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Jaleel White: On Urkel, 'Breaking Bad' & Typecasting

01/08/2012 04:10 pm ET | Updated Mar 09, 2012

Jaleel White is now 35-years old. He does not wear suspenders or big glasses, and he does not exclaim, "Did I do that?" at inopportune yet comedically-appropriate times. He's an actor, writer and producer, with a long list of credits on TV and film. But not everyone realizes that. Especially Hollywood casting directors.

Speaking to The Wrap on Saturday, White, the one-time Steve Urkel, said that after a decade and a half of working consistently -- and now hosting the Syfy show "Total Blackout" -- he wants the opportunity to finally shatter his "Family Matters" image. His idea? Use a little meth, so to speak.

"I would love to be on 'Breaking Bad.' But one of the things about it also is Walter White, for a generation, he is Malcolm's dad," White said, speaking of "Breaking" star Bryan Cranston, who once featured as the father on the teen comedy "Malcom in the Middle."

"So 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. Gosh, 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."

Three Emmys later, Cranson's star has certainly brightened. In 2011, he starred in "The Lincoln Lawyer" with Matthew McConaughey, "Contagion" with Matthew Damon and a whole slew of big names, and "Drive" with Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks. In 2012, he'll appear in "Rock of Ages" with Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise and Russell Brand; and will also feature in "Argo" with Ben Affleck.

White, for his part, has taken roles in "NCIS" and "Dreamgirls," but is still looking for that big part. Still, even if he does get heckled a bit still for being Steve Urkel, he has a positive outlook on the experience.

"I've had people that have come up to me and said some very rude things," he said. "I've had people that have come up to me and said some amazingly sweet things: You got my mother through cancer, just watching your show put a smile on her face every day after the doctors told her something horrible. You can't focus on the bullshit -- pardon me for not tempering my words. There's too much good out here."

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