As many fans of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul are already aware, Gustavo “Gus” Fring is one of the most fearful and polarizing fictional characters — not only in the history of each series but in the history of television as a whole. Portrayed in both shows by actor Giancarlo Esposito, Gus Fring is a powerful force in the drug business and a motivated kingpin that is determined to be the best and outdo his sworn enemies in the Mexican drug cartel.
While Fring has typically been viewed as a stern villain, certain flashbacks in Better Call Saul have edged towards a particularly softer side to Gus, specifically the inclusion of Max Arciniega. Such events have presented a different side to the drug lord that viewers never truly got to witness during Breaking Bad’s iconic run. As a result, Esposito revealed to Collider that he felt “uncomfortable” in the finale season of Better Call Saul as Gus, though he referred to the entire experience as a “great challenge” and that he’s glad he portrayed a “different” Gus this time around.
“That, to me, is a great challenge as a performer and an actor, given the moments where I came into this process and had to feel feelings that I didn’t want to feel. I’ve always been controlling the chaos in many ways, and in moments in this particular season, the chaos got out of control, and Gus could not control it but had to look like, feel like he could. So there’s an irritation, an impatience, frustration, anxiety that I had to be comfortable with.
And I wasn’t, I’m not! I’ve been playing a guy who’s got it together for so long, and all of a sudden, I’m a guy who doesn’t have it so together. How much of that do I show? I was in ADR with our wonderful ADR master Kathryn [Madsen], watching a scene between me and Mike that’s going to play out down the road, and I felt like I was too big. I went, ‘Wait a minute. That’s not the Gus I know.’ And then Kathryn went, “But remember this, remember that.” And I went, “Oh, I’m just uncomfortable with this guy,’ which means I did alright, because if I’m standing there uncomfortable with my own performance, given the circumstance of what happened in that moment, then that’s a different Gus. And that’s what I wanted, you know?”
It will certainly be to see what level of chaos Gus stirs up this season, but we do know that it possibly won’t be the end for the character, as a potential spin-off series is rumored. We’ll have to see how the enthralling journey ends when the finale season of Better Call Saul premieres on AMC on April 18.