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Giancarlo Esposito was given very small role in Breaking Bad and turned it into becoming one of TV's biggest villains

Ali Condon

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Giancarlo Esposito was given very small role in Breaking Bad and turned it into becoming one of TV's biggest villains

Breaking Bad's Gustavo Fring may be one of the best TV villains we've ever seen, but he was originally only supposed to appear in one or two episodes.

Giancarlo Esposito, who played Gus Fring in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, was originally supposed to appear in a guest spot for the hit series, but he played the Los Pollos Hermanos founder so terrifyingly well that Vince Gilligan decided to make his character a regular - and I'm so glad he did.

Where would we be today without that iconic box-cutter scene?

Gus Fring was almost just a simple chicken shop manager. Credit: AMC
Gus Fring was almost just a simple chicken shop manager. Credit: AMC

Giancarlo, who has gone on to star in The Boys, The Mandalorian, and Dear White People, had a slow but steady acting career before he landed Breaking Bad.

He had appeared in a series of Spike Lee joints like Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X, blockbusters like Ali and The Usual Suspects, and beloved indie flicks like Fresh and Night on Earth.

But Vince Gilligan was the man who would eventually sky-rocket Giancarlo's career in 2008 when he phoned him up and asked if he'd like to appear in a guest spot on Breaking Bad.

By that point, Breaking Bad was already a resounding success after its first season aired on AMC, and series creators were writing the next chapter of Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) story.

Despite all its acclaim, Giancarlo wasn't that interested when he first got the call.

"At that point, I had done so many guest spots in my life I wanted to be part of a family. I wasn't in the market for another guest spot," he told Express.

"And I guess, because I'm more seasoned, the attitude I took was that I will be dedicated to your show and I feel I can add to your show long term, but you have to show me dedication, too."

And show him, they did.

Gus was the best villain of all time in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Credit: AMC
Gus was the best villain of all time in both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Credit: AMC

When creators saw just what Giancarlo was bringing to the table, they decided to turn his character from a simple fast food restaurant manager into something far more sinister.

"I made the decision for Gus to be extremely still, more of a listener than a talker," the actor told Backstage.

"As actors, we like to perform; it's what stirs us up inside. So I had to find a way to stir myself up inside and yet do less."

So, after shooting two episodes as the creepily calm yet oh, so unsettling Gus Fring, Giancarlo was asked if he would consider shooting more episodes.

Speaking to fans at a San Diego Comic-Con a few years back, he recalled: "I knew that after I did two episodes that there was an opportunity.

"If they wanted to meet for that and take that opportunity with me, that would be great and they did and Vince had such a great vision, but I also thought I had great ideas extending from the inspiration that I got from his writing."

And thus, we were given the most terrifyingly badass TV villain of all time, in not just one, but two different series.

Plus, rumour has it we might not have seen the last of Gus Fring just yet.

Featured Image Credit: Kathy Hutchins / Alamy Stock Photo, Netflix

Topics: Breaking Bad, TV and Film

Ali Condon
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