It's a big week for Giancarlo Esposito. Season 3 of Better Call Saul premieres on Monday, April 10, on which he'll be reprising his iconic Breaking Bad villain Gus Fring, and on Friday, April 7, part two of the birth of hip-hop series The Get Down arrived on Netflix, on which he plays Ramón Cruz, a Pentecostal pastor who disapproves of his golden-voiced daughter Mylene's (Herizen Guardiola) shift to secular music.
Behind the scenes, Esposito says The Get Down was "a complete mass, ball or otherwise cube of confusion," thanks to creator Baz Luhrmann, a director and producer with an artistic vision so grand and chaotic it's sometimes hard for his actors to keep up. But Giancarlo Esposito is a seasoned pro, and he figured out Baz well enough to be able to help get the performances Luhrmann wanted from himself and the show's young cast -- as well as master a hilarious impression of the flamboyant director.
Esposito says that he and Luhrmann got on the same wavelength during rehearsals when Esposito was so intense with Guardiola that the inexperienced actress broke down in tears. He told her, "this is where it's going, this is where we gotta get every single time."
"And Baz came to me and he said, 'Oh my God, darling, do it again, please, just break her down,'" says Esposito.
Esposito says that sometimes actors have to push each other to get the best performance, and when he realized that he was going to have to do that on The Get Down, Luhrmann trusted him to do it right. It paid off in a strong performance from Guardiola, and hopefully no lasting emotional damage for the promising young star.
"Baz is amazing," says Esposito. "I want to be him in another incarnation, because he gets all that he wants, has a very big vision and nothing stops him." As in, he was able to get Netflix to spend $125 million on 11 episodes of a single television show.
The Get Down Part 2 is now available on Netflix.
Better Call Saul premieres Monday, April 10 at 10/9c on AMC.