'Breaking Bad's' Giancarlo Esposito: I hope Gus haunts Walter White
July 19th, 2012
03:18 PM ET

'Breaking Bad's' Giancarlo Esposito: I hope Gus haunts Walter White

If there's one thing that critics and fans can agree on, it's that AMC's "Breaking Bad" is some of the best TV on the air, and that actor Giancarlo Esposito gave an incredible performance on the series as the chilling drug kingpin Gustavo "Gus" Fring.

The actor now has an individual Emmy nod to back it up. On Thursday, he was nominated along with "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul for best supporting actor in a drama series.

In that category, the two co-stars are going up against Jared Harris from "Mad Men," Peter Dinklage from "Game of Thrones" and Jim Carter and Brendan Coyle from "Downton Abbey."

"I’m, like, blown away," Esposito told CNN of the recognition. "A lot of the time, I just do the work and people talk about it - like I've lived up to my own standards, and if you like it that's icing on the cake."

Besides, his journey on "Breaking Bad" was already special in its own right, he continued. "After 47 years in the business, I just feel so honored to be among a group of stellar creators, people who think and write and actors who bring their whole experience and persona to channeling these characters - that was enough. But this was over the top."

Esposito's Gus met his end in the unforgettable season 4 finale, and there's been hope that he'll make a return appearance on the series in some form as it winds down with its fifth and final season, which started July 15. But, the actor said that's still wishful thinking.

"I wish there was truth to that. I think that’s a wish that people have. I’m hopeful that they would want me to come back, I couldn’t imagine that they wouldn’t be thinking about it, but so far, no," he said. "Everything is kept so close to the vest and held in secrecy. I would love to be able to have the opportunity to go back and get back into Gustavo Fring’s shoes."

The role has stayed with Esposito, and particularly the challenges he faced portraying Gus in the season 4 episode "Hermanos," because "I had to learn something about trusting myself," he said.

"I prepared for that episode extremely well and had to speak fluent Spanish for pages and pages and pages, with fluent Spanish speakers, and I’m not Spanish, I’m half-Italian and half-Black. I knew I’d have to be a younger Gus and a Gus we had never seen before, [and] I found myself in a really vulnerable position, playing opposite an actor I know and love, Steven Bauer," he recalled. "I was vulnerable. It was real. I felt cowed, I felt out of my element, I felt like a fish out of water. I realized I had really achieved my goal to channel Gus because I couldn’t rely on being the stronger, the powerful, the calm Gus."

Overall, "Breaking Bad" picked up nine nominations Thursday, and Esposito says it's because the show's "committed and in good hands."

With "all of the directors, and especially the creator Vince Gilligan, and all of the co-stars, especially Bryan Cranston, I feel like we’ve made great music together," Esposito said.

The 54-year-old still tunes in, and even has a few theories about how "Breaking Bad" might conclude with its series finale next year.

"The possibilities are endless, of course, but I think that Walter is going to go all the way to the dark side," he said. "I would hope that the spirit of Gus haunts him in dreams and helps him to know that would be worth what Gus uttered to him in season 2: that a man provides and does what he has to do."

And in the end, "I think there would be a weird comeuppance for Walter, that all the bad that he did would not come back to him in a violent way but maybe all the cancer would catch up with him. These writers are quite brilliant and you can never predict, but I have a feeling."

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Filed under: Awards Season • Breaking Bad • Emmys • television

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Dhow Cruise

    hmmmm the actor now has an individual Emmy nod to back it up. On Thursday, he was nominated along with "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul for best supporting actor in a drama series.

    January 30, 2013 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ellie Turko

    I've always maintained the Gus is still alive and will return..if not, why no funeral? And I read in ET a few months back that he is still alive. Was that an OOPS ?

    August 31, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • be quiet

      you're crazy. half of his head got blown off! also, Esposito is already signed on to another show. Gus is dead.

      August 31, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. Martin

    Giancarlo Esposito Gustavo Fring is a terrific talent. Gus enhanced the series to the point where many will miss the depth and passion which he brought to the screen.

    Wish you well Sir.

    August 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TransitDave

    Gus will be missed, Giancarlo Esposito is a brilliant actor with a great career ahead of him, and I do hope it includes a cameo or two to "haunt" Walt. But on the subject of why BB is such a brilliant show, it's not just the acting, but the entire premise of the show,and how Walt keeps getting in deeper and deeper, that makes the show so unpredictable, and so worth watching. Intelligent people realize that it's just entertainment, but people who have found themselves in even remotely similar situations like the lead charactor can relate to how he always finds away to make the best of whatever situation he finds himself in. We all know that the "Paying the piper" moment is coming, but we still tune in to watch anyway, as much out of morbid curiosity as for entertainment.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. michael kors handbags outlet

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    July 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tom

    He was fantastic in that role...scary, cold and deadly.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Plumeski

    Isn't it weird to see Gus smile?

    July 20, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. Liz J. Crew

    I am so proud of Giancarlo Esposito, who played this role as beautifully and deeply as it could be played! He was brilliant and this is a brilliant show.
    And those of you who think it glorifies drug abuse are just wrong. It's actually a moral tale about the pathes we chose and how compromising your better self time and time again, will have you right where Walt is now.

    July 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sokman

    What a brilliant show. Let's glorify the manufactoring of controlled substances. Kids will think we're cool, & all the paranoid tweakers that won't come out of their barricaded bedrooms long enough to brush their teeth can totally relate.

    July 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • buffalo

      If you had ever WATCHED the program in the first place, you would know that it does quite the opposite of "glorifying" the drug trade. Troll.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • montyross

      it does lull you into believing that maybe if i tried it i would be immune from the lowlife undesirable aspect, so yes it does glorify breaking the law. Manufacturing and distributing an illegal substance with youre brother in law the DEA and getting away with it, yes it does glorify it. JUstl ike the winner of the lotto is glorified every week...

      July 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • LIsa

      What is wrong with you? If your kids are dumb enough to copy a TV show that is YOUR fault for not supervising them and not teaching them good values? TV is just TV...dont want your kids watching? TURN THE CHANNEL! Take some responsibility for raising your own kids. If you know anything about the show..Nothing good comes from it,

      July 20, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Richard

    he or aaron paul ( or i would have accepted dean norris) deserve this awrd. but i would have liked a nod to Max Burkholder.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gus Fring Fan

    Esposito was brilliant in his portrayal of Gus Fring. He deserves the Emmy.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • montyross

      yes dont believe half black half italian has won emmy yet its about time.

      July 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |

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