If you ask ‘Better Call Saul’s’ Giancarlo Esposito for a selfie, be prepared to take two

“Better Call Saul” star Giancarlo Esposito talks about where he gets his acting inspiration from.


What would you do if you came face to face with Gustavo Fring?

It’s a question that Giancarlo Esposito, the actor who plays the drug lord (and purveyor of delicious chicken), sees play out on people’s faces every day. Esposito, you see, spends much of his life in airports. He’s working on four different TV shows at the moment, including, of course, “Better Call Saul,” the spinoff of “Breaking Bad,” the show that introduced us to the intimidating Fring.

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All that travel leads to some rather interesting encounters. There was the woman standing at the back of an airplane, waiting to use the restroom, who spied Esposito behind her and insisted — with deferential politeness and fear — that Esposito go first. There’s a lot of whispering and furtive glances. And sometimes people approach, asking Esposito to make like Gustavo Fring and pose for a photo.


“It’s that [look of] quiet menace, and everyone would like that for their selfie,” Esposito said during a recent video interview at The Times’ studio. “So I wind up doing two selfies instead because I want them to [get Gus and to] feel me and my energy.”

And Esposito’s energy is decidedly warm and relaxed and welcoming, as you can see from this video conversation. The in-demand actor talks about the surprising joy he felt about this year’s Emmy nomination for “Better Call Saul,” which will return him to the awards show seven years after he was first nominated for “Breaking Bad.”

“I can just go have fun now,” Esposito said. “The first time, I was so very nervous.”

Esposito also lays out some detailed thoughts about the upcoming season of “Better Call Saul.” No spoilers. Because Gustavo Fring would most definitely not condone any betrayal of secrets.

The full conversation can be found below.