The chilly actor Giancarlo Esposito, renowned for Better Call Saul and The Mandalorian, is ready to embrace his funny side, claiming he’s “actually quite fun after 6pm”.
Esposito is Emmy Award-nominated for two roles in September – as the frighteningly glacial Gus Fring in Netflix’s Better Call Saul (a role he made famous in Breaking Bad) and as Moff Gideon, holder of the Darksaber, in Disney+ series The Mandalorian.
Think Giancarlo Esposito and you don’t immediately think a laugh a minute, despite his appearances in Drunk History and Community.
The Denmark-born 62-year-old actor was on EW’s multi-nominees Emmy roundtable, along with comic stars Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek), Maya Rudolph (The Good Place) and Wanda Sykes (Black-ish), and told them he wanted to join the gang.
“I’m so jealous of all of you who are in comedy, because that’s where I’d like to go, and experience that feeling,” he said. “Because in off-hours, truth be told, I’m lighter than people know me as… I’m actually quite fun after 6 pm.”
Esposito elaborated that he was ready to break away from a lifetime of villainy.
“We perform because we are enthused by it and get filled up by it, but who wants to do the same thing all the time?” he said. “I would do anything to be able to experience the true juice of being able to have fun, yet move people, whether it be comedy, drama, or otherwise.”
Esposito is actually no stranger to comic roles, they just happen to have taken place in the mists of time. He appeared as the very excitable Buggin’ Out in Spike Lee’s 1989 classic Do the Right Thing, then played the effete piano player Left Hand Lacey in Lee’s super cool 1990 jazz movie Mo’ Better Blues.
Levy was equally keen to diversify his roles. He told the roundtable: “I would love to explore drama, I would love to explore musicals, and everything in between.”
However, he added, “It really just comes down to the idea. Does the idea have legs? Is it compelling? Will it be challenging for the actors that are a part of it? That, I think, is the throughline through all of this. And it’s always kind of remarkable to me to have certain conversations where people don’t see that, where you’re defined by genre, versus what you’re actually bringing to the table.”