How Did Kenny From ‘The Middle’ Develop His Character on the Show?

by Jeremy Spirogis
Tommy Bechtold

Hollywood icon Morgan Freeman mentioned it greatest: “The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit.” But for the hundreds of background actors and extras constantly auditioning and dealing with rejection, discovering inspiration to remain within the recreation might be powerful. While many actors find yourself falling by the wayside, some maintain trudging away. And one actor who’s been in it for the lengthy haul is comic Tommy Bechtold.

Tommy Bechtold
Tommy Bechtold | Photo courtesy of Tommy Bechtold

Bechtold took a small background position on the hit ABC collection The Middle and turned it right into a five-year job. He portrayed Axl Heck’s World of Warcraft-playing faculty roommate Kenny. The script referred to as for Kenny to stay fully silent, clad in an overbearing quantity of pink hair whereas sitting in entrance of a pc display screen enjoying video video games. But Bechtold developed the position into way more.

Bechtold’s tenacity and gumption was not too long ago highlighted with an award from the corporate Stanley. The 36-year-old was the primary recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Stanley honoring background actors, chosen out of a pool of greater than 1,500 nominees.

Bechtold not too long ago shared how he developed his position in The Middle and discussed how he continues to remain in Hollywood’s aggressive recreation.

Kenny was alleged to be a background character

Bechtold instructed Showbiz Cheat Sheet his character in The Middle was “glorified background” work for a while. “They finally let me talk during the second season,” he laughed. Bechtold recalled auditioning practically eight or 9 instances for varied roles on the comedy. He was grateful he booked his ultimate audition as a result of this character had longevity.

He had enjoyable with the character with one small exception. “The wig was not my favorite, but that was fine,” he mentioned. “They put the hair on me every morning. They would glue it to my head. And in Burbank, it can be 100 degrees out. It definitely made it a funnier character.”

Viewers initially noticed Kenny as a background character, however ultimately the silent gamer grew to become extra developed.

“I think what happened was I was hanging out with them enough off-camera,” Bechtold mentioned. “They would yell cut, and they were like, ‘Oh he can actually talk. He’s not completely brain dead, and he’s not a total video game addict that just sits there and stares at the screen all day.’”

Kenny got here to life when the forged and crew bought to know Bechtold

Bechtold thinks day by day interplay with the crew helped him to additional develop his character. “So they were like, ‘Oh we should toy with maybe having [Kenny] talk,’” Bechtold mentioned. “And a couple of people from the show would come and see me do my comedy show. So they knew I could deliver a line.”

He mentioned producers took a leap of religion and allowed Kenny to maneuver extra to the forefront. “And gave me that first Halloween episode, and after that it just took off from there,” he mentioned. However, Bechtold likes to consider that luck had one thing to do together with his character’s growth, too.

What recommendation does Bechtold have for different background actors?

Bechtold, who’s a fairly sunny man, mentioned it’s straightforward to get pissed off with rejection. But he shared that struggling actors ought to attempt to keep in mind to remain true to themselves.

“Don’t be afraid to be yourself,” he suggested. “What I tell people who come out here, I encourage them, like I was encouraged to do background. And feel it out. There’s certainly times to be quiet, but don’t be afraid to let your personality show a little bit. You never know who’s watching.”

Tommy Bechtold and Jimmy KimmelTommy Bechtold and Jimmy Kimmel
Tommy Bechtold and Jimmy Kimmel | Photo courtesy of Tommy Bechtold

He has shared display screen time with a few of Hollywood’s most revered actors, together with Harrison Ford, Jane Lynch, and Ed Begley Jr. He mentioned when he’s on set with among the greatest names in Hollywood, he tries to behave like he’s not starstruck. “But of course I am,” he laughed.

When he was engaged on a number of Christopher Guest initiatives, he mentioned, “My own internal monologue was like, ‘I cannot believe I’m here. I don’t know what I did to deserve this.’ But I tried to play it cool on the outside.”

Bechtold continues to work steadily. Fans can catch his comedy act the second and fourth Mondays of the month when he performs improv at Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica, California.

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