Why better Saul’s cast almost didn’t include Gus Fring
Breaking Bad was a cultural phenomenon, and Gus Fring has been at the center of that phenomenon in recent seasons. Fring was both the head of a massive methamphetamine ring and the owner of the successful chicken restaurant Los Pollos Hermanos — and Giancarlo Esposito’s ability to go from his customer service face to a downright homicidal one in a split second was outstanding terrible. Breaking Bad ended in 2013 and by the time Esposito was needed for Better Call Saul, a few years had passed and he had moved on to other projects.
When asked about his thought process on returning to Better Call Saul, Esposito was candid:
“A big decision for me. I felt like I was going through the same dance — but I felt like I didn’t want to go back. In my head I was like, ‘I can’t mess with this guy. The guy’s done man. He is history. He’s an icon. I don’t want to mess with him anymore.'”
Fring’s arc in Breaking Bad was intense and ended quite explosively, so it’s understandable that Esposito was reluctant to return to the character. After all, why mess with perfection? However, when the accomplished performer realized that immersing himself in the character at a different stage in his life could be a unique acting challenge, he decided to jump back in.