If you have never attended a panel featuring Giancarlo Esposito, do yourself a favor a put that on your comic con bucket list. Hands down next to Brendan Fraser, Mr. Esposito is a humble, encouraging and gracious human being. I felt like I walked into a TED talk.
Esposito, best known for his role as Gustavo Fring on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, along with Moss Gideon in The Mandalorian, The Boys and more. CC and I know him from Maximum Overdrive and Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. 😉 He took the stage and was met with members from the 501st Legion Carolina Garrison.
Highlights from the panel:
“We’re starting to realize the value of family. It’s important to be in service and to take care of each other.”
Fan: “If Vince ever came to you with the idea of an ‘El Camino’ style movie of Gus’s rise to where he met with Don Eladio in Mexico, would you go for it?” Giancarlo: “In a heartbeat.”
Giancarlo: “They say you cannot lead until you can follow. I went into military school and almost went into the military. Then wound up doing a movie about pre-military and it wasn’t until years later that I heard that statement. I wondered why my journey had guided me through a world of discipline that I loved, but mostly hated. Why did it guide me there? Because it taught me how to stand up, take responsibility for myself, and a group of men. You never leave a man behind. You always bring everyone with you when you go. It taught me that great lesson.”
Fan: “You are an awesome evil character from ‘The Mandalorian’ and ‘Breaking Bad,’ so my question to you would be, what’s your favorite moment that actually made you go, Oh yeah, I’m a badass?” Giancarlo: “I think I had that moment long before the movies. I have to say that life has taught me to be a little more humble. It allowed me to soften a bit, and also have the ability with that softening to keep my fierceness. I’d have to say it is the moment in episode 401 of ‘Breaking Bad’ that I felt truly powerful. Actors, we love to act. Acting is provided to us through words most of the time in television. In film and in ‘Breaking Bad’ and some television shows, our stories are visual. You get to ‘The Mandalorian ’ you have a visual story with action. That visual conjures and fires your imagination to be able to allow you to live in that world. Words don’t always allow that kind of visionary imagery and space. In 401 of ‘Breaking Bad’ “Box Cutter,” Gustavo Fring finally had a chance to do something really really really nasty, nefarious and evil. He did it by his own hand, and it was to send a message so in that moment of shooting that scene, I felt like, “Oh wow, I could really do this!” A horrible pass through an actor’s mind. I could do that. I could be that.”
Fan: “How do you stay so humble?” Giancarlo: “I stay humble because I’ve stumbled. In stumbling, you start to understand who you really are. They say that your personality really comes into light when you’re under duress. When you’re tired. When you’re exhausted. When you’re in a place that you don’t want to do something…”
Fan: “What core values do you have? What drives you to wake up and do the job you do?” Giancarlo: “What drives me to do what I love to do? Love. L-O-V-E. Love drives me…”
Watch the video below for more:
Fan: “What does it feel like to be an iconic part of not one, two, but three iconic show universes? Giancarlo: You know you bring tears to my eyes when you that. I never imagined I’d be in this position years ago. I was doing five different television shows. All of them were somewhat of a hit. Some larger than others. This year, I’m doing four. I’m reminded that I always want to work with people I really like and then happy accidents happen. I’ve made great choices in my career that haven’t been guided by money or the size of a role. I’m about to receive the Hollywood Critics Association. Their icon award, so I’ve been trying to process that because I still feel like a young actor. I still feel like I’m a plebe…”
Fan: “Out of the villains you’ve portrayed, who is the most intimidating or menacing that you’ve played?” Giancarlo: “Oh my goodness. You know, I would have to say Gustavo Fring. I got that role. I had a clip-on black tie. I worked in a restaurant. I’ve worked in several restaurants. He has a face that you don’t see. A face that’s hidden. He has an agenda that you don’t know, and that’s very frightening when someone is hiding who they really are.”
“In our lives we have to have ideas. Those ideas get translated from ideas into the vision of what you want. The vision of how you want it to play out. You can see it. You can feel it. If you stay quiet. Listen to your breath. Ask yourself the question. Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? The answer will come. You’ll be drawn to that thing you love. When you find that, it’s not gonna happen overnight. It takes days. Ten thousand tries and sometimes even more to fall in love with it deeper and deeper. You have an idea and you know in your heart because you’re a creator. In that creation that you have thought of and put the pieces on paper. Paragraph by paragraph. Letter by letter. Word by word. Sentence by sentence. To paragraph. You know it can’t fail, but you have to know that. When you know that, there’s nothing that can stop you. I walked through the world and people call my name. They stopped me in cars as I’m walking across the street and at the airport the other day. I realized something. I always knew this was going to happen. I knew it came to me so clearly. Why are you always surprised? Without my ego being involved, I said to myself, I knew this was the way it was gonna go. It was just a matter of me realizing it. A matter of me getting out of the way. A matter of me putting my ego away. A matter of me being present in the moment every single time that it came up, oh I’m great.”
“Go forth and do it!”