Giancarlo's mother was an African-American opera singer from Alabama and his father was a Neopolitan stagehand from Naples, Italy. He was born in Copenhagen because his mother was appearing there in a nightclub on a split bill with Josephine Baker. During his childhood, Giancarlo lived in Italy and…more
Says he purchased his characteristic gold-rimmed glasses in Toronto, Canada.
Giancarlo started acting at 7 years old when he first appeared in a Broadway musical.
As a child, Giancarlo was enrolled in military school while living in Italy.
Giancarlo based the character of Gus Fring on the performance by Eddie Olmos (Edward James Olmos) in the series Miami Vice, who played Lieutenant Martin Costello.
Giancarlo currently lives in Connecticut.
Steven Bauer, who guest-starred on Breaking Bad for two episodes, once did an off-broadway show with Giancarlo Esposito that also featured Gary Sinise.
Giancarlo's second feature film is called "This Is Your Death", a satirical drama that revolves around reality television. Jeremy Piven is set to star.
Giancarlo's film directorial debut "Gospel Hill" (2008) premiered at the Albuquerque Film Festival. Albuquerque is also one of the filming locations and the main city featured in Breaking Bad.
Used the Rosetta Stone computer program to improve his Spanish for Breaking Bad.
Giancarlo: (On his Community guest-spot) I got a call at the very last minute... and they didn't even have a script, they had a thumbnail sketch [for a show that's] quirky and interesting. They said that normally when they try to get someone of note to come on the show it falls through, so I decided to make their dreams come true.
Giancarlo: Albuquerque is special to me. When we're flying in, almost over that box-shaped mountain, I get moved... I'm moved by being outdoors. I'm an outdoors person; I'm a runner, a skier, a biker. I'm interested in spirituality and in religion and our relationship to the divine. And when I get in Albuquerque, man, and I can see as far as the eye can see… Is it brown and dry? Yeah. Does it bother me? No. There's been some really incredible indigenous cultures have lived there and they have mesas and they have spiritual places and they have people who walk on the highway to a certain church for days on end to worship.
Giancarlo: (on taking various roles) I [want] to bring a favorable and positive image to African-Americans. I felt like the audiences that do watch my career make me who I am. Of course, you guys, as writers and journalists who admire my work, can write about it and talk about it and I'm forever grateful for that, because you recognize some talent there. But I want to be able to bring my talents to fruition in different ways and play different roles.
Giancarlo: (Asked if he would like to direct on Breaking Bad) I sure hope so! I've talked to Vince Gilligan about the possibility. Bryan Cranston is a big supporter of the idea. I love this show because its the closest thing to movies on TV. We make mini movies every week which is a way to be highly creative with the camera, blending that great writing that that's given to us by the writers.
Giancarlo: (On his Once Upon a Time roles) [The fairy tale character is] is [the evil queen's mirror mirror] and he is not afraid to tell her [the truth] even though she doesn't want to hear what that truth may be. There is nothing more that she can do to him because he is stuck in this mirror. It's a fabulous piece of the fairytale world brought to us by the executive producers of 'Lost,' and I think it's really an incredibly conceived show. It's very smart and it also is a show that deals with moral issues of right and wrong and good and evil, and so I'm very excited to be a part of it.
Giancarlo: (On the character of Gus) I wanted to create him as someone who wasn't just black and white, but who had many different parts to his personality, and I think I found it... It really kicked in for me that Gus is the father of a very, very special family. He is running a business, but he has a family of people who work for him and he treats them as such. The way he taught people how to use the fryer, the way he checked on all of his customers meant that he was something more than just a guy who was interested in making great meth. He was a guy who was interested in teaching people how to become their best selves. So I used that to sort of [get] into a deeper moral part of Gus' character.
Giancarlo: (On how he learned of his character's demise on Breaking Bad) Vince came and spoke to me and said, 'You know, I want to kill Gus off.' It was a very funny moment, actually. We were having a conversation in his office and he got up to close the door and I said, 'Don't close the door,' and he said, 'No, I want to close the door.' And I said, 'No, you're not closing the door.' 'No, I want to close the door.' 'No, DON'T close the door!' And finally I allowed him to close the door because I knew what he was going to say. And then I said, 'If it's going to happen, it's got to happen in a very fantastic way.'
Giancarlo Esposito: (On how he prepares for the role of Gus Frings) Yoga is a big part of my life now. There's not a day that goes by where I don't do an Asana and mediation practice. To me, that's helped [with] Gus. I'm a real energetic kind of guy. I'm excitable. Gus is the coolest cucumber that ever walked the Earth. I think about Eddie Olmos way back in Miami Vice. He was like dead -- he was hardly breathing. I thought, how is this guy just standing in this fire and doing nothing? Gus has totally allowed me that level of flexibility and relaxation -- not because he has ultimate power and he knows he can take someone's life. He's just confident. He makes a definitive decision that he sticks by. That's a pretty powerful human being that trusts himself in that way.
Giancarlo Esposito: I got a great compliment from The Cousins [Luis and Daniel Moncada], who actually are Spanish, so I was happy about that. Those guys don't give out compliments easily.