On this episode, we're talking about a man whose career spans decades. A versatile actor who has the range to play a menacing drug kingpin as well as a talking mirror. He's probably best known for his role as Gus Fring on Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul. You may also know him as Buggin' Out from Do the Right Thing or more recently, Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian. Join us as we're talking about a few of our favorite performances by Giancarlo Esposito.
Miguel: This is They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.
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Christina: Thank you again for your support. You ready to get into the show?
Miguel: Let's do it.
Miguel: Welcome back to They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.
Christina: And I'm Christina. And today we're going to talk about someone who has 50 plus years in film, TV, and on the stage. We are talking about Giancarlo, pretend I rolled the "r," Esposito. I was looking up, I wanted to make sure I said it right, so he says it's EsPOsito, not EspoSITO.
Miguel: I saw that.
Christina: Remember that. And, I cannot roll my R's. Can you roll your "r's"?
Miguel: I don't know. Let's see. Giancarlo? Carlo? Carlo.
Christina: Uh, you gotta, he's probably like, ugh, if he heard it, but I'm sure we're not the only people who say Giancarlo.
Miguel: I'm not gonna call him Johnny. How about that?
Christina: Yeah. And at least I can say EsPOsito.
Christina: All right, now that we got that out of the way, that's who we're talking about. So, he first appeared on Broadway at the tender age of 8 in a musical called Maggie Flynn in 1966. And he continued to do more Broadway work throughout the '60s and '70s, but I'm not really a Broadway musical gal, so I can't really speak on that. But around this time he also started working in TV, but mostly started off with bit parts, so, things like "Puerto Rican teenager." And "Cellmate #2" in Trading Places with Eddie Murphy.
Miguel: Yes, he's a prominent cellmate, number two, though.
Christina: Yeah, and in an interview with Jennifer Hudson, he was saying how he was actually trying to upstage Eddie Murphy. And then of his early works, I'd say his biggest role was he had eight episodes as, Mickey, Big Bird's camp counselor on Sesame Street, and a bunch more, sort of like little bit parts and stuff. But he met, an up and coming director named Spike Lee in 1980. But it wasn't until 1988 when we first saw him in the first of many Spike Lee films. Which then leads us into our first topic of discussion, which is the Spike Lee era.
Miguel: Yes. That's where I first took notice of him. Obviously, I saw him in Trading Places but didn't know who he was because that's one of my favorite scenes of all time in any movie. And you know how I always say that "a karate man bruise on the inside?" That's where it comes from.
Christina: And every time I'm like, what's that movie again?
Christina: So, I guess on another note, I'll have to sit down and actually watch that movie at some point.
Miguel: Yeah, but the Spike Lee era is what I know him from, so... School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, that's where I learned who he was.
Christina: Yeah, so this was like '88 to '89, right?
Miguel: Uh, it's like '87 through '90. Something in that range.
Christina: Yeah, a little before my time, so I didn't watch it until much later. And then we rewatched School Daze and Do the Right Thing this week. I didn't get a chance to watch Mo' Better Blues, it's available for rent, but I did not rent it.
Miguel: And like I told you yesterday, I just happened to catch it on TV maybe two or three weeks ago. And I watched like, the last half hour of it, but I've seen it a few times.
Christina: I'll get around to watching it, I just didn't. I was like, you know, we gotta record. This is the one problem when we do an episode on actors, especially actors with this much work. It's like, we can only watch so much.
Christina: So, let's talk about School Daze since that was the first one.
Miguel: Where he played Julian, aka Big Brother Dean Almighty!
Miguel: I can't hit that high note.
Christina: That hair.
Miguel: The hair is great.
Christina: That hair with that part in the middle.
Miguel: The hair is amazing.
Christina: Well, he always has amazing hair.
Miguel: He does, but I meant that in a sarcastic way.
Christina: It was still amazing.
Miguel: If you say so.
Christina: Whether sarcastic or not.
Miguel: If you say so.
Christina: That hair part right down the middle.
Miguel: Yeah like Archie and Jughead comic book-type character where it was parted right in the middle.
Christina: But it was still like a square shape.
Miguel: Yeah, it was a flat top, but—
Christina: It was flat top with, it was like a wavy flat top with a part in the middle.
Miguel: He had a part right in the middle. Yeah, he played Julian. Uh, he was basically Laurence Fishburne's nemesis in this movie. He was the lead of Gamma Phi Gamma, G Phi G. And, yeah, they had beef in the movie.
Christina: They sure did.
Miguel: They had completely different ideals on what Blackness was and what Blackness meant. And that's basically the basis of the movie.
Christina: Yeah, and especially now that I know that he comes from a theater background, it totally makes sense. Because School Daze is part musical and very theatrical, very—
Miguel: Yeah, it's essentially a musical.
Christina: Yeah, very theatrical and very dramatic. So, this is like a perfect segue from Broadway to movies for him, I would say.
Miguel: Yeah, we didn't get to see him singing any songs in the movie. Everyone else did, but…he didn't get to get his golden throat on.
Christina: He didn't, but it was still, uh, very theatrical, though.
Miguel: Yeah, it was. Just to keep it spoiler free, even though this is a, like, 40 year old movie. 35 years or whatever. Like I said, he was the antagonist in the movie. And he does some things that makes him the bad guy.
Christina: Oh yeah. He is not cool.
Miguel: It's basically, like, the shaping of his career, essentially.
Miguel: Like, he always plays the villain. But he plays different types of villain. It's never the same villain twice.
Miguel: Except when he played Gus Fring. But that was on two different shows. So, that doesn't really count.
Christina: Well, he's playing the same character, so that doesn't count. It's two different shows, but same character.
Miguel: So, he plays the villain very well. And this was, like, the very first time we got to see him as a villain. And it was, like I said, he wasn't a very good person in this movie.
Christina: He was not.
Miguel: He was all bad.
Christina: But he's good at it. I think because he's very charismatic.
Miguel: Yeah. And as we talk about more of his characters, we'll see the range that he's played, even though he does a lot of villain work. They're all different villains and they're all like, menacing in different ways.
Christina: Yeah. So, then the next movie was Do the Right Thing where he plays Buggin' Out.
Miguel: Yes. I wouldn't say he was a villain.
Christina: He was an antagonist, but he, he meant well. He was just misguided.
Miguel: Yeah. He had the right ideas, but he was just a loose cannon.
Christina: Yeah, he just didn't, didn't have the right tools.
Miguel: So, that was the problem in Do the Right Thing.
Christina: Yeah, so he wasn't a villain, but he was definitely an antagonist.
Miguel: Yes, he was the neighborhood shit stirrer. Everything that happened in that neighborhood in that day, he was in the middle of it. No matter what it was. Except for the, the thing with Radio Raheem at the store, everything else that happened in that neighborhood, Buggin' Out, had something to do with.
Christina: I think what's crazy was when his sneakers get scuffed. And what's crazy about this is this scene highlights gentrification, and this was in 1988.
Miguel: Yes. And everything he was pushing back against, in the movie, has happened now. In 2023, everything that he was talking about was gonna happen, has happened.
Christina: Yeah. So, it's wild that he, he was already concerned about that back then, considering how the neighborhood hadn't really changed that much. But I guess enough for him to be like, oh, something's afoot.
Miguel: I would be interested in Spike doing it, doing an update to Do the Right Thing, but set in 2023, 2024.
Christina: Yeah, cause we actually looked up that corner on—
Miguel: Yeah, the actual intersection.
Christina: Yeah, at the actual intersection on Apple Maps, which is now renamed to Do the Right Thing Way. But there is a condo across the street that is so, such a visual marker of gentrification.
Miguel: It does not fit in with the rest of the brownstones in the neighborhood.
Christina: No, because for the most part, the brownstones and stuff is still there, except for this one condo that just sticks out like a sore thumb.
Miguel: And in the movie you can see that it's a vacant lot. And now it's this newish condo, so I'm not even sure when it was built.
Christina: Was it the vacant lot? I thought it was the one with the hubcaps on the fence.
Miguel: Yeah, that was a vacant lot, so it just had a fence around it.
Miguel: But now it's a condo, and it's…how much were the units selling for? Like, 1.5 and up?
Christina: Those were the, uh, brownstones.
Christina: I couldn't find the price of the units.
Christina: Yeah, so the brownstones were like, I think, 1.8 to like, the low two millions.
Miguel: Yeah, so Buggin' Out would be very disappointed—
Christina: Buggin' Out would be buggin' out!
Miguel: To what the neighborhood has transformed into. I'm not sure what the demographics are now. I can't prove anything. All we did was look up the neighborhood to see what it looked like and it has definitely changed.
Christina: It looks a lot different.
Miguel: So, what Spike was doing with the Buggin' Out character was definitely on point almost 40 years ago.
Christina: Yeah. And side note, the beginning of the movie where Rosie Perez is dancing her ass off, which you pointed out, that you could hear her feet clicking while she's dancing, while the music is playing.
Miguel: I don't know why they left that in, you can hear her feet shuffling across the floor.
Christina: Shuffling and tapping and…I don't know maybe they just thought it would kind of like put you in the moment because she is dancing her heart out.
Miguel: It really didn't, it did nothing for me, it just made me laugh. Just hearing her Nikes squeaking across the floor.
Christina: And a little tap, tap, tap, tap.
Christina: Yeah, so I, I liked Do the Right Thing, I thought it was funny and you know how Spike is, he always gotta have a message.
Miguel: Yes. The movies always have a message.
Christina: And then the next one was Mo' Better Blues, which I already mentioned, that I didn't get a chance to watch, so... your thoughts?
Miguel: It's been a while since I've seen the entire movie, like I said a couple weeks ago, I caught the last half an hour or so. But he plays a piano player in Denzel's band. He's a jazz musician, and his band consists of Bill Nunn, Giancarlo, Wesley Snipes, and I'm not sure the other guy's name, and Spike Lee plays their manager.
Miguel: So, that's the crew in this film. He's, he, his character is kind of wrapped into his own world. He kind of does things his way and doesn't like to follow rules. Like, they have a rule about being at the venue at a certain time. You're not allowed to bring your girlfriends into the dressing room area and he does all of these. He shows up 45 minutes late to a gig, brings his girlfriend in with him. She's talking shit to everybody and they're like, what are you doing? And that's just what his character was in the movie.
Christina: Another antagonist?
Miguel: He wasn't an antagonist in this one. He was just an asshole, but he was their asshole. Like, they embraced him for what he was, but they knew he was an ass. And basically they're like, you need to cut this shit out. He was a habitual line stepper. That's what he was.
Christina: All right..
Miguel: He had a very interesting earring in that movie, though.
Miguel: It looked like a necklace because it was so long, dangling from his ear, like, when he's on screen in one scene, the earring is so long it dangles out of frame.
Miguel: That's how long it is.
Christina: Gotta love the '80s.
Miguel: Yeah, but he was, uh, Left Hand Lacey. That was his character's name in the movie. But, like I said, Bill Nunn was in this one, Bill Nunn was in Do the Right Thing and School Daze as well. And when you're in a Spike Lee movie, you're in a Spike Lee movie forever, because a lot of those, those actors were in all of these movies.
Miguel: Like, John Turturro was in this one, he was in Do the Right Thing as well. So, you get a lot of Spike work once you're in.
Christina: Right. Spike will try to keep you employed.
Christina: There was a couple other, smaller things around this time. I think for me, it's highly likely that my first introduction to him was probably Waiting to Exhale. Obviously, I wouldn't have, you know, known who he was at that time because he's just one of those actors where he's just in things—
Christina: All the time, right?
Miguel: He's the guy that pops up, he's there for a quick minute and then he's gone.
Miguel: He leaves an impression and then he's gone.
Christina: So, just looking at it in the time frame of what I was watching and stuff, that's probably my first introduction. He was Gloria's baby daddy. Um, what's her name again? Oh, her real name.
Christina: I just drew a blank.
Miguel: Me too. I can see her in my head.
Christina: We talk about, we've talked about her before.
Christina: Like, she's one of our favorites.
Miguel: Loretta Devine.
Christina: Loretta Devine.
Miguel: Loretta Devine.
Christina: And she has not clued in, and he has not told her—oh, is this a spoiler?
Miguel: I'm gonna say yes.
Christina: You know what? Never mind. Just scratch that. Anyways, he has an appearance as one of the men that are keeping the women from exhaling in this movie. So, not a huge role, but if you've seen the movie, you would remember him.
Christina: And I actually just watched King of New York for the first time yesterday.
Miguel: I haven't seen that in so long.
Christina: So again, not a big role, but enough that you see him, but he's part of Larry Fishburne's crew, and I say Larry on purpose, because he was still going by Larry.
Christina: At this time.
Miguel: He hadn't transitioned into Laurence yet.
Christina: No, so he was just part of this, drug gang crew. But yeah, Christopher Walken is the main character in this movie and those dance moves, it took me out and then he's all like, "yeah, I heard that!"
Miguel: Yeah, he got some classic lines in this movie. Like I said, I haven't seen that movie in a long time, and I might have to watch it now that you sent me the link.
Christina: Yeah, it's on Tubi, for free. At least in Canada, I don't know…
Miguel: I'd assume that it's on Tubi in the US as well.
Christina: Yeah, if we can get it then they should, since getting stuff in Canada can be weird sometimes.
Miguel: Yeah, everything on Tubi is free though, so…
Christina: That's true. So, it's not like, oh my god, this is the best movie in the world, but it's one of those kind of like cult classics, I guess.
Miguel: That's a good place for us to take a break. So we'll be back really quickly.
Miguel: Hi kids. Do you like fun?
Miguel: And bookmarking a bunch of articles you'll probably never read? We're starting a monthly newsletter called Liner Notes. We'll be sharing what we're watching, what we're listening to, throwback YouTube videos, updates on our upcoming projects, random shit you may have missed on the internets, you know, stuff like that. The link is in the show notes or you can go to troypodcast.com/newsletter. Do it.
Miguel: It's good for you.
Christina: It'll make your teeth whiter.
Miguel: [Laughs] And back to the show.
Miguel: Yeah, all right, so let's move on to what we're calling his middle career. Starting in 1999 through 2009. The big thing that I really remember him for, for this is Homicide because it was one of my favorite shows. And I basically like everything that has to do with that Baltimore universe. So this, The Wire, The Corner, all of that. What's the new one? We Own the Night.
Miguel: So, I'm into all of these things and on this show, he played an FBI agent slash Baltimore police officer named, Mike, what was his last name?
Miguel: Giardello. Now, if you know who Yaphet Kotto is, he plays his father in this show.They want us to believe that Yaphet Kotto is Italian.
Christina: I mean, I know genetics is a funny thing, and...
Miguel: Yeah, and…
Christina: You, when you mix them, you don't know what you're gonna get
Christina: But, come on now.
Miguel: And Italy is close to the north side of Africa.
Miguel: But Yaphet Kotto? Like, for his character background to be what it's supposed to be, he should look like Giancarlo and not looking like himself. But that's neither here nor there.
Christina: Yes.That's, that's his dad.
Miguel: Yeah, he plays his dad in the show, and they butt heads throughout the entire season that he's on, pretty much. We don't know why, they just have this contentious relationship.
Christina: Well, we know why he has a contentious relationship with his dad, because his dad was…absent.
Miguel: Right, but we don't know why his dad is that way towards him.
Christina: Is so contentious with him. Yeah. I think he's just like that. I think that's what we're supposed to believe, that he's just a crotchety old man, I suppose. Or, I wouldn't even just say old man if he was that way his whole life, but he's just, his dad's just like that. Yeah, I... never watched Homicide or The Corner. So I watched, like a handful of episodes for the first time this week, but it's right up my alley. I watch these cop shows and, like you were saying, the Baltimore universe, so…
Miguel: Yeah, it fits in with all of the rest of that stuff because you have characters and actors who kind of float between all of the shows. Like Munch has been on all of them.
Christina: Yeah. All of them as well as the Law and Order universe and many other shows. He's always Munch.
Miguel: Yeah, so Richard Belzer has played the Munch character in all of those shows. And yeah, his character Mike Giardello, like I said, came in initially as an FBI agent, working on a case with the Baltimore Police Department. This is a spoiler, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. By the end of the series, cause this is the final season—
Christina: Are sure you want to spoil it? Because I haven't watched it.
Miguel: Oh, yeah, okay, you're right. So, I can't say.
Christina: So, I'm the person who's like, no, don't spoil a 30 year old show or a 20 year old show.
Miguel: You're right, I can't say anything. Because the end of the season leads into a TV movie.
Christina: Okay. Yeah, don't say nothing.
Miguel: Like, the year after, so. All right, I'll keep it to myself.
Christina: I will say the show is a little dated. Still worth watching.
Miguel: Yeah, I t is, because it was like early '90s, late '90s, something like that.
Christina: '98. Yeah. It started in '98. but, I think we've mentioned this before, when you rewatch The Wire, The Wire doesn't feel dated, unless you look at the clothes. But this—
Miguel: Yeah, and it's only like five years apart.
Christina: Yeah, but this, you can tell, is a little dated.
Christina: But for me, it's still worth a watch, I'm gonna, I found like, somebody on YouTube uploaded the majority of the episodes, but I guess we can also, I don't know, maybe get a DVD set or something?
Miguel: Yeah, that might be easier.
Christina: Yeah, I will get into that however I can.
Miguel: Around this time, he also did a movie that we spoke about when we did our episode on Queen Latifah.
Christina: Oh, actually, I just want to say one more thing about Homicide.
Christina: So, after the, I guess, Spike Lee era. This is the thing that made him break into TV, right?
Christina: Okay. That's all.
Christina: Just another career milestone that I wanted to mark.
Miguel: Okay. I don't remember what I was saying, but it was something about—
Christina: Something about Queen Latifah, Last Holiday.
Miguel: About Last Holiday. He played Senator Dillings in this movie. He wasn't a villain, although it seemed like he might be a villain. He ended up not being that.
Christina: Yeah, cause he, he seemed like he might be a shady senator. And he had eyes for her.
Miguel: Yeah, but he ended up being—
Christina: And he had eyes for her.
Miguel: He definitely had eyes for her because soon as she walked into the room, he was like—
Christina: He was like—
Miguel: "Ooh, look at that sister" or something like that.
Christina: Yeah, yeah. yeah. I just rewatched that scene.
Miguel: Yeah, he saw her from across the restaurant. Laser focused on her. But, he played a senator from Louisiana, I believe, and ended up meeting her somewhere in, where was she, like, Switzerland?
Christina: Yeah, I don't know, somewhere cold.
Miguel: Yeah, somewhere cold and random that she decided to go, but...
Christina: Like a exclusive resort in the snow.
Miguel: Yeah, he ends up befriending her, and went from hitting on her to actually becoming, like, a friend as the movie went along, but... Again, it was just a small role, he was in and out, but he made an impact and was very memorable in it.
Christina: Yeah, and we've talked about this movie before. I think it's cute, like if you just want a romantic comedy, I recommend watching it.
Miguel: And when I say that he has a small role, he's in it a lot, he doesn't have like a big...
Christina: He's just not one of the main characters.
Miguel: Yeah, he's not a main character, he pops up a lot throughout the entire movie. So, it's not like he's in one scene and then...
Christina: He's a supporting character.
Miguel: Yeah, he's a supporting cast member.
Christina: But the biggest thing during this sort of, 2000 to just before 2010 period is probably what most people know him for.
Miguel: Yeah. I'm gonna say this is his biggest role.
Christina: Yeah, and that is… Breaking Bad, ol' Gus Fring.
Miguel: Yes. Playing Gustavo. Yeah, the Gus character is probably peak villain—
Christina: Yes, definitely.
Miguel: In any movie or TV show, because he doesn't appear to be a villain.
Christina: Yeah, I think that is probably what makes the character so memorable because it's very different. Because when you first meet him, and this isn't a spoiler because we all know he's the villain.
Christina: But when you first meet him, you just think that he's like this guy who owns these chain of chicken restaurants, and he's very like, uptight but polite, like, hello sir, how can I help you?
Christina: But at the same time, he plays the role so well that you could see that he has this... friendly exterior, but you can kind of tell there's something seething underneath.
Miguel: Right. But you can't put your finger on it and you can't really prove it.
Christina: I rewatched, the scene where him and Walter White meet for the first time. And all he knows is like, someone's supposed to meet him at the restaurant, but he doesn't know who it is. And then he finally figures out that it's Gus. He goes to the counter and he's just like, hi, can I help you? And he's like, a Diet Coke and five minutes of your time. And by him saying that, Gus was like, oh, he knows who I am now. So, the way he just kind of stopped and turned and looked at him, you're just like, uh oh, what's going to happen here? And that's when we first see that little glimpse of what he's going to become.
Miguel: Yeah, I saw an interview that he did and he was talking about some specific acting method and I forget the name that he called it.
Christina: Oh about uh, you pause?
Christina: Yeah, I saw that too.
Miguel: And he was just talking about how he would freak people out on the set with that, because they're thinking, okay, did I mess up? What's going on here? And that's just him pausing to, what did he say? To give space. Because now the opposite character doesn't know what he's thinking.
Miguel: They don't know what he's gonna say, and it just was freaking people out.
Christina: Just gives you that moment of discomfort.
Miguel: Yeah. It's like, is he gonna kill me? What's going on here?
Christina: I was watching a behind the scenes segment I found on YouTube that went behind his final scene.
Christina: I'm trying not to spoiler again.
Christina: His final scene and it was very, what's the word, a lot went into it. And not only that, the final, final scene, they did in 19 takes. After they finished the first take, everyone's clapping, Woo! We got it!
Christina: We got it! And then the director, Vince Gilligan, was like, no, that was not even close to perfect. And you could see the people around him like, oh, oops. So, every take they did after that, everyone was so quiet because they just wanted to see if he's okay with it, since they thought the first one was great. And even he was like, you know, when you do like two or three is not a big deal. Maybe five or six is you're starting to get there. And he's like, once you get into the teens, something ain't right. He said that he was getting nervous, like at 17, then at 18. And then finally 19 it's like, all right, we got it. 19 is pretty wild though.
Christina: But it worked because it's a very memorable scene. It's definitely one of those, historic moments in TV.
Miguel: Yes. It is, 'cause I remember when it happened initially, my reaction was just, goddamn.
Miguel: Like, this is what we're doing?
Miguel: But, yeah, it's a lot.
Christina: It is.
Miguel: That's all I can say, it's a lot.
Christina: Yeah. You know, a lot of actors will have that one role, that everyone kind of remembers you for. Because in an interview he was saying how he was on a plane and he was in line to use the the bathroom and this lady saw him and she just [gasp]. You can go first and he's like, that's fine. I can wait and she's like no, no, no, no, Gus, you can go. He's like, all right, and then he came out and he said she was like pressed up against the wall. And he's just like, you know, it's cool, and she's like, but you just scared me so much. And he's just like, all right.
Miguel: This is a TV show, lady. This isn't who he is.
Christina: Yeah. And she called him Gus. So, that's probably a more extreme reaction, but he's definitely gonna be known as Gus Fring for a long time.
Miguel: Yeah. Yeah, that's not gonna go away, no matter what he does in the future, and he's on some pretty big things right now. He's still gonna be
Christina: He is.
Miguel: He's still gonna be Gus. Gustavo Fring.
Christina: I still want that chicken, though. Didn't they have, like, little pop up shop once or something? Promotion.
Miguel: There were couple pop up events at different places.
Christina: Now where did they get the chicken from, since this is a fake restaurant? Popeyes?
Miguel: I actually looked into it and I don't… it wasn't Popeyes. I don't remember who actually supplied the chicken.
Miguel: But yeah, it popped up a few places.
Christina: All right.
Miguel: Also during this time, he is a recurring character. He's done like four or five episodes on Law & Order, always playing a defense attorney. There's one episode where he didn't play a defense attorney, but for the most part he plays the same character on Law & Order, which is one of my favorite shows, as you know.
Miguel: And I'm doing a rewatch right now waiting for him to pop up in this season, but he hasn't yet.
Christina: Yeah, the funny thing about rewatching Law & Order now is seeing all these familiar faces. Especially, I think, if you were in the New York area and you were coming up as an actor. It's like everybody's been through Law & Order.
Miguel: Yeah. Playing multiple characters too, so it's surprising to see him playing the same one over and over again.
Christina: Yeah, occasionally some people get to play the same character. And this is where he lets those glorious curls hang loose.
Miguel: Yes. He's definitely rocking the curls on Law & Order.
Christina: And he was also in Ali.
Miguel: Yes, he, uh, played Cassius Clay, aka Muhammad Ali's father, in the movie.
Christina: I feel like I watched the movie, but I don't remember much.
Miguel: I've seen it a couple times. My favorite parts, well, pretty much throughout the entire movie is Jamie Foxx, because he plays, what's the guy's name? Bundini Brown, and he's hilarious.
Miguel: He has some of the best lines in this movie. If you haven't seen Ali, you can watch it just to see Jamie Foxx, because we all know that Jamie Foxx is great at everything he does. And this is one of those things where it's just like, oh my god, I can't believe he said that.
Christina: I guess more things for me to rewatch.
Christina: Well, you know, as we're kind of going through these timeframes, obviously we're leaving out a lot of stuff.
Miguel: Yeah, there's a lot of things that he's been in that…
Christina: A lot of stuff. This is just the stuff that we've seen, basically. So—
Miguel: Yeah, like you said, it's been like 50 plus years since he did his first gig.
Christina: So, we're definitely missing a lot. So, we're just highlighting some of the things that we know and love.
Christina: So, we're gonna move on to the next timeframe, I guess, which is the 2010s to present.
Christina: Better Call Saul, spinoff of Breaking Bad is during this time.
Miguel: So, he's playing Gus again.
Christina: Yes. So, he's playing Gus again. The thing about Better Call Saul, if you don't know, is this is the stuff that comes before Breaking Bad. So, we started watching it, we're a couple seasons in, but we need to finish it. But what I wanted to say was, in another interview I saw him in, he said in his opinion, he actually thinks it's better if you watch Better Call Saul first, before watching Breaking Bad because—
Miguel: Yeah. I can see that because even though he's playing the same character—
Christina: This is the beginnings.
Miguel: Yeah. And it's a little bit different. He's not fully formed Gus yet.
Christina: Right. Because he was saying how the way he approached how he played Gus Fring in Better Call Saul was to kind of like, go backwards with where he is in Breaking Bad. So, it's been long enough since we've seen Breaking Bad that I think by the time we finish Better Call Saul, we could probably just go back to Breaking Bad.
Christina: So, I looked it up and I was like, what? It started in like, 2008 or something?
Miguel: That sounds about right.
Christina: And I'm like, it's been that long?
Christina: That's crazy.
Miguel: Time passes.
Christina: Yeah, so what we've seen of Better Call Saul has been pretty good. I really want to finish it and I think it's worth a watch if you haven't started.
Miguel: Yeah, and it's a completely different vibe from Breaking Bad.
Christina: Not only his character, but... We get to see the origins of, Saul.
Christina: And it's a very different seeing how he began, because he's a totally different person.
Miguel: Yes. So, I would recommend watching that show as well.
Christina: Yeah, I watched him in the, The Maze Runner series, because I realized that I tend to watch a lot of these young adult novels turned to movies, or just young adult movies in general, and I don't really know why, but I guess you don't really need a reason.
Miguel: You don't.
Christina: So, he's not in the first of the series, but he's in the, the last two movies. It's something to watch if you are into, like, Hunger Games and stuff like that, then, watch it.
Christina: He is Jorge, and he's just, um... it's just these dystopian young adult movies, where…
Miguel: I know nothing about it, so…
Christina: Teenagers are being experimented upon, and then they have to fight for their lives, and yeah, like I said, if you like Hunger Games, then go watch the Maze Runner series.
Miguel: Well, since you put it that way.
Miguel: We're experimenting on teenagers.
Christina: Okay, since I piqued your curiosity. So, the first movie starts with a bunch of teenagers being dropped off into some barren wasteland, and they just have to fend for themselves. And then they come to find that they're basically stuck in a maze.
Christina: And they have elected, you know, a couple guys to run through the maze to try to find their way out, hence Maze Runner, and then they come to find out that it's more than just being stuck in a field, and trying to run through a maze, and it's an experiment.
Miguel: Yeah, cause you know I like this dystopian stuff and I'm a fan of like, kids and teenagers not being off limits.
Christina: But see…
Miguel: Because I like all the Korean zombie movies and stuff like that.
Christina: See, it's different from the Korean and Japanese movies because they don't care.
Christina: Like, what's the first one that we watched?
Miguel: Battle Royale.
Christina: Yes, it's, it's nothing like Battle Royale. It's way tamer than Battle Royale.
Miguel: Okay. Well, I don't expect many things to be like Battle Royale.
Christina: But yeah, it's, more like, Hunger Games.
Miguel: I will check it out.
Christina: Yeah, so you won't see him until the second and third movie though.
Miguel: Okay. He is also in Far Cry 6.
Christina: I have no idea what that is.
Miguel: I know you don't, but maybe some of our listeners do. It's a video game.
Miguel: He plays... He's kind of a Fidel Castro-type dictator, and yeah, I can't say much more than that because that would spoil it, but it's a very good game, I liked it.
Miguel: Plays Anton Castillo, and just based off of the names that we've given you throughout what we've been talking about here, he plays a wide range of ethnicities.
Christina: Yes. That's what happens when you're—
Miguel: He's Black, he's Italian, he's Hispanic…
Miguel: I don't think he's played Asian yet.
Miguel: Not that I've seen.
Christina: He's not that kind of beige.
Miguel: It's possible that he has and we've just missed it, but if you've got some brown in you, he could play it. I can see him being Filipino in a movie. He can pull off Filipino.
Christina: Well, on, Homicide, he actually got to play what he is which is Italian and Black.
Christina: But he's definitely played a lot of Latino characters. But yet another interview, he said when he was starting out, he felt like he kept getting typecasted into Black characters, and then he realized with how he looks and how he styles his hair, he can expand that, and then he started to learn doing like a Spanish accent, which kind of led into these Latino roles.
Christina: Just to, I don't know, I guess, help him get more work and more varied work. But then he also said that it got to a point where he didn't want to play like, necessarily play race based characters.
Christina: We've talked about this before, there's a difference between Playing a stereotypical person of color and then playing a character who just happens to be Mexican or happens to be Black because that's what the character calls for. But anyways, even though we talk about how his roles are very varied, there was a period where he felt like he was getting typecasted. However, if we're talking about range, there was a show we had watched before a couple seasons of, Once Upon a Time.
Christina: Which is based on fairy tales and he played the magic mirror that you see from Snow White slash the genie from Aladdin is his character so if you don't know the show it's basically like…
Miguel: Fairytales come to the real world.
Christina: Yeah so there are people in the real world, but they're actually also fairy tale characters.
Christina: So, he plays like—
Miguel: So, there's some crossover between the real world and the fairytale, tale world.
Christina: And some crossover between fairy tales too, if he's playing a genie slash the magic mirror. So, talk about range.
Miguel: And in the real world, he plays like, a reporter.
Christina: A reporter. Yep.
Miguel: Or an editor of newspaper, something like that.
Christina: Sidney Glass. Yeah, I think it's something to do with the newspaper. So, that's very different from Gus Fring.
Miguel: Yes. So, again, not playing a villain in this one.
Christina: No, he's basically like, he's the...
Miguel: He's a weasel.
Christina: Yeah, he, he, he serves the master, who is, like Snow White's mom, like the Wicked, what is she, like a Wicked Witch? Is she a Wicked Witch? I forgot. Snow White's mom? Oh, no, no, not Snow White's dad's queen. Yes.
Miguel: Yes. Her stepmother.
Christina: I forgot the plots of all these different classic fairy tales. I'm like, Mom? Wicked Witch? I'm getting them all mixed up.
Miguel: The stepmother.
Christina: Evil stepmother.
Christina: So, he basically serves her.
Miguel: Yeah, I don't think we finished that one either.
Christina: We didn't because I think it just got really silly after a while.
Miguel: Yeah, it got a little too wacky towards the end.
Christina: I mean, the premise is already kind of silly.
Miguel: It is, but it started off strong and just kind of faded.
Christina: I mean, if you kind of just want to watch something not so serious.
Miguel: Yeah, exactly. If you want to just zone out and watch something silly, this is it.
Christina: Yeah. Yeah. As we're saying, the premise is real life people melting into the world—
Miguel: Of fairy tales.
Christina: Fairy tales.
Miguel: Something else that we watched and never finished and it ended up getting cancelled, I believe, was Revolution.
Christina: I don't remember that.
Miguel: Yeah, it was another one of these dystopian type of shows where the power in the United States had gone out completely and—
Christina: Oooooh yeah.
Miguel: It was that show. So, he was one of the characters in that as well but we didn't finish it. I think it ended up getting canceled before we could go back to it.
Christina: Ahh. Well, you just started watching Godfather of Harlem. That's been on my to watch list for a while too.
Miguel: And I don't know what took me so long to watch it, because I've had it on my list to watch too. But the last time we were in LA I saw my mom watching it and was like, what is this? And it was pretty good what I saw then. But she was a couple seasons in. And then just starting it a couple days ago, I'm like, why have I been missing out on this? This is great.
Miguel But he's playing Adam Clayton Powell, who is like, the first black congressman from the state of New York. He helped write the Civil Rights Act and helped get that passed. So, he's playing a real historical person. I don't know if Adam Clayton Powell was exactly as he's playing him. Because even though he's a congressman, he's a pastor, he does all these things. He's, he's kind of shady. I'm not going to say he's a criminal, but he knows the criminals, and he runs in—
Christina: He's criminal adjacent.
Miguel: He's criminal adjacent and runs in those circles. So, it's pretty good so far. And like I said, he's playing Adam Clayton Powell. He's got this really weird Southern accent, but he's from New York, which is weird.
Christina: Well, one of the big things that he's done during this period was, the Netflix series Kaleidoscope. It was like, Oh, you could watch the episodes in any order. So, it was kind of, ehhhh, a little bit gimmicky, but I, I don't mean gimmicky in like a bad way. It was, uh, what, eight, episodes?
Miguel: Eight episodes and you can watch them in any order that you wanted to as long as you watched a certain episode last. You can watch the other seven in any order and it would still tell the same story.
Christina: I didn't realize there was one that was supposed to be last.
Miguel: Yeah. The heist was supposed to be last. That episode was supposed to be last, but the other ones you could watch in any order.
Christina: 'Cause I told you to watch the heist one last and you're like, I could watch it whenever I want.
Miguel: Yeah, and because I already knew how it was gonna end. So, I knew what happened at the end of the heist because it was spoiled for me anyway.
Miguel: So, I figure why am I gonna waste my time doing it last? Let me just go ahead and knock that out, and then watch the rest of them in the order that I wanted to.
Christina: 'Cause we started it together and then just didn't finish it. And then I left it for so long that I forgot. So, I just rewatched the whole thing again and I was like, I can't be bothered to try to figure out which one I want so I'm just gonna watch in the order that I see it in Netflix.
Miguel: Yeah, I was just randomly picking, I didn't have any logic behind it.
Miguel: I just did it.
Christina: I think that was an interesting thing to, to make it like that. His acting always, shines through whatever he's in. But the whole series as a whole, I'm like, meh, because, I think a lot of these sort of, like, heist films, like, I guess I kind of find them a little corny.
Miguel: Yeah, you don't watch these kind of things for, like, great plot lines.
Miguel: It's a popcorn flick. Something to entertain you, 'cause they're full of, like, holes—
Christina: Plot holes and tropes that don't make sense. Like, why, why did you do that?
Miguel: Yeah, so some of those things you just gotta look past.
Christina: Yeah and even like I was saying with the tropes, it's like, you've got the person who's like this, and the person who's like that, like everyone has a, it's a very specific character.
Miguel: I liked it. I thought it was pretty entertaining. I'm actually gonna watch it again in a different order.
Christina: Different order?
Miguel: And see if I can pick up on things that I missed on my first watch.
Christina: Definitely, I would say, as you were saying, it's a popcorn flick, don't go in with too much expectations. It's for fun.
Miguel: Exactly, it's going to entertain you for 8 hours, basically.
Christina: Just to kind of see how, how everything turns out.
Miguel: Yes. So, we are coming up on an hour.
Miguel: What would you recommend of all of the things of his that you've watched?
Christina: 1 hour uncut.
Miguel: Yes, it's not going to end up being an hour finished, but what would you recommend from his filmography for our listeners to check out?
Christina: Well, I mean, you gotta say Breaking Bad slash Better Call Saul, since that's like, the thing. Even though he's done so much other stuff, that's just like, the thing that he's gonna be known for. And it's—there's a reason why he's known for that. But if you want something, that's less expected, I really liked him as Buggin' Out on Do the Right Thing.
Christina: I think that might be my favorite.
Miguel: Yeah, that's the one I was going to go with. Do the Right Thing because it's so out of left field. The Buggin' Out character, he's on one.
Christina: And the fact that he has, he's wearing these glasses that make his eyes literally bug out too, it's just like, this is so silly.
Miguel: And he's always on 10. There's no chill with Buggin' Out.
Christina: Like, this man goes to the same pizza place several times a day, and yet there's a scene where he's like, how much is the slice?
Christina: And Sal is like, are you kidding me? And had the nerve to give him attitude like he didn't know.
Miguel: He's the neighborhood shit stirrer. So, that would be my suggestion is to watch Do The Right Thing and see him playing Buggin' Out. All right, do you have anything else you want to add before we sign off?
Christina: As much as there is stuff that we didn't talk about, we've talked about a lot.
Miguel: We did.
Christina: So, I think it's time to close this one out.
Miguel: I agree. So, on that note, thank you again for listening to They Reminisce Over You. We do this every two weeks, so, make sure you come back and join us for our next episode. You can follow us on social media, @troypodcast, on all the platforms, even Facebook. We have a Facebook page as of a few months ago, so, if you want to join us over there you can. We're on X, or Twitter, or whatever you want to call it.
Christina: I still haven't updated the app on my phone.
Miguel: So, it's still Twitter on Christina's phone, it's X on mine, but I'm just going to call it the bird, still. We are on Instagram and Threads as well. Like I said, everywhere, @troypodcast, so follow us just in case one of these things goes down, we're on the other one so you can find us there as well. Make sure to go to troypodcast.com to check out some of our playlists. We'll have a playlist, uh, probably not one for this episode, but we typically do music playlists that go along with the theme of our episodes, so, you can go check those out as well.
Christina: Hey, you could make one for this one. You could do some songs from the movies.
Miguel: Yeah, I guess.
Christina: "Fight The Power" since it's playing throughout Do the Right Thing.
Miguel: "Fight The Power" 32 times like in Do the Right Thing. Also, we have a monthly newsletter that comes out, so go to troypodcast.com/newsletter. I didn't mess it up that time.
Christina: You got it right this time.
Miguel: Uh, like I said, it comes out once a month. It's free, it's very entertaining, so go ahead and sign up for that.
Christina: It's true. Miguel writes it and I just read it. But I read it, like, I get excited when it hits my email, and not just for proofreading, I'm like, ooh, I like this newsletter.
Miguel: So, go ahead and sign up. It's Christina approved. If you want to buy some merch, we have some of that as well. We have a store called Tee Thang. Nuthin' But a Tee Thang. We have t-shirts, hoodies, caps, socks.
Christina: And stuff.
Miguel: Just all sorts of stuff. Home accessories, whatever you want, we got it. We have some podcast branded merch, as well as other things, so go ahead and check that out.
Miguel: That's teethang.com. T E E T H A N G .com.
Christina: You got that right this time, too.
Miguel: I did, "I'm on fire tonight! And the place is looking steamy."
Miguel: Somebody's gonna get that reference if they're listening to it, and I'm not gonna say where it's from.
Christina: I didn't.
Miguel: Anyway, that's a good place for us to sign off. We will be talking to you guys again in two weeks, so, bye!