It’s true one might not automatically envision TV’s ultimate nerd, Steve Urkel, to be the next actor cast on AMC’s drama Breaking Bad. Jaleel White earned instant fame as Urkel on the 90s sitcom Family Matters, but he’s hoping he can change some minds in order to snag a role on the show.
In an interview with TheWrap.com, White admits, “I would love to be on Breaking Bad. I’ve gotten better over the years and I want to continue to share how I’ve gotten better…to create characters. And that show has created some awesome characters.”
The 35-year-old has come a long way from his days of nasal whining and suspenders. Over the years he’s developed into a well-rounded actor, with roles in shows like Psych, House, and NCIS.
White feels his turning point arrived in 2006 when director Bill Condon cast him in a small role as a talent booker in the Oscar-winning film Dreamgirls. He says Condon “had no concept of who I was. He just saw a guy who had come in and done my audition tape…That’s a guy who’s powerful enough, astute enough, academic enough about talent that it was a big honor [to have him say] ‘I like you and I want you in my movie.’”
White thinks Breaking Bad would be a natural fit for him, since he could follow in the footsteps of lead Bryan Cranston’s transformation from sitcom dad on Malcolm in the Middle to intense chemistry teacher turned meth manufacturer on Breaking Bad. White says, “When people want to talk to me about typecasting, I’m like, don’t talk to me about typecasting before you give me the opportunity to work with some of the finest writing there is out there. He’s a terrific actor…but before the show aired, let’s just be honest: Not too many movie studios would have considered putting him opposite George Clooney. Because he was Malcolm’s dad.”
Although White still gets recognized as his alter-ego, Urkel, he notes that “celebrity and pop culture, image and talent, those things don’t necessarily intersect.” The actor is ready to embrace his talents and take on new challenges. As for the typecasting assumption, White says, “I don’t play those kinds of games.”