‘Better Call Saul’: Giancarlo Esposito Speaks Out About Directing ‘Axe and Grind’ Episode

by Samantha Whidden

Following the airing of Better Call Saul’s latest episode, titled “Axe and Grind,” the show’s star Giancarlo Esposito opened up about directing the episode. 

While speaking to Variety, Giancarlo Esposito revealed how he ended up directing the Better Call Saul episode. “When I was working on ‘Breaking Bad,’ I had given Vince Gilligan my second film. Years later when we were getting ready to do 401 of ‘Breaking Bad,’ that infamous episode ‘Box Cutter,’ I asked him if he’d look at it and he said, ‘No, I haven’t had the chance.’ I said, ‘Well, you’ve been a busy bee.’ I never asked again. This was close to 10 years ago.”

However, Esposito stated that he observed and kept watching what was going on with the director. He received his big break on the show over the summer. “In the summer before we started shooting, I got a phone call from Vince and I thought something happened to one of the cast members, ‘Oh, what happened, did Jonathan Banks keel over?’ It was Vince, Melissa Bernstein, and Peter Gould, ‘We want to invite you to direct an episode in Season 6.’”

But the Better Call Saul director and creators did not reveal which episode he was going to direct. However, Esposito was still over-the-moon excited. “I just yelled. Good things come to those who wait. Through their conversations, they thought 606 would be the best that linked up with my personality.”

‘Better Call Saul’ Star Giancarlo Esposito Reveals What Elements of the ‘Axe and Grind’ Episode Match His Personality

When asked what elements of the Better Call Saul episode matched his personality, Esposito stated, “My particular episode has some edgy violence in it. I haven’t done a lot of violent films. My films are more intellectual, more about social consciousness. I think they wanted to give me the shot at shooting a very tricky scene that took place in Germany with Lalo Salamanca and Casper.”

Esposito also stated that the Breaking Bad episode was very intricate in its planning of what Kim and Jimmy were going to do. And also how they were going to enact the whole scheme to Howard. “Yet it had moments with Howard’s storyline, which is very beautiful, that could have some softness and the desire for Howard and his wife to come back together, and that’s not really happening.”

Esposito then spoke about the flashbacks between young Kim and her mom. He declared that everyone has had moments that they remember with their parents. He went on to add, “We remember how it affected us in an adverse way or in a positive way. This moment to me is a reflection of Kim’s whole life and who she actually becomes.”