“Better Call Saul” actor cut off his own arm to further career

Todd Lawson Latourrette, who most recently appeared in AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” admitted he was pretending to be an injured vet to land more acting roles.

Latourrette told Albuquerque’s KOB-4 TV that he cut off his arm in a psychotic episode. It happened 17 years ago and Latourette was off his medication (he is bipolar). During the episode, he cut off his right forearm with a Skilsaw and cauterized it.

But Latourrette doesn’t want this manic episode to define who he is. “I don’t want to say the word ‘insanity’ because the mentally ill – we’re so far from insane,” he said tearfully. “We are your brothers, your mothers, your sisters. And we hurt.”

After losing his arm, Latourette created his own prosthetic forearm and hand. With it, he lied to casting directors about how he lost his arm. He claimed that he was a war vet and he lost his arm in combat.

No roles to “Better Call Saul”: how did Latourrette’s lying affect his acting career?

When Latourrette started to lie about his disability, casting directors started to book him for many more roles than what he was getting before.

“The film industry obviously took a different angle,” he recalled. “That I was different. And so they liked that.”

He added, “They trusted me that I was exactly who I said I was, that I was a war veteran. I was hired because I lied.”

It’s true. Latourrette’s career took off because he stood out from the crowd. His first role was in the 2002 horror film “Unspeakable.” Then he starred in the 2008 Toby Keith movie “Beer for My Horses.” The following year he starred in “The Men Who Stare at Goats” with George Clooney. He most recently was able to land a role in an episode of the “Breaking Bad” spinoff “Better Call Saul.”

He couldn’t keep it a secret anymore

While Latourrette’s career was taking off because of his lying, he felt immense guilt. The lie ate at him until he couldn’t take it anymore.

“It’s been so difficult to live with,” he told the TV station. “It’s been years since I told that lie.”

Latourrette doesn’t expect forgiveness after his confession and believes that the lie that started his career will also end it.

“I was dishonorable. I’m killing my career by doing this,” he says. “If anyone thinks this was for personal edification, that’s not the case. I’m ousting myself from the New Mexico film industry. And gladly so, just to say what I’ve said.”

Should an actor’s personal life be a factor in casting?

What Latourrette did was undoubtedly wrong, but what about the casting decisions made by his projects’ directors? Pretending to be an injured vet landed Latourrette more roles. His career wasn’t improving because of his acting abilities, rather because of his fabricated story of being a vet.

Should directors only hire actors based on their acting abilities only or should their personal life be considered also? Let us know in the comments!

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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