Giancarlo Esposito Q&A at Toronto ComiCon
Giancarlo Esposito has a lot of nerd credentials to his name, having appeared in Community, Once Upon a Time, Revolution, Son of Batman and of course his most iconic role as Gus Fring in Breaking Bad, but this weekend at Toronto ComiCon he let everyone know that despite all the genre work he’s done he doesn’t really consider himself a nerd.
When asked what he was passionate about by moderator Ajay Fry at his panel on Saturday, Esposito admitted to not watching a lot of movies or TV (though he was a fan of Superman when he was young) and instead was more interested in mythology and spirituality.
He also has a vested interest in the environment as he opened up the panel with what started as a promotion for his technological apocalypse show Revolution, and segued into a lengthy lecture about creating change in the real world today, reminding the audience that the world of Revolution “could happen, it’s a breath away if we allow it to happen.”
After that the panel moved on to audience questions on Revolution, acting experiences and of course, Breaking Bad.
What drew you to the role of Gus Fring?
It turns out that Esposito didn’t want to play Gus when it was originally offered to him but changed his mind when he remembered a story about two Mormon boys who got lost in the midwest and became indentured servants to meth dealers, which made him realize how bad the drug problem in the US really was.
“I wanted to be part of a show that exposed this to a massive amount of people, sounds odd that that’s why I took the role of Gus Fring but it is because the more we understand the connections between all this and through an entertaining entity like Breaking Bad the world will look at how we take a hard long look not only at our communities but at ourselves.”
Would you survive in a world of Revolution?
Esposito didn’t have to think about his answer at all to this question, replying quickly and honestly while giving the audience a glimpse into his own beliefs.
“I know I would survive, personally, because I know in a previous life I was a warrior, I was a soldier. I know part of me is able to display Tom Neville the way he is and Gus Fring before him because I had been in those situations. We have a memory of our previous existence if we only take the time to *breathe*, get calm and remember. Everything you need to know is inside you, so I know that I was a warrior and a survivor and so I have a good inclination that I could do it, personally.”
Was it a high or a low saying good-bye to Gus when he was killed?
It was sad to see Gus go, Esposito said, because he felt the entire crew of Breaking Bad was like a family but that he had a lot of time to adjust to the idea and say good-bye, having been told by Vince Gilligan while filming episode 4×03 that Gus would be killed off in the finale of the season. Gilligan even had a meeting with Esposito to tell him and get his thoughts on how Gus should die.
Favorite episode of Breaking Bad?
“Box Cutter is one of my favorites because it reminded me of having the silence I always try to have within Gus because the first ten minutes there are no words. I felt like Waiting for Godot was a play that has a lot of pauses and silences and we oftentimes forget that that’s powerful.”
Favorite scene in Breaking Bad?
“Walt in the desert from 2×12 where I tell him I’m gonna kill his family. That scene that was shot in a complete wideshot was truly an amazing scene and a happy accident as a filmmaker when the sky turned to black and they were still on the same shot and they didn’t come out of that same wide shot and then it turned back to light. It happens at a very precise moment in the dialogue and it was just natural, you see nature sort of cooperating with us to make that happen.”
What is your dream character or project to work on?
Surprisingly enough, Esposito had already played one of his dream roles on Once Upon a Time of all things, admitting that he had always wanted to play a genie as he had done on that show. He also enjoyed playing duel characters but also loved the idea of helping people and granting wishes.
As for projects he hadn’t done yet, “I always wanted to play the president of the United States. I’ve always wanted to play Martin Luther King.”
He also expressed great respect for Sidney Poitier and the way “He never lived by the color of his skin he lived by the content of his character.”
In an alternate Breaking Bad where Gus survives how much death and destruction would there have been?
“I think his death and destruction would have been so stealth and so subtle you would have hardly even noticed it.”
For more Giancarlo Esposito on your television check out new episodes of Revolution Wednesday nights on NBC.