‘Breaking Bad’: How Giancarlo Esposito’s Real Life Informed His Gus Fring Character

by Chris Piner

In 2008, audiences watched as AMC premiered their newest series by Vince Gilligan called Breaking Bad. Unknown to both the network and its creator, Breaking Bad grew to become a hit, leading to five seasons. Although the series could have continued, Gilligan focused on telling a wonderful story instead of capitalizing on the show’s success. But that didn’t stop a prequel series surrounding Saul Goodman from going into production. Now, with Better Call Saul coming to an end, the man behind Gus Fring is discussing some of the traits he shares with his frightening, yet compelling character. 

Appearing on the Back To One podcast, actor and man behind Gus Fring, Giancarlo Esposito talked about what it took to bring the character to life and how he used his own life to do it. One special aspect of Gus is his love for the clip-on tie. Esposito revealed, “The clip-on tie, which was so special for me because I went to military school. I used that clip-on tie, so here’s my memory draw.”

Giancarlo Esposito Discusses How He Became Gus Fring

For Giancarlo Esposito, finding the character Gus happened naturally when he put on the outfit. “So for me, once Gus got out of that particular clothing, I realized all of my particular nature came out. Now he’s wearing a tie and a sport coat and when I’m wearing a tie and a sport coat, I feel differently; I feel good about myself.”

Beyond his clothing, many fans noticed the mannerisms behind Gus and how he always unbuttoned his jacket before sitting. Giancarlo Esposito elaborated on his quirk, stating, “When I started to realize Gus’ particular nature. I realized that I am really particular about where my tie sits on my neck. I went to military school. When I get up, I button my jacket; when I sit down, I unbutton it.” The actor added, “He’s very polite, he’s very appropriate, he listens. I was a waiter for years; everything in my whole world came together.” 

Going Beyond Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul

Using his life to better represent the character, Gus grew to become one of the most intriguing antagonists of both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. At the height of the Breaking Bad series, Esposito received two awards from the IGN Summer Movie Awards. Both were for best TV villain. Just a year later, the actor gained another award from the Critics Choice Television Awards for best-supporting actor in a drama series. 

Having over 180 acting credits, the future seems bright for Giancarlo Esposito as he portrayed Moff Gideon in the popular Disney+ series The Mandalorian. He can also be seen in one of Amazon’s most successful series about the dark truth behind superheroes, The Boys