An Australian man who looks exactly like Walter White from Breaking Bad enjoys taking photos with beautiful women, getting into clubs for free, and meeting celebrities thanks to his famous face.
Mechanical engineer Phil Mennell lives in Bunbury in Western Australia and has the same bald head, goatee, and glasses style as the meth-cooking teacher.
He is even the same age, 64, as actor Bryan Cranson, who plays Walter White in the AMC series that ran for five seasons in 2008 to 2013.
Mr Mennell first realised he looked like Mr White when he attended a work ball in Perth on September 13, 2013 – the same year as the Breaking Bad series finale.
Mechanical engineer Phil Mennell (left), 64, lives in Bunbury in Western Australia and has the same bald head, goatee and glasses style as Breaking Bad protagonist Walter White (right)
A woman who Mr Mennell had never worked with before was sitting at his table and suddenly became ‘enthralled’ with his appearance.
‘After two hours of ignoring us, she just suddenly said “hey, you look like Walter White”,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘She said “I’ve got to have a photo a with you”. There after, within minutes (there’s a lot of alcohol flowing at this stage), everyone was completely uninhibited and couples, people, girls wanted photos with me. I was the real thing!
‘It was delightful, these gorgeous women just hanging all over me, young guys as well.
‘As we left the place, we headed into town for the after party and just as we were walking around the streets in Northbridge (Perth’s nightlife district), everyone just recognised me.
‘It was like someone flicked a switch. At the time, it was the absolute peak of Breaking Bad and therefore, the popularity.’
A week later in Bunbury, people ‘almost formed a queue’ at a restaurant to take photos with him.
Mr Mennell poses with two blonde women who wanted to take a picture with him because he looked like Walter White. The mechanical engineer said people overall have been very nice to him and ‘talk to me like they know me because they know the character’
Mr Mennell then decided to watch the show for himself and discovered he ‘loved it’ but began to change his appearance to avoid attention.
‘I started changing my beard. But then I just said “no, if I look like him, I look like him”. I’m not going to disguise myself but I’m not going to advertise it either,’ he said.
‘But people know. Meth-heads, they all just shout “Heisenberg” at me. Guys have stopped their cars on the street, you get various reactions.’
The mechanical engineer said people overall have been very nice to him and ‘talk to me like they know me because they know the character’.
‘Some girls have been quite amorous, if you know what I mean,’ he said.
Mr Mennell recalled the time he met singer Guy Sebastian at a bar in Sydney in 2017.
Mr Mennell with 2003 Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian (left). ‘He (Sebastian) was really chuffed. He’s a nice guy and was very nice to me. He got all excited and told his wife to come,’ Mr Mennell said
‘He (Sebastian) was really chuffed. He’s a nice guy and was very nice to me. He got all excited and told his wife to come,’ he said.
The pair took photos together and Mr Mennell later posted a picture to Facebook captioned: ‘Guy Sebastian meets Walt White.’
During the same trip to Sydney, he and his partner Wendy went to a bar with a long queue – but once the bouncers saw he looked like Walter White, he skipped the line.
‘I walked straight to the front of the queue. These guys are going to be standing in the queue for hours. The bouncer just looked at me and said “you don’t have to pay, go in”,’ he said.
Mr Mennell said people still approach him for photos although things have ‘cooled down a bit’ in recent years since Breaking Bad finished.
Breaking Bad, which ran for five seasons from 2008 to 2013, tells the story of chemistry teacher Walter White, who discovers he has cancer.
Mr Mennell wears a pork pie hat with his partner Jenny before heading to the races (left). Bryan Cranston as Walter White sports his signature pork pie hat on Breaking Bad (right)
Struggling to pay his medical bills, Mr White produces and sells methamphetamine to secure his family’s financial future before he dies, while navigating the dangers of the criminal underworld.
Mr Mennell is originally from Zimbabwe and moved to Australia in 2003 and says he ‘identifies with the character’ because he went though his own midlife crisis.
He said he struggled with his weight and felt he was ‘past his use-by date’ professionally in Australia and had to start from scratch.
Mr Mennell began dieting, working out and embracing his hair loss by shaving his head, while also growing a goatee – unintentionally transforming into Walter White.
‘That’s when I started looking like Walter White, I looked a different person. I looked years younger, I had a shaven head. I always had that style of glasses,’ he said.
‘That’s what I sometimes say, he (Walter White) looks like me.’
Mr Mennell with family friends in Zimbabwe in 2015. The mechanical engineer moved to Australia in 2003 and says he ‘identifies with the character Walter White’ because he went though his own midlife crisis upon emigrating
Mr Mennell said he has never dressed up as Walter White for Halloween or costume parties but he does own a pork pie hat like the character often wears.
‘I’ve literally worn it (the hat) three times, I think. I’ve worn it to the races. Otherwise, it goes against the grain in that I’m trying to look like him,’ he said.
‘I don’t have to try and look like him, I already look like him. I quite like that hat photo, because it hides my bald head.’
The engineer also has a lot in common with the actor Bryan Cranston, who played Walter ‘Heisenberg’ White in Breaking Bad and subsequent Netflix film El Camino.
He and Cranston both turned 64 this year and have a similarly shaped head, according to Mr Mennell.
‘I would like to have a few drinks with Bryan and I think we would enjoy each other’s company,’ he said.
Jesse Pinkman and Walter White from Breaking Bad. Mr Mennell has a lot in common with the actor Bryan Cranston, who played Walter ‘Heisenberg’ White in Breaking Bad and subsequent Netflix film El Camino