There are few characters from TV history more iconic than Walter White, the drug-dealing anti-hero of AMC crime drama Breaking Bad – whose goatee and haz-mat suit has inspired a whole new generation of Halloween costumes, and will no doubt continue to do so for decades to come.
But while most of us just end up looking like someone’s dad when we try and channel our inner Heisenberg, there’s one man who’s managed to make himself look like the real deal.
Lee Nichols works in Tesco through the week and as a local taxi controller at weekends. However, when he’s not busy doing that, he moonlights as a Walter white lookalike – and manages to be so convincing that he’s even been mistaken for Bryan Cranston’s famous Heisenberg character.
He said: “I was about half way through the third series, when one day I was in my bathroom, I was looking in my shaving mirror, and because the sun was in my eyes I was squinting, which made me look a bit like Walter White.
As the response was so good, he decided to take things further and began to research what Cranston wore on the show, buying clothes from the States – including the trademark specs.
He continued: “Once I had all the clothes, including the all-important pork pie hat, I went in to London one Friday evening to gauge people’s reactions.
“I had quite a few selfies taken whilst standing in Leicester Square, which was followed up by dozens in one of the bars close by.”
While Nichols initially found the attention strange, he’s now managed to get used to it and enjoys the double takes he gets whenever dressed in full Heisenberg gear and out in London.
While it’s not the biggest money-spinner, Nichols said his second life as Walter White has led to some great things, having been hired to attend everything from functions, birthday parties and wedding receptions through to Halloween parties and even a local wrestling match, where he was a ring enforcer and got to throw one of the wrestlers out of the ring.
He has also featured in an instruction video at an escape room in Hull, along with a few videos on Youtube and a comedy zombie film called Acid Pit Stop.
In 2016 he travelled to Albuquerque, where Walter White is from, and went on a Breaking Bad RV tour of the locations.
“It had to be done,” he said.
“I liked the place so much I stayed for five weeks, posing for peoples photos, usually at The Candy Lady, a sweet shop in Old Town, Albuquerque – the one that made all the ‘blue meth’ for the show – and occasionally sitting in Walter’s booth at Twisters, aka Los Pollos Hermanos.”
One day, when Nichols was out taking a selfie at one of the locations, someone even mistook him for Bryan Cranston – who happened to be in town at the time for a book tour – and posted a photo of him on Facebook asking if the actor was visiting one of his old haunts, Tuco’s headquarters.
Nichols said: “The whole thing went viral and ended up on the local news channel that evening.”
He continued: “I did get to meet Bryan, albeit briefly, when I managed to sneak into the theatre that was holding his book signing tour at the end of the show.
“I also met Vince Gilligan whilst he was filming some scenes from Better Call Saul, the Breaking Bad prequel, and he complimented me on my look. I also gave him some ideas for a sixth series of Breaking Bad-whether he’s used them for El Camino, time will tell, but it would be awesome if I helped in some way to resurrect the show.”
Nichols said he has ‘a lot of fun’ with the lookalike work, and enjoys going to Comic Cons in character.
And while many people are doubtful that the character will feature, Nichols is feeling more optimstic.
He added: “In the run up to the release of El Camino I have started to see a spike in interest in my look alike-and fingers crossed, if Walter is still alive, I’ll hopefully be able to cash in on it.”