Hollywood veteran Giancarlo Esposito recently appeared in an episode of the Jim & Sam show on SiriusXM’s while promoting his new drama series Parish on AMC, and the conversation got dark.

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Variety reports that Esposito revealed he was so broke before booking his villainous role of Gus Fring on the iconic “Breaking Bad,” that he briefly considered setting up his own murder, so that his children would receive insurance money from his life insurance policy. Sounds like the logline to a movie but this was very much real. The way Esposito puts it, he wanted his four children to be protected financially from the policy because he was down on his luck. The recognizable actor who has since played roles ranging from Star Wars The Mandalorian to the titular character on his own show, Parish gave this serious thought circa 2008. This was a year before “Breaking Bad” changed his career to astronomical proportions leading to aforementioned roles including “The Boys” on Prime Video to name a few.

When asked on Jim & Sam how he broke out of near bankruptcy, no pun intended, the actor said, “My way out in my brain was: ‘Hey, do you get life insurance if someone commits suicide? Do they get the bread?’ My wife had no idea why I was asking this stuff. I started scheming. If I got somebody to knock me off, death by misadventure, [my kids] would get the insurance. I had four kids. I wanted them to have a life. It was a hard moment in time. I literally thought of self-annihilation so they could survive. That’s how low I was.”


“That was the first inkling that there was a way out, but I wouldn’t be here to be available to my kids,” Esposito continued. “Then I started to think that’s not viable because the pain I would cause them would be lifelong, and there’d be lifelong trauma that would just extend the generational trauma I’m trying to move away from. The light at the end of the tunnel was ‘Breaking Bad.’ Esposito ended up playing Gus Fring in an impactful 26 episodes of the highly popular “Breaking Bad,” amassing a cult following for his portrayal. He brought the character back on the prequel series “Better Call Saul” for 34 more episodes.

The long and the short of it was Esposito was in dire straits with real problems but he overcame them, seemingly dealt with his mental health issues that lead him down such a dark path and is a highly successful actor who can talk about this darkness. Guessing at the least he is sharing a cautionary tale, and if you need help just ask because you never know how things can turn around. For Esposito, he kept working. Kept fighting and now he’s undoubtedly a star who’s past that dark chapter in his life. Good for him.