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Posted May 19, 2014 by Tim Wells in TV

Exclusive Inspirational Interview: The Middle’s Atticus Shaffer

Atticus ShafferDawn and I were able spend a few minutes talking with Atticus Shaffer, from ABC’s The Middle.

The Middle is one of our family’s favorite shows and Atticus is one of our favorite actors. We asked him about his character, Brick, the show’s season finale which airs Wednesday, May 21st, and how his mother has helped nurture a positive attitude throughout his challenges with osteogenesis imperfecta (O.I.).

Dawn: Hi, Atticus, how are you?

Atticus: I’m good! How about you?

Dawn: We’re great! We’re very excited to talk to you, today. We kind of put out to our readers and asked them what questions they would ask you. They had a question regarding Brick’s whispering and ticks. They were wondering how much input you had with that.

Atticus: Well, the thing is, the character of Brick is actually based on one of the creators of the show’s sons. It was actually Eileen Heisler’s son, and he used to whisper. You know, when I went in for the audition for the role of Brick, I read about the whispering thing, and what I did is I gave the part where I look down at my chest and then I say the whisper. So that was kind of my input into the whole whisper part, and then the fact that the whisper part is what her son did. So we kind of combined on that.

And then the other thing was the whooping. The whooping, we thought it would be cool to have a tick that’s kind of the reverse of a whisper, and instead of looking down, you’re looking up and you say it loudly, rather than softly. So that’s how we incorporated the whooping.

At this point, Dawn’s screensaver locked her out of the document where she had prepared her questions.

Atticus: (laughing) Technology, am I right?

Dawn: (laughing) Yep.

This upcoming episode, the season finale. We’re big fans of Walt Disney World. So we were wondering, what was it like filming on location in Walt Disney World?

Atticus: That was really, really, really cool. Especially for the fact that, for us, eight months out of the year we’re in a sound stage. And that’s it. We’re in sound stages or we’re somewhere on our little lot where we shoot the show. So to be able to actually get out and go somewhere different, and be able to kind of be more in public and stuff like that, that was fantastic. That was incredible and I loved being able to do that.

The other cool part about that was they did not shut down Disney World to let us film. You can’t. So to be able to actually film in front of actual people, and in real life time, that was phenomenal because all these people would pay their money to get into Disney World and then they’d find us, and they’d stand there and they watched us film for five, six, seven, eight, nine hours at a time. It was awesome to be able to see them, and it was so cool to be able to interact with all of these people and shake their hand, sign stuff, or whatever. To be able to talk to them and answer questions about the show while we’re actually filming. It was like we were our own little attraction at Disney World. So that was a lot of fun, too.

Tim: Hi, Atticus, this is Tim.

Atticus: Hey!

Tim: I’ve seen you quoted as saying that your O.I. is just a small part of who you are. And I’ve seen comments from a lot of people on the Internet, from all walks of life, and facing all sorts of different challenges, who’ve been inspired by your attitude.

I know your mom is one of your biggest role models. Can you share just a little bit about how she has helped nurture such a positive attitude in you?

Atticus: That’s actually an amazing question and I have not had hardly any people ask me that, so I commend you for asking that.

Personally, for me, my mom has nurtured that because she’s always been there for me. We are always able to talk, she has to be one of my best friends, and she does. She has O.I. as well, so she understands that, and to be able to have her just understand whatever issues, or whatever dilemma, or whatever I’m going through, she understands that. Most of the time, she went through it as well, when she was my age. So to be able to talk to her, be able to understand that kind of stuff, and to have her always put those positive affirmations around me and let me know that I’m supposed to be who I am… is amazing, and that’s how she has always been with me.

And that’s been passed down to me because, like you said, I get a lot of people who say, “You are my role model, you’re my son’s role model, my daughter, my sister, my brother, my mom, my dad. You are my role model.” And for me to be able to be a role model in a positive way, and to show other people that it is OK to have whatever you may have, to be whoever you are, is phenomenal for me and I want there to be more people like that out there, in the sense of showing that it is OK to be unique. Showing that it is OK to be interesting, and creative, and inspiring, or be inspired.

Tim: Wow.

Dawn: That’s amazing.

Tim: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.

Atticus: Absolutely. Thank you!

Tim: And congratulations on being picked up for a sixth season!

Atticus: Thank you!

Dawn and I are absolutely blown away by this young man’s spirit and talent.

Be sure to catch The Middle on ABC, Wednesdays, at 8 p.m. ET. And check out the one-hour season finale, “Orlando”/”The Wonderful World of Hecks” on Wednesday, May 21st. Here’s a sneak peek:

Tim Wells

Dad, husband, gamer, blogger, geek. Not necessarily in that order.