Clearly the performances are all that’s necessary to see what a gifted actor Giancarlo Esposito is. But were there doubt, consider the characters he plays.
His Emmy-nominated Gus on “Breaking Bad” is a stone killer. His Captain Neville is a man not averse to shootings or beatings and is reason alone to watch NBC’s “Revolution” Mondays.
Yet in person, as he finishes a sandwich at a poolside bar in Beverly Hills, the man gives off the sweet calmness of a yoga teacher.
“This year has been a whirlwind,” he tells Zap2it, “a ton of television. It is exciting to do different genres in one year.”
Neville has shown a few glimmers of humanity, but he is one tough dude. Before the power outage that changed the world in this slightly futuristic drama, Neville was an insurance adjuster.
“I sparked to it because an insurance adjuster knows when people are lying and is observant and calculating and manipulative,” he says. “He knows when to pressure someone. It made me think what he might have been like, maybe a little bit of a nebbish. He gets a little bit of a taste of power and absolutely loves it.”
Esposito understands that sort of passion; it’s one he’s had for acting since he was a child. Though he made his Broadway debut at 9 playing a slave child, it wasn’t until four years later that he knew it would be his path.
“The switch went off,” he says.
Esposito plans to return to the stage, but for now, he says, “I love being a badass. This is much more physical than previous badasses I played. He’s not afraid to have fun. I see him as having more fun than some characters I have played. I get to ride a horse and carry a sword.”
Favorite books: “I like to read spiritual books. I loved ‘Autobiography of a Yogi.’ It was a beautiful book and a beautiful journey. I read a lot of spiritual material. It keeps me calm.”
Favorite movies: “ ‘The Best Years of Our Lives,’ ‘The Great Escape.’ I’ve been thinking about that because I really like Steve McQueen. And because we have an election coming up, ‘A Face in the Crowd.’“