Why Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito Prefers Playing Gus Fring On Better Call Saul

Gus in Breaking Bad

AMC's Breaking Bad is one of the most celebrated TV shows in recent memory. And after cleaning house at the Emmys for a number of years, a prequel spinoff was announced, following Bob Odenkirk's character Saul Goodman. Aside from he and Mike, a bevy of players from Breaking Bad have popped up in the show, the most exciting being Giancarlo Esposito's villainous Gus Fring. Gus is a legendary figure of the original series, helping to amp up the action and drama when he debuted in Season 3. Esposito became a series regular of Better Call Saul in Season 3, and recently spoke with CinemaBlend's Nick Venable about his iconic role, revealing why he prefers playing Gus in the spinoff.

Oh, absolutely. You know, we're being informed by something we've done previously, but we're returning to it for me as a character, which is one of the fascinations, and one of the brilliant ways in which Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, our writers, have been able to fashion going backwards. It's fascinating to me, because I prefer what we're doing now, because I'm able to mine new ground in a younger and edgier and more dynamic and frightening Gus who may not be able to control his emotions as much as he was in Breaking Bad. He grew to that. So to have this growth be seen in Better Call Saul, and to play it and find the new nuance of this guy, is fascinating for me.

The man has a point. The Gus presented in Better Call Saul is decidedly more unhinged, and without some of the restraint and judgement that the villain utilized during his Breaking Bad tenure. While Gus' calculating persona is part of what makes him so fascinating, seeing him drop the facade and go ape shit is similarly satisfying. Breaking Bad fans will never forget that infamous box cutting scene in Season 4. The guy is stone cold.

Giancarlo Esposito's comments show how fascinating the actor's journey with Gus has been. After playing the character with ferocity until the bitter end (including his iconic death scene), Esposito likely assumed his run had ended. But the acclaimed actor now gets to work backward through the role that earned him an Emmy nom, and find new colors to paint with. This includes Gus' lack of tact earlier in his life of crime.

Gus Fring's story in Better Call Saul also helps expand other characters, including Hector Salamanca. While a mute old man in Breaking Bad, he's virile in Better Call Saul, and often coming to blows with Gus. We'll just have to wait and see how their stories continue to develop into their literally explosive one from the original series.

CinemaBlend will keep you updated on all things Better Call Saul as more details are revealed. In the meantime, check out our fall premiere list to plan your next binge watch. Plus our Amazon premiere list and superhero premiere list to ensure you don't miss a single episode of your favorite show.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.