- Ben Leuner / AMC
“Better Call Saul” fans are really pleased that the “Breaking Bad” spin-off is bringing back Gus Fring, but the actor who played the role originally turned down offers to reprise the beloved villainous character.
“My reaction was no,” Giancarlo Esposito, who played Gus for two seasons on “Breaking Bad,” told Vulture of his initial response to being asked to come back.
Esposito said that he didn’t feel confident about his ability to bring that character back to life. After turning down the show’s producers, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, the actor said he even turned down the head of Sony Pictures, which produces “Better Call Saul’.”
“It’s like when you make a really good soufflé,” Esposito said. “You know what I mean? It’s very, very difficult to have it rise without falling and also have it be remarkable. So for me to try to recreate that soufflé without it falling was almost impossible… Yeah, I was pretty cooked!”
Esposito is referring to the explosive way the drug kingpin died at the end of the fourth season of “Breaking Bad.”
“And for me, that was it. I was done,” Esposito said. “I don’t like to repeat myself. I try to always be original in my work. So to come back and create a character I’d already created was… difficult.”
It took “a lot of time” and a phone call with Gilligan to finally convince Esposito to return for the upcoming third season of “Better Call Saul.”
During the Television Critics Association press tour in January, Esposito said fans will meet a more immature Gus on “Better Call Saul” that hasn’t quite yet developed the thirst for revenge he had on “Breaking Bad,” yet Gus will still retain his “mysterious” quality.
“I’m excited to be back,” the actor said at TCA. “Vince described a situation – as he put it to me – Gus is a very cagey character. Again, I go back to the original stage direction Vince wrote, which was ‘hiding in plain sight.'”