Giancarlo Esposito has been breaking down his most iconic characters with GQ. His career has spanned four decades, and he has nearly 200 credits to his name, including over 80 movies. Esposito had early roles in Spike Lee movies, as well as 80s classics such as Taps, Trading Places, The Cotton Club, and Desperately Seeking Susan. He is of course now best known for his roles in TV series including Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Boys, and The Mandalorian.
Esposito’s Gus Fring (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) has become known as one of the best TV villains of all time. He manages to exude menace by barely doing or saying anything. His silence and stillness are eerie. Esposito says; “So for me, my contribution was, I realised, you can’t mess with the words, they were good.”
“How do I slow my timing down, so I can hear more, so I can be contemplative, so I can allow space to affect me? When someone would say something to me, I wouldn’t answer right away. I would really hear them, study them… The best actors don’t do anything. You have to think it and project it.”
Clearly, casting directors were so impressed with Esposito’s villainous turn in Breaking Bad, they’ve been casting him as villains ever since – in the likes of The Boys and Star Wars series The Mandalorian – where he plays Moff Gideon, who had the gall to try to experiment on smol green bean Baby Yoda.
Prequel series Better Call Saul recently ended after 63 episodes over seven years, beating Breaking Bad’s run by just one episode. Esposito was nominated for best supporting actor at the Emmys for both shows, but didn’t win. Criminally, neither Bob Odenkirk or Rhea Seehorn won during the course of Better Call Saul either.
If you’re a fan of the New Mexico crime series, check out our guide to the best drama series.