘Joe’
Director David Gordon Green narrates a sequence from his new film, Joe, featuring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan. In the video, he mentions his reasons why he likes to hire non-traditional actors. He likes people who have real skill-sets and not actors who have the skills on their resume. He also talked about this in […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/david-gordon-green-joe.jpg
Director David Gordon Green: “I find actors in unusual places”
I keep missing screenings of director David Gordon Greene‘s new film, Joe. I hear it’s really good so I’m looking forward to catching it at some point. Joe stars Nicholas Cage as ex-con Joe Ransom, who isn’t the greatest of role models until he meets a 15-year-old boy (Mud‘s Tye Sheridan). In this featurette, Green […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/judy-greer-i-dont-know-why-you-know-me-from.jpg
Please Don’t Say These Things To Judy Greer (video)
Judy Greer - who we love here at Daily Actor – has a new book called, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From (Confessions of a Co-Star), a series of essays about her life as an actress, friend and someone who everyone thinks they might know. Here’s a blurb about the book: “Want to […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Captain-America-SamuelNick-Fury.jpg
How Samuel L. Jackson Learns His Lines for the Marvel Movies (video)
Samuel L. Jackson stopped by Good Morning America earlier this week to talk about Captain America: The Winter Soldier – which is terrific, by the way – and he told Robin Roberts that for the first Cap film, he had trouble learning his lines. “I sat at home and I did all my studying, and […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/andy-karl-margot-seibert-rocky.jpg
Andy Karl and Margo Seibert Talk ‘Rocky: The Musical’ on ‘Today’
Andy Karl and Margo Seibert, the stars of Rocky: The Musical, talked to Today‘s Matt Lauer about the new Broadway musical. Karl talks about the final fight and taking on the iconic role. This is Seibert’s Broadway debut and she’s asked about her callbacks (9 in all!) and more. Check it out!