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Better Call Saul star Jonathan Banks promises ‘more violent era’

Better Call Saul star Jonathan Banks promises ‘more violent era’
Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut on Better Call Saul | Photograph by: AMC , Postmedia News

The prequel spinoff to AMC's Breaking Bad intensifies in Season 2

Better bring your Band-Aids. Better Call Saul, the prequel spin-off series to Breaking Bad, will get even more brutal for Mike Ehrmantraut as it hurtles through its second season. Not his portrayer Jonathan Banks is at liberty to offer many details.

“Well, the upcoming season for Mike is going to continue to enter a more violent era. And, uh, yeah,” says the 69-year-old actor, who also starred in the TV series Wiseguy and the films Airplane, 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop.

When viewers last saw Mike, he was hard up for cash. Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) popped up at just the right moment, recruiting Mike to make “a guy” go away. Will he take the gig? And exactly which “guy” would he be targeting?

Banks is staying mum on those answers, but regardless of the outcome, he has faith in the show’s scribes to turn out episodes that will keep fans riveted – even though the fates of Mike and many of the show’s other characters have already played out on Breaking Bad.

“My backstory with Mike goes a long way back. Mike’s been hard a long time. A long time,” says Banks. “The writers love the character and I love the character, so it’s always a joy to do it. It’s a tragic character that I really like.”

Mike is a former police officer working as a parking lot attendant, and later a private investigator for Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). He’s a fixer of problems, a cleaner of crimes.

“He’s a lot smarter than I am, and a lot tougher than I am,” admits Banks, whose character died at the end of Breaking Bad. Banks is philosophical about having Mike’s final moments already etched on the screen, and he says it doesn’t affect how he plays him.

“I don’t feel any constraints. Unfortunately, we all know my ending. We’re not getting out of there alive, and you know, for you to think about the day you’re going to die 40, 50 years from now or however long that’s going to be – what a waste of time,” he says.

“It’s very interesting that when you do a prequel, you’re literally opening a new story. And I think a prequel in some ways is much more fulfilling for an actor to play than a sequel is. It’s still all new.”

Better Call Saul airs Mondays on AMC

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