‘Breaking Bad’: Giancarlo Esposito’s Favorite Gus Fring Scene on the Series Has No Words at All
Gus Fring is the most notorious villain on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. He’s not the biggest or the strongest, yet Fring’s cunning nature allows him to outsmart his opponents at every turn. Gus becomes the drug kingpin of the Southwest by hiding in plain sight, making friends of enemies and never letting anyone see his true emotions.
Walter White eventually manages to murder Gus Fring in an explosive spectacle. But before he does, the super villain gives an extraordinary performance which earned Giancarlo Esposito multiple Emmy nods for Best Supporting Actor.
Gus Fring leads with intimidation on ‘Breaking Bad’
Walter White gradually works his way up the chain of command in his quest to manufacture high-quality meth until he confronts the man in charge: Gus Fring. Fring is charismatic and charming, a local business owner running a chain of successful fast food restaurants in Albuquerque. He’s a frequent donor to and supporter of local law enforcement. No one would have guessed Fring was secretly running an underground meth lab.
Meticulous Fring distrusts Walt from the start and doesn’t want to work with him. He reluctantly gives in after realizing the amazing quality of the product Walt and Jesse are producing. But even as he brings the pair into the fold, he’s plotting to replace Walt with a chemist he can control.
Giancarlo Esposito recalls his favorite ‘Breaking Bad’ scene
There are so many legendary Gus Fring scenes on Breaking Bad. But when it came to selecting his favorite, Esposito chose one where the character conveyed his strength through silence.
The scene was in season 4, episode 1, “Box Cutter.” In it, Fring must deal with the aftermath of Jesse shooting Gale, who was supposed to be Walt’s replacement. He’s furious with the pair but knows he needs them. Fring confronts Walt and Jesse at the meth lab and doesn’t speak one word.
“Much of acting is to be able to say without words, and in ‘Box Cutter’ I certainly had that opportunity,” Esposito told Entertainment Weekly.
“It’s almost 10 minutes without saying anything. I always equate that to Harold Pinter — who I love — and how Pinter wrote in ‘Pinter pauses’ — very, very long pauses where no one said anything and characters are just looking at each other on stage or doing something physically with nothing said. In that silence of vocality, there is so much being said.”
Fring reasserts his power by killing Victor on ‘Box Cutter’
Though Fring can’t kill Walt and Jesse, he does show them a glimpse of his vengeance by quickly turning around and slitting his righthand man Victor’s throat after the extended silent scene. Then, he leaves Victor’s body on the floor, expecting the duo to dispose of it themselves. The surprise murder sends a clear message about who’s in charge.
By the end of season 4, Walter White finally manages to outsmart his boss by rigging an explosive device to Hector Salamanca’s wheelchair and using him as a suicide bomber. By doing so, he was exploiting the only weakness Fring had: the incessant need for revenge.