‘Better Call Saul’: Giancarlo Esposito on the Gus Fring you can expect in season 3

What kind of new shadings can we expect from Gus? A reporter said to me the other day, “Let’s face it, we’re in the third season of Saul. (Laughs) Pretty brilliant to me. One side of that integrity is he really wants you to have that integrity because he has that integrity. This is the point where he has to get the cartel to trust him that his ideas are better, that his ideas aren’t just because he wants to take over — it’s not just his ego, it’s that he’s figured out a better plan for a few different parts of their business, not only to grow it but to also keep it safe. Then another six or eight months passed, and Vince and I had a terrific conversation where he just asked me if I’d come back and recreate the character I’d created in the show. Well, it’s been something I’ve mentioned over and over again. I breathed life into Gus.” And he insisted, “No, you created this character because you embodied who this guy is and inspired us.” So I said, “Okay, fine,” because I respect Vince very, very deeply as I do Peter Gould and all the writers who helped to make Saul a hit in and of itself, outside of Breaking Bad. And I said, “Vince, you created the character, I interpreted it and brought it to life. You’re gaining trust for this guy because he’s laying it down and showing you how it should be done. Maybe Vince or Peter haven’t seen it or maybe AMC and Sony haven’t seen it. I’m imagining what Vince was thinking is to take it up to where we begin in Breaking Bad — possibly. So I heard, like the public, rumors that Gus might come to the show. I said I’d be willing predicated on a conversation with Vince [Gilligan, Breaking Bad‘s creator who   created Saul with Peter Gould]. Hopefully you’ll see a guy learn all that and then start to really focus his energy as we see fit in seasons 4 and 5. Here, the actor goes deep on one of the most anticipated arrivals of the TV season. So, to me, that integrity of Gus has a two-fold, double-edged sword. And was there any real talk of doing that as a limited series? I was very clear with Vince. He has a very big brain. Two more seasons and then you have your bookends in a way. He’s younger, he’s more brash. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW. But [Better Call Saul] is really weaving in a show about Saul with dangerous elements which, of course, Gus can show you. He assured me that they were going to find the way that would be intriguing and interesting, and I said if that could happen I would come back. It’s the big brain that creates the business, or several businesses like this. Let the fuss about Gus begin. RELATED: Best TV Shows of 2016
What was it about that conversation — or in a subsequent one — that got you excited about returning to the role? In that flashback in season 4 of Breaking Bad, we see Gus   in the ‘90s watch as   Hector kills his partner Max (James Martinez). You certainly feel his danger, but he has a more close-to-the-vest respect for the cartel. This is, of course, years before the Breaking Bad timeline, but he’s not polished and is   naïve about the forces he’s dealing with. We did agree to a couple of things that I think are important — that Gus is primarily a mystery, which means that mystery has to unfold in a slow-burn manner. He’s so self-assured that that moment will come that he takes an action to not have that moment happen now. Well, he’s developing it as we see it. And I got a phone call of inquiry: Would I be willing? How much of the mystery and mystique of the Chilean export   will be unpacked in upcoming episodes? GIANCARLO ESPOSITO: It’s not because of the ending; it really is because I didn’t really know how Gus would fit into a show about Saul. So that’s what intrigued me — that I could find some other delicate areas of Gus to unveil to the public, and people would go, “Oh, yeah! Tonight’s episode of Better Call Saul   will welcome back one of TV’s most centered, inscrutable, cold-blooded, and chilling   villains. Loved the show, loved what Bob does, didn’t know how Gus would fit into it. I want to chart his rise in a specific way. The   season 3 premiere set the stage, as the episode ended with Mike   following a   trail   of clues that seemingly will lead him   into the lair of Gus, with   Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) also somehow tangled up in this illicit web. If I had my druthers — and my 20-year-old daughter is always reminding me, Shayne Esposito, she said to me, “It’s not your show, Papa! How did Esposito —who, after earning an   Emmy   nomination for his role as Gus, amassed such credits as Revolution, Once Upon a Time, The Get Down, and the Maze Runner   franchise —   feel about revisiting the world of family-friendly fast food and not-so-friendly narco-trafficking? But he’s getting the job done with a better product and a better timing of delivery. That’s what Om hoping to show and I think they’re going to move in that direction. Was there a specific storyline that Vince and Peter   pitched you? It’s not about you! Giancarlo Esposito’s Gus Fring — who was last seen in the season 4 finale of Breaking Bad losing half of his face and all of his life in a crafty wheelchair-bomb explosion — joins the prequel spin-off at an earlier point in his bifurcated career as fast-food chicken restaurant king and drug kingpin. There’s a different kind of balance in a younger man and a man who’s also in the prime of charting his plan.”
How serious were you about The Rise of Gus? Of course we want to know more about Gus, of course it has to be balanced with Saul, and I think they’ll do it brilliantly. I would hint that he is very, very compassionate to his enemies. It had to be for more than one episode. The guy is taking control, he’s taking power. I knew that Saul was conceived as a comedy and then got to be a dramedy. I think it’s a fascinating moment for the audience and for Gus. In other words, maybe the possibility of having him be more vulnerable and less maniacal and obviously in control but also very scheduled out. I certainly have mentioned it to my people, it’s out there. How fully developed is the Gus we will see here in the early ’00s, in terms of his sociopathy and his danger level? ” (laughs) — but I said to Vince, “I would prefer to have a show called The Rise of Gus and make it a limited edition and see all of Gus’s world….” That, to me, would be the way to have the character go out with a bang. But behind that compassion, through an incident that takes place this season, you see his bigger plan for this particular character…. Next ( 1 of 3 )
Show Full Article What excited me specifically was my own imagination about who Gus was six years prior to us meeting him. What kind of Gus can Better Call Saul fans expect in season 3? I’m hoping that season 4 will be the time to really dive into that. It seems like a logical course of action to inject   one of Bad‘s   most memorable   and fearsome figures into   Saul   as it slithers closer to its parent show’s timeline, and fans have been bracing for his arrival ever since…   well, perhaps   the beginning of the show, but certainly   at least since   the end of season 2, when Gus’   future head of security, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) received a warning note (“DON’T”) on his car just as he was about to eliminate   Hector Salamanca (Mark Margolis). ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, you got   a call about reprising your role in this prequel, and you’ve said that your first reaction was “No.”   Was that because Gus went out with such a literal bang in “Face Off” and it would be next to impossible to top anything after that? And the other side of the sword is that that is gaining your trust, not only as a viewer, also as a character within the show. Who is that guy? And a guy who understands the essence of being out in the open in the public and is not afraid of that, and can stand up and speak for that. Now he has other reasons, but that’s wonderful exploration. So I keep talking about it because maybe it’s a reality, although I feel like if we explore all the places of Gus in Saul that I’m satisfied with, there may be no need for The Rise of Gus. So that is completely in earnest out of being the best that he can be so that he can in essence get the job, thus exasperating the other parts of the cartel and taking more control. A version of this post appears in   the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now, or buy it here. In all fairness to Vince, they’re folks who have a lot on their plate and are focusing on making this one show great. What’s after that?” That comes up very, very quickly. Right!