The Most Interesting Tidbits from Giancarlo Esposito’s Reddit Interview


If you’re a Spike Lee fan — or tuned in to NBC’s Homicide — then you probably already know that Giancarlo Esposito is an incredible actor. (He’s also criminally underrated, but we’ll save that for another discussion.) Many of you will undoubtedly recognize the star as the clinically precise Gus Fring on AMC’s Breaking Bad . The Do the Right Thing actor dropped by Reddit to answer some reader questions about his career and, of course, his unforgettable character in the TV drama series. He chats about everything from stealing a Pollos Hermanos mug from the set, to crafting the eerie calm Gus is known for. You’ll also find him agreeing with readers that he is, indeed, a total badass. If you don’t have time to page through the entire thread, head past the break for a selection of our favorite highlights. Share yours with us below.

On crafting the character of Gus for Breaking Bad:

“I wanted to have Gustavo be a character who is very quiet and measured. I felt that if where hiding in plain sight, within the community he would be extremely aware, hyper vigilant … even a man who pays extreme attention to details. I remember a performance by Eddie Almos in the series Miami Vice — he was completely flatlined. I always wanted to play a character who draws YOU as a viewer to him.”

“As an actor, I like to stay close to what the writer has written. It often turns into the writer inspiring the actor and the actor inspiring the writer. I don’t improvise lines a lot unless I feel I can say it better than the writers and the writers on Breaking Bad are stellar!”

On how he’s like Gus in real life:

“I’m very old school. My father is from Naples, Italy and he was always very fastidious and careful with clothes. He taught me the importance of taking care of yourself and looking good. I also went to Military school and that instilled in me the importance of taking care of my clothes. You take care of things and they’ll take care of you! So that careful and fastidious part of Gus is also a part of who I am.”

Why he stays quiet on the set of Breaking Bad between takes and how he maintains character (particularly in the eyes):

“Some of the cast does break character — after all it should be fun. But, for me as Gustavo I try to stay in the mix of the characters parameters. I stay quiet. Only because I have to say so much without words. I want my body and mind and emotions to be really clear so I stay focused.”

“I do a lot of yoga breathing to relax myself.”

Does he actually eat the Pollos Hermanos chicken?

“I don’t normally eat fried chicken but I love to pick the fried skin off the chicken to snack on when my kids eat it!”

How he landed his very first role (on Broadway) at seven years old:

“I sang Happy Birthday as an audition song … ”

What he wished he knew as a young actor starting out:

“To take more time.”

Why he thinks Do the Right Thing is one of Spike Lee’s best movies:

” … At that time in NY it was a very hot place politically and the summer we shot was one of the hottest on record. We all had the feeling that we were doing something different. We took over a whole block of residential housing in Brooklyn to shoot the movie. The subject matter was so important and extremely moving. Spike Lee directed it brilliantly. To this day I think it’s one of his best movies.”