‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6: Nacho Varga’s Stuntman Added 1 Key Injury

Just the first three episodes of Better Call Saul Season 6 have been harrowing for Nacho Varga (Michael Mando). On the run from Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton)’s hitmen, Nacho’s journey came to a head in this week’s episode. In crafting his attempted escape, Vince Gilligan had to hold back Mando’s stuntman, Victor Lopez.

'Better Call Saul': Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) points a gun in his motel room
Michael Mando | Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

Gilligan directed the second episode of Better Call Saul Season 6, “Carrot and Stick.” On the Better Call Saul Insider podcast, Gilligan described how he made sure Lopez didn’t make Nacho too badass. New episodes of Better Call Saul air Mondays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Nacho Varga’s motel escape couldn’t be Parkour 

After discovering that someone is watching him, Nacho escapes the Mexican motel from space where the AC unit went. Lopez practices Parkour, so a second story jump was nothing to him. However, that’s a lot for Nacho, so Gilligan wanted to show that. 

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“I made him do it twice which I felt guilty about,” Gilligan said on Better Call Saul Insider. “When it’s a stunt like that and I’m directing, I really only want to make him do it once. But every now and then you ask someone and I felt guilty about it. And the reason I had him do it twice is he drops out of there and he lands like a cat and he just runs off. And I thought it looked too good. I thought it looked too superhuman, from a superhero movie or something.”

Nacho Varga has a limp because of the ‘Better Call Saul’ stuntman

It was Lopez’s idea to add a limp to the second take. That’s the take Gilligan used in the Better Call Saul episode.

“I ask him, ‘Do you mind doing another one?’ and he said ‘I’ll do it all day. What do you want different?’” Gilligan said. “I said, ‘Could you make it look not so good?’ He thought about it a second and he said, ‘How about I land and I kind of limp off? I kind of have to work it off a little.’ I said, ‘That’d be great?’ He said, ‘Which leg do you want to be the one that I hurt?’ Choose one, pick one. It doesn’t matter.”

This ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6 episode couldn’t give the stuntman pads

Lopez ultimately did the jump onto hard ground. Gilligan described how they considered giving him padding, but the shot required him to land on the ground. 

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Al Goto, our stunt coordinator who’s been with us since the pilot of Breaking Bad, one of the many secret weapons we have on this show as we had on Breaking Bad, he figured all this stuff out with Victor. He wanted to see about putting some sort of padding down for the young man to land on but I think, I can’t remember for sure, I think at the end of the day, because of the shot I wanted, there wasn’t really an ability to do much of that ultimately because Victor didn’t want to land on a bunch of soft stuff covered over by dirt and it would’ve looked weird.

Vince Gilligan, Better Call Saul Insider podcast, 4/19/22

Lopez was so convincing, Gilligan worried he was actually injured.

“He goes limping off,” Gilligan said. “Even after I told him to do it, I watch him do it and I yell cut and I say oh sh**, he really hurt himself. He’s like, ‘No, it’s what you asked me to do.’” 

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