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All right, let's do this, how are you? What the fuck is what the fuck buddies? What the fuck next? What's happening? I'm Marc Maron. This is my podcast, WTF. Welcome to it. Welcome back. How's it going? So, I don't know. I'm recording this a couple of days ahead of time because I'm about to head up, up and out.
I'm heading up into the hills, through the desert, up into the the wild, going to tap into the big frequency and see if it's got any notes for me.
Got to tap into the big frequency, the space. I got unmediated big frequency. I'm ready to do it. I don't know what that means. I just got to get out. I've been on the same. So we've been in the same house running around the same five mile radius for the last five or six months. And I got a little opening here, got a few interviews in the can. My cat's gone. The one that needed constant attention.
My girlfriend's gone. The one who I loved more than anyone.
And now I'm free to be alone and all of that darkness.
So I'm going to go out I'm going to go out into the light, into the plague infected light and see if I can get a little bit of reprieve, a little restorative connection to the big frequency with or without all the malignant static. You know who you are. You know who the malignant the malignant Statik people are transmitters of malignant static.
I don't know what I'm looking for. I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm just going to spend some time alone, I guess, in a familiar place that I love. I don't know if I'm going to try to meditate. I don't know if I'm going to try to write. I don't know if I'm going to do a sugar detox. I don't know if I'm going to lose my mind. I don't know if I'm going to get the plague.
There's so many options. I don't know if I'm just going to fade away up there and disappear, head out into the Jeremiah Johnson. It it's hard to do the Jeremiah Johnson. No. One.
It's not it's not snowing, man.
So that's the plan. I don't know what it'll achieve.
I just know that I've got to do some big thinking around some very specific things.
And I, I want to do it with a little space. I just want to give you a heads up.
Look, man, this is I'm recording this two days early. All of Los Angeles could be burned away while I'm out on the road. Buster could be a little fried chicken in there.
All the books and records and documents and proof of my existence in the material plane could be burned away because the states on fucking fire and I'll be driving through fires.
I don't know. I know that every day we're all driving through fires. Right? Huh. Malignant static and whatnot.
Maybe I'm thinking about bringing some meditation books with me to kind of figure that out.
I just read a couple of sentences of one of these meditation books that have been sitting around, you know, for years.
And it was sort of like it made a new kind of sense to me, this idea that there's levels of depth and that it's always there to tap into once you develop a relationship with it.
The big frequency, the universal hum, that's what I'm gunning for, John Carlo Esposito or Esposito, as he will correct me when I talk to him, Giancarlo Esposito, or as you know him as Esposito is on the show today, you know him from do the right thing. The usual suspects Breaking Bad. Better call Saul a great actor and a great conversation.
And he's live he lives in my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, because that's where they shoot saw better call Saul.
So I'm not going to ramble on.
And I and I hope I'm not sounding too negative. I hope you're holding up. I hope your kids well. I hope your health as well.
I hope, you know, you're you're hanging on to some sense of reality, whatever that is for you, and that it's OK. And I'm trying to keep love alive, trying to open up the heart.
I'm just going to I'm not going away for long. I'm just going up into the hills and tap into the big frequency in the universal hum. Step away from the malignant static. Try to get the heart fuckin open, try to let it cry and see if I can see through some stuff, see myself through it, see myself on the other side of things, bring back some information that will be useful. I'm going to fucking outer space, God damn it.
And I'm going to do it without drugs. Ayahuasca is just tripping balls. Everybody thought that there is a key to the universe in acid, too. All right, just because there are indigenous people involved does not mean it's anything but tripping balls.
Anyway, I'm doing it straight. I'm going to go I'm going to I'm going to Link-Up. Going to hook up just with the basic equipment with no other juice data. Right on this is not malignant static.
So Giancarlo Esposito, Esposito's you know him as a double Emmy nominee this year.
Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series for better call Saul, an outstanding guest actor in a drama series for the Mandalorian and I and I.
And you will be listening to me. Talking to him coming right up.
Here we go. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Look at you, not even a trimmed beard, no, not even a trim beard, just go and let it be the way it is.
Try to be natural for once as long as my beard has ever been in my whole life.
Are you surprised by the by the beard in any way?
I'm surprised a lot. By the beard or. Great question. Yeah. Yeah. Look, I've got all these weird tops and my kids tell me, well you got a problem here and you got a problem here. You know, it's a lot going on, you know, and I can almost I can braid these.
Yeah. Look freaky.
I'm glad we're not taking the video.
So, you know, it's a little weird because this piece here, you know, you start eating my beard, you know what I mean?
You know, I got I got my mustache gets a little crazy. And, you know, when you have the the gray hairs, you have no control over them. That's right. This is the new world. This is the new world.
I, I don't know how much I like it, but it's certainly giving me a bit of an education, if I can only remember the different platforms and all the different ways we try to get this done. But yeah.
What have you been doing? I have been gardening, which has been a great thing. I have an overabundance of tomatoes. I've also been doing a ton of Zoome calls. I've done a podcast, a book on two books on tape, two or three podcasts as well. And then I was able to have a lot of fun with one of my daughters shooting the hosting duties I had for the Broken in the Bed, which is a new AMC digital show that follows real life breaking Bader's.
And so they asked me to join and do all of the hosting duties and I was supposed to come to New York and shoot it there and a 10 hour stretch over a couple of days and pandemic hit. So I suggested to them, look, let me let me you know, I'll do it as a voice over in my library and we'll do it that way. And then they sent me the material and the material was so rich and so full and the visuals were so wonderful, real life people who have joined the ranks of those who break bad and live on the edge.
And so I called them back and I said, I don't feel comfortable doing a voiceover because it's not going to elevate the material which you've already shot. I'd be much more comfortable if we had the ability to just go shoot it and they scratch their heads and they said, are you willing to do that during the pandemic? I said, my daughter is sixteen. She's a very wonderful filmmaker and we speak the same language, but she knows the equipment. They said, we'll send you a camera package.
They did. We went out in the desert in different places around town in Albuquerque, New Mexico, because that's where I've been hunkering down. And we shot the most fantastic footage for this particular show. So I've been boogying. I've been working. I grew up in Albuquerque. Did you really? So you know it well? I do.
I grew up in the North West Valley off of Real Grand Boulevard down by Montana, where they have a freeway now. But it didn't used to be that way. Used to be a herd of buffalo down there that a local doctor had. Kate had, you know, in a corral and yeah, I grew up down the road. Loves Poblano, says the.
Are you kidding me? Of course I do write that family I've known for all my life I live.
If you go keep going straight on real grand instead of bear. Right, you go straight past those poblanos down that street is where I lived.
Oh my goodness. They make some incredible lavender out there and incredible, incredible products at local Alamos.
We shoot out there. The twister's, which doubles for us, is most popular. Romanos Gus's place. Yeah. Is right out there in the valley as well. So I'm familiar with that area from shooting quite a bit of Breaking Bad and better call Saul out there.
I spent most of my high school years at the Frontier Restaurant.
He met my second kid, came out to see me and it was late and she's getting in and we're hearing she says, Hey, let's go to Frontier. Yes, it oh, come on.
She's like, yeah, frontier is great. We used to sit there for hours.
Yeah. Pretty fabulous room and gives you enough space to sort of be with four or five people and hang out and. Yeah. Kind of relaxed right across from unem. Yeah.
Yeah I had yeah. I had a job right across from UNAM when I was in high school.
It had a bagel place. It's gone. Yeah man. I mean I know that place.
I've, I've often thought about going back next week I'm going to head up to Taos for a few days.
I don't even know why my dad's still in Albuquerque actually. Wow. I should probably stop and see him.
You may want to do that if you have a good relationship with him, you know. Well, anyway. There's there's the catch, but, yeah, I get I know, I love to use I go up there as well. Yeah. Where do you stay? I stay in the name Karalee Baba Osram when I go there.
Are you a Buddhist? No, no. I study yoga and there's it's a yoga joint. OK, ok. We've done it since I've been there.
But Neame was one of the he was a, you know, a really wonderful yoga saint and one of his followers really dedicated and built that Ashmont there ramdas so I like to go up there and stay there and do my Savea in the morning, my chanting meditation, then go skiing and then come back and be quiet, meditate the evening.
That was my schedule ten years ago when I was doing Breaking Bad. If I had a weekend I go be quiet up there at the ashram. Other than that I don't know where to stay anymore, but I'm, I'm destined to go up there because it's a very peaceful environment. Yeah.
I haven't been up there since I was a kid, really. And, you know, it's been a rough few months here with some personal issues and loss.
And I just felt like I could go, you know, spend time in the country that I grew up in. There's something about going back to where you come from, especially if it's beautiful, like northern New Mexico. And just tapping into the landscape, I think will be restorative.
How long has it been since you've been there to touse cheese? I don't know. I've been to Albuquerque. I usually go to Albuquerque once or twice a year, but. But twice I think it's been since I was a kid, really. I was up towards Abiquiu. I went to Georgia O'Keeffe's house not too long ago, but it's been a while. Maybe I'll drive through Espanola, see the lowriders. Yeah.
So I was there over last weekend at the Sikh gurdwara in Espanola. A buddy of mine plays the tabla and and he was invited to play on Sunday morning. And so I was there last Sunday. I do know that there is a different side of Espanola, which is the lowriders. And and obviously there's a rough element that exists there. But it's a beautiful area to suck as formula. Yeah, you probably really need it. And I'm going to bless your trip for you, because, you know, when you're in a place that is completely surrounded by tall buildings and cavernous landscape that reverberates and the vibration of noise and sirens and, you know, all of those, the emotional feeling, I imagine you're in New York.
I'm in Glendale. You're oh, you're in Glendale, California. You're there. You're all right. You got a little sad. Come on.
Don't be complaining to be the one that's beautiful. Yeah, I'm all right. But if you need time to get out in space, you're going to go to the right place. You know that already, right?
Yeah. I'm excited to get into a car, man. It's been you. I've been stuck. So you bought a house over there in Albuquerque. You've been there for years.
No, I have not been. You know, I got a house here about a year ago, a little over a year ago. Yeah. And because I couldn't I didn't really want to be staying in a hotel in Albuquerque again for another year or six months of shooting. And I basically bought it with one of my daughters in mind. I have four daughters and my eldest just graduated from she wanted to go to you went in and she didn't, which crushed me back during Breaking Bad because I felt like, oh, I'll be I'll have a chance to be really close to her.
Yeah, she's going to the University of New Haven, but she's since just finished grad school at UConn and moved to Phoenix. And so I had originally bought this house because she loved Albuquerque.
Yeah, she was. I'm here.
And I thought, oh, this'll work out perfectly. I can be here while I shoot, give her the house and you know, after I'm done and because I'm not really a high desert person. And then pandemic hit and I realized, oh, the universe really served me up. Yes. Face. You mean the neighbor. I have some space when you're out in public. It's not like being in California or being in New York. So I'm I'm really very pleased and happy to to be here.
So when did you get involved with all this, like how you have a friend who's a Sikh? I do.
I met them here. I was being honored by the Film Society here years ago at the wonderful and beautiful chemo theater.
Oh, it's great chemo. Yeah. Downtown most beautiful. Yeah.
And, you know, Robert Redford has since moved up to Santa Fe. And I, I, I know Bob for a long time from attending the Sundance Institute back when I was doing their playwright's lab. Wow. And so I was presented with this award by by Redford and I was with my daughter, my youngest daughter, who then was nine years old.
And so we're sitting there and they showed the usual suspects was the film that they chose. And I was sitting in the row and there was this great vibration coming from behind us and I turned around.
And there's like eight people all dressed in white with turbans on his hair, so I went, whoa there.
And I looked at each one of their faces and they had a beautiful vibration. And and that's how I met Sadhguru Mukasa and his family. And his sister was there and cousins were there and they were all in white. And I turned to Ruby. I said, Ruby, what a great vibration right behind us. Turns out they had sponsored part of the event. And and so and they're very musical people. I love music. They play the harmony and the tabla and chant and sing and they're very happy.
And so they have a presence in. Espanola is the largest Sikh community outside of India. The largest Sikh community in America is in Espanola.
So they have a how are you hearing. Yeah, which I didn't know that either.
So when did you get sensitive to the vibrations? Was this always with you? You know, I have. It makes me think of my mom who was a spiritualist.
How did that manifest?
She grew up in the Baptist Church, OK? She played the piano in Oregon, as did her mother before her. And so she had a sense of worship that was definitively different than any other. I was raised in the Catholic Church that she married an Italian man who turned out to be an agnostic in Rome, Italy.
So that's another part of my faith. OK, so let's let's let's track it back. So you grew up in Rome?
I grew up in Rome. I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. Really grew up in Rome to a father who was from Naples but who migrated to Rome. He worked in the Opera House. He traveled all over Europe and he worked in the Opera House in Naples with his father at La Scala.
This crazy this sounds like it sounds like like a DiCicco film.
Yeah, it kind of is. You know, the stories of my dad and his father who were you know, this was a time where Mussolini was in Rome and they were they hated the communists and my my father's father store. So if, you know, Milan is a small town and there are six operas.
Twenty six twenty six basic well known operas.
So there's twenty six sets that have to be stored somewhere. And that's what my father and grandfather, they would store the operas when they bought in La Boheme. They move, they'd go to a warehouse, they take out the La Boheme set and they would install it in our Scala until Mussolini came and wanted to hear opera. And my grandfather hated him. Yeah. So he could go off on binges of drinking and they would have to find Esposito. So my name is Giancarlo Esposito.
My complete name is John Carlo Joosep Alesandro Esposito in our country, America, we call it Esposito. Right.
But it's really nice. So that's the New York pronunciation. That's the New York pronunciation. ESPOSITO Yeah. ESPOSITO Yeah.
You know, I grew up with Phil and what was the brother's name? Dave. The hockey players, right?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. From Boston. Yeah. So, yeah. So, you know, look, my, my my grandfather one day he was arrested several times for drinking, you know, in Italy were very demonstrative and they'd scream out the window when the communist Mussolini troops were going up and down the street, my grandfather would get drunk and curse words at him and he'd be in jail. And this happened numerous times. And he it was known that Mussolini loved opera.
So the last time it happened, he wound up in front of a firing squad. And Mussolini is calling all of his, you know, generals to find where's Esposito? Because he wanted to see a new opera and they finally find the phone rings in the nick of time and hello.
Whereas Esposito, it's like, oh, wait, wait, wait, because they've got to pull the trigger and shoot him. Yeah. And he says, we got him here. He's almost dead. It's a no, no, no, no, don't kill him.
And that was my grandfather's trump card. And my father hung out with him and until finally and they got him out of jail, sobered him up. He bought the opera and everybody was happy and they didn't they slapped his hand, but they didn't kill him because he knew where all the operas were. And finally, he and my dad escaped to the mountains and fought with the resistance.
They fought with the resistance, but with the resistance.
Yeah, they hated the communists. They hated the fact that Mussolini was so close to Hitler and Mussolini was a postman. Yeah, that's true. That was his gig. You know, he was a civil servant, right. Who became a dictator. And, you know, obviously very much a. Line with Hitler, right?
So that led to my father meeting my mom, my mom, a black woman from Alabama, sung in the church with her mother, played the piano, eventually wound up at Cariboo House in Cleveland, Ohio, which is where the you will be trained to go into the artistic arts, to the arts, to be a singer dancer trained by who I like.
But what do you mean is a school school? Cara was very famous in the 40s and 50s and 60s, and your father had had since moved here.
My father and mother met at La Scala. They were married in Rome and then he got his citizenship and they moved to America.
What was she doing in Italy? Oh oh.
She went over to sing opera. She say, yeah, she sang opera in Milan. And then they went to Rome. She toured Europe with a show called Porgy and Bess Gershwin.
Yes. And she met Saul Herock and Otto Preminger at that time. And she was she was a singer. And she she really wanted to branch out into acting. But all she did was operas and fell in love with my father. And they were married and came back to America. But her her deal was Porgy and Bess went behind the Iron Curtain. It was a show that went all over Europe and was very, very popular. So she was played, Bess, and she alternated the role with Leontyne Price.
And how did you manage to get born in Copenhagen? Well, they they took a little side tour so my mother could perform with another wonderful performer, Josephine Baker. Oh, yeah.
My mother did a supper club act with Josephine Baker. No kidding. Actually got to Denmark and she would perform until she was probably about eight and a half months pregnant. And she had a big hoop dress made to hide the fact that she was so pregnant and she would do her supper club gig on the side when the opera was down.
So so Josephine and her work were doing that wasn't Josephine Baker was mostly in Paris now.
Correct. And they'd correct. They toured with it when she was pregnant. So was it a surprise that you were born in Copenhagen? No.
No, because she had a gig. Josephine had offered her a gig on a split bill. OK, so Josephine did most of her supper club acts on her own, but met my mother and they they fell in love. They were friends. And so my mother would do the act prior to Josephine. So they were living in Denmark at the time. I had a Danish nanny in the whole deal.
So does that mean you have Danish? You can be a Danish citizen?
Well, now it's all the EU. So I could be and I have my Danish birth certificate and I'm currently trying to get my Italian passport because I'm very connected to Italy. I go there every year. I love it. I have a very large fan base there for my work. And so I want to get my EU passport passport through Italy. OK, possible.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's it's sad at this juncture in history that Americans are now the viral garbage people and not the pride of the world. Your passport won't do you much good when you want to run right now, but maybe that'll change. I'm hoping so.
I'm sorry it's taken me so long because I have dear friends in Europe that I'd like to see and I'm not allowed in right now.
One, it is terrible and we're a little bit behind in regard to, you know, protocols for me being able to work there, although that's still open. I know that I could go to the UK and get in. I have a benefit for a dear friend, Beverley Peper, who was a world class sculptor. She passed away last year in Italy. So they they're getting me a five day dispensation so we can go and put Beverley to rest and do a whole thing around her artistic park, Beverley Park, and go to Italy.
So if I go there for five days, I imagine maybe I could stay longer. Do you think they catch me? Sure, exactly.
Maybe a little longer. Like a month or two. Yeah, yeah, I like that.
So did your parents stay together? They were married for 11 years and then divorced. Oh yeah. So they stayed together for a bit of time. But I think my my father was became a bit of the playboy of the Western world being in America. And I think that was very difficult for my mom to swallow.
And where they end up in New York, they ended up in New York. You know, funny story. I stayed at the Sun Myung Moon Hotel. Thirty Fourth Street was it was a Hilton hotel. But if I. Certainly some young moon, the reverend, I remember this. Yeah, yeah, the Moonie Hotel, the Moody Hotel years before. So that's where I came to America on the QE two on a boat. And that at Forty Third Street and 12th Avenue.
How old were you? I was five years old. Huh.
So now coming back around to the vibrations. So your mother was a spiritualist from the Baptist tradition.
But as you got older, it sounds like that the life was sort of expansive and artistic and creative.
So where did she land with this spiritualism that enables you to to sort of do your searching without any being tethered to any Judeo-Christian tradition, seeming seemingly of a mass confusion?
Mark, I have to tell you, you know, she my feeling is that she was searching to be some kind of leader or teacher. So she obtained two different diplomas from mail order churches.
And because she she did this, I realized that she really wanted to be someone who kind of passed on a spiritual essence to people.
And so I remember we eventually wound up in Westchester County in a place called Elmsford, New York, and she put a sign on the door that that said a place of light continuing. And she would have little Sunday morning services for some of the neighbors, right? And so I picked up the the feeling from her an alternative way to worship. I went to all Catholic schools as a boy. And was that your father's choice?
What was that about?
That was my mother's choice, because she had two boys that were unwieldly and she was concerned about teaching us how to be gentlemen.
So she put us away in a military school. So you got a younger brother? I've got one older brother. Older brother, OK, one year, one year older than myself.
OK, so I went to a Catholic military school. Oh, my God. Yeah. And really wanted to get out of being beaten by the prefixes. I loved the military part of it. I loved marching, learned how to shoot, carry a gun, learned how to twirl the gun. The whole nine yards put put corners on my bed, spit shined shoes every day. But the one thing that saved me was I could get up at 5:00 in the morning and go prepare the mass for the priests.
And that was a way for me to escape sort of the, you know, military school was, you know, one big, huge dormitory room with, you know, 40 beds in it. And you're very close to other people and you have no business of your own.
Well, that's interesting that that's where that came from, because I didn't know.
It seems to me that that that education or that discipline had a profound influence on the way you approach acting.
It truly did. And it truly still does.
Because I was wondering, you know, when I watch Guss, where I watch older stuff of more so Guss because like, you know, I've I talked to I talked to Cranston years ago, but he's a very practical actor.
You sort of meat and potatoes kind of come through the studio system because his dad sees it as sort of a job, utilitarian job and has an approach.
But like when I'm watching you.
Because I was wondering, and I'll be honest with you, I thought, OK, well, this is Gus and this is the way the rest of this guy's work goes. But for some reason, because of Gus, I'm like, I don't know where this came from. This, this, this, this method he has. But either he had an alcoholic parent or there's some other solution, like I didn't know where the control came from.
So interesting. You're very astute, Mark, so, you know, look, my mother became a home store, front, house, front reverend, probably to save her from her alcoholism. Oh, really? OK, yeah.
So, you know, she she liked to kill her pain and she used alcohol for that. And so you hit you hit upon something there. My my discipline in my life came from understanding that if I was disciplined, I would be able to do something more with my life. Right. And being a creative artist was a difficult thing back in the day when I was in New York, because, see, I'm when I shave all this off, you know, I.
I am. I'm fairly light skinned, my brother's a little lighter than I am, but. My name is Giancarlo Esposito, people wonder they always wanted to place me as being Spanish, not Sicilian, not Sicilian, but that was acceptable to them.
A black Italian wasn't really known.
We had like what Franco Harris football player who was mixed. So I had to find my place outside of all that. And I literally learned how to act black. I learned how to do the shuck and jive so I could get work until I realized, well, what about who I really am? Right. Where does where does that play into what I do and who I am in this business? I remember shunning playing hoodlums for a long time. In the beginning, that's how I got work.
I play I could pick up a Spanish accent and be, you know, that was before Spanish actors were allowed to play themselves. And so that's how I picked up the Spanish and played into it, learned some Spanish, picked up some Spanish because I could play that character well and I could play it in a threatening or non-threatening way. So I had to shoehorn myself into the business. I was on Broadway young age, Mark. I did. Let me see 13 Broadway musicals back to back when you were a kid, when I was a kid.
Did your I guess because your mother was an entertainer at one point, so the support was there. How do you get from, you know, your childhood into Broadway? How how did what was that?
You know, I went to audition for an agent, Ernestine McLendon. My mother wasn't getting any support financially from my father. There was pressure to make money. I was sitting at home watching Gigantor.
You may remember that show, right? Yeah, I was.
Gigantor on a commercial comes on and my brother and I scratched our heads and went, wow, I when I could do that. And I was a little white kid on the on the commercial. Yeah. And my mother took us to an agent who then recommended we do voiceovers so that we couldn't be seen that it wouldn't because I had very good diction. But she the agent thought oh what a great opportunity, they won't know whether you're black or white or what color you are.
That was fortunate because you were having a hard time with it. That's exactly right. That's really the truth. Why?
I started working for Ray Fowler at RCA and, you know, dubbing things like one of the very first black commercials was a commercial for Tastykake.
And like I was like a pop tart. Right. And the black kid on the screen couldn't enunciate. So they called me in and I dubbed over his voice. And I had been doing this for a couple of years. And that's when I went, wait, there was a black person on the screen. Wait, why can I be on the screen? Yeah, and that's when it changed my whole hetero. Right.
So that's it's very interesting to be in this kind of nebulous quest for identity in your personal life and yet and also in the business, because you had a certain amount of versatility, you just had to wrangle it that like, you know, once you accepted that you could move through the spectrum of at least Spanish, Italian and black, you know, it gave you a lot more opportunity, I would think. It certainly did.
And it gave me a lot more of self investigation as well. Because, you know, if you go back in my career, this was the beginning of and I think that's the through line.
Yeah. Always that I've had this incredible opportunity to look at myself and to be proud of who I am as both a green and black. When you're in the black neighborhood and the rough cats are approaching you and they say, why do you talk like that? You know, you have to try to how do you explain that? What you're.
Well, why do you enunciate? Why do you enunciate? Why aren't you running on with your sentences? You know, you're not hip, you're not cool. You're not the you're not that guy that you kind of look like. So you're misrepresenting yourself. Yeah. And then I move on to go to an all Italian and black high school where none of the blacks accepted me. None of the whites accepted me except me either. My best friend became a Jewish kid named Paul Budish, who it didn't matter what color I was, although he would always mispronounce my name.
He called me Jean Harlow and my mom and I say, Why the ma ma ma call? Wow. Look at your look at your skin. Ma, ma, ma, you're bad, you're black.
And then I went on to work with Spike Lee. You know who I didn't have to convince that I was black, but who always had questions that were inspiring about my black. But you did.
But you did a lot of work before that in smaller roles, right. A ton of work. Yeah. Where you did there. A range of black characters.
Yes. And but that's so that's the interesting thing.
I didn't realize you were in Taps until I saw that today. That movie was a very odd movie for a lot of young actors. Absolutely. A lot of people came out of there.
I don't I don't remember how big your part was, but but at least you had some experience, probably more than the rest of them in military school.
I did. And I don't know how big my part was, Mark. I was hard to miss. I was the black guy.
Black guy, Captain J.C. Pierce, very, very interesting that so many wonderful actors came out of that film. I developed a friendship with George C. Scott on that film. I had to kind of exposures to him on Broadway.
I was trying to work. I could do an impression of him.
He had a very kind of like he he always sounded like he was about, you know, like there was this intensity that kept coming. Yeah. Really good.
I'm getting I'm working on it.
It's a it's a very I don't do impressions, but for some reason he I've never heard one before and he had such a specific way of of yelling.
He did. Yes, he did. So what was your relationship with him? Well, I was doing a seesaw which opened the Urist theater, and there were there were two other theaters within that Urus complex and he was doing Uncle Vanya. And so we were his play was rehearsing, as was mine. And so during rehearsals, we had a chance to go see his dress rehearsal. And then he came to see ours.
And I was, you know, that 13 year old child, Broadway star who was being interviewed by Louisa Kreisberg of the Ginnette newspapers in the restaurant, in the complex after the show. And I'm in the middle of an interview. And there is this heavy hand comes up from literally in the middle of being interviewed. Yeah. Comes up behind me, puts his hand on my shoulder.
I turn around. It's George C. Scott is like, I saw you.
I saw you. Yeah, you, you, you. Don't do it now. He was way in the cocktail hour. Don't do it now. And I'm 13.
Dude is looking at this guy like I've seen all of his movies.
You're fantastic, but don't do it, I tell you.
And I went, oh, and and then, you know, he looked around the table. Are you his mother is fabulous. Don't let him do it. Who are you? You're interviewing him? Yeah, he's a star, but he's not going to do it. And then he walks away. Wow. And then he turns around. He comes back. And he whispers in my ear, unless you really have to.
And he walks away and disappears and I realize what he was telling me and I never forgot that because he was telling me that you have to be in it and committed all the way and you and your gifted and you're young enough to have a choice now.
That's right. That's right. That's right, and he wanted me to know and to be sure and to question myself as to whether that choice was right for me. So cut forward four or five years later.
That was my star moment with George C. Scott. Yeah, I get called. You know, look, I. I realized in my journey, Mark, I was a song and dance man. My mother was a singer. She knew Pearl Bailey. I knew Ben Vereen went to see Pippin. I wanted to be, in a way, Ben Vereen. But then I started to realize that African-Americans, black people, as we call ourselves now, we were the entertainment and I really wanted to move people from one place to another.
Yeah. I didn't want to live by my color and just live by doing black shows. And so I started to do plays because I felt like they were really important part of my growth.
So. Oh, so you're saying as a younger man, you were a song and dance man.
That's and that when you had that realization, it was not a a proactive realization was really sort of like, OK, well, I am a song and dance man, but I don't need to stay a song and dance man.
I wanted to make a move. I wanted to make a move to a place where I could be looked at more seriously and and have the opportunity to explore a craft that really was a craft retraining.
I was training. I worked at the I trained at the Actors Institute with two wonderful teachers, Dan Foushee and David Kagin. I didn't do I didn't overtrain, but that was my acting. Cutting my teeth in the acting school were.
And then I started doing extra work because I wanted to learn about the camera and what was that about? What was what was this inanimate object that was film. And I was doing extra work and I got called to do a movie called The Change Later. And there was a scene in Lincoln Center outside. And guess who starred in that movie? George C. Scott.
That's a weird movie and it's a weird movie. You know, a strange one. It's like a horror movie, right?
It's a weird horror movie. The weird horror movie. Yeah.
And, you know, this is a number of years later and before taps and he breathes by me without even knowing who I was or recognizing I was crushed.
Did you want to yell? I'm doing it. I decided to do it. Of course I did. You know, it's me. Don't you recognize me? Yes. That was a missed opportunity, but a great opportunity to be in his presence. And then taps came and then we were able to reconnect that he went, oh, oh, it's you. So you did it. You didn't take my advice. You did it.
Anyway, I went I I'm impressed that he remembered telling you that he he did.
And maybe and then I got a chance to speak to him about where I had come from, how his story affected me, and how maybe this wasn't the right thing to do. Is his former wife, Colleen do hers? Yeah, it be my first theatre world award. Oh, wow.
I was able to say, look, I started to do some straight drama. And Colleen, I won the Theatre World Award for a piece that I did at the Negro Ensemble Company called Zuman, and the sign by Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Fuller. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Soldier Story.
So that's my little George C. Scott. He affected my life because of his forcefulness. Yeah, his attitude. He was serious. He was a serious, serious, serious chess player. I never forget on TAPS. He had a four page monologue and never had the sides or a paper in his hand ever. And he came out and he did a rehearsal of the monologue, four pages to the cadets, which I'm one Sean Penn, Timothy Hutton. All of us are standing in front of him and every single time he did the monologue.
When he got to a certain place, he take his hat off, he touches the breast medals on his breast plate, he would he did it exactly the same every single time. And so I followed him in between takes because I wondered if he was going around the corner to study as long as what he was doing. I followed him and he would go back to where the 18 wheelers were, camera truck. And there was a chess board set up in two chairs and one cat sitting there.
He'd go right back to his chess game and play chess. And I had this to do this.
He was his his his brain. He was like a steel drum. He was such a consummate performer. And I was really quite amazed at that, how he could remember all that. And not only that, remember what what his continued.
Right. His choices were. Yeah. Specific continuity choices. Right. I feel like he was very hard on himself. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't think you are wrong. I think he took on an amazing and amazing pressure to be, I would say good. But I don't think it's good. I think it's original. I think it's an amazing pressure to be in his own skin. I think that's why he never stopped drinking. I think it's why he never stopped smoking, because I think that was an intrinsic part of who he was.
Yeah. And yeah. Like and and who he was was he was always in the middle of that fight with himself. So.
So you're kind of entering that intensity. I'm here. Yeah.
You're doing his his battle, his war. That's a really great way to put it because I, I don't know why.
Because a few months ago I got it.
I got to watch all the George C. Scott that's available because I don't know when why that stuff hits you.
Because he was always a I remember seeing Payton when I was very young, but there was something about the authenticity of just everything about him.
Like there was no denying that guy.
And I don't know why it popped in my head relatively recently to to to revisit it. But it was really intense, man, because there's not there's not a ton of shit. You know, he he could have done more, but he did he did a handful of things. But there's not a huge filmography there.
No, no, there's not. And I feel like he was a guy who really lived it. Yeah. And, you know, there's something about, look, I came from the song and dance world and what does that mean?
You're doing musicals, musicals, Broadway, musical. You know, there were some drama there. And certainly I the drama is overextended because you've got to reach the last scene. And the turning point in my life was going to audition for TAPS while we're on this movie for a casting director long gone white. So respect and admire Shirley Rich.
And she called me in. I went to audition for this piece and she was very kind. I finished reading the copy and she took her time and was thoughtful. And in her thoughts, she then uttered John Carlo. You I don't know how to say this, but I want to say it as graceful as I can. You need to learn how to act. And I was sat back in my seat. Let me let me rephrase that you're you're acting for the last row and I know I've seen you on Broadway, but you need to learn how to act for film.
And I said, OK, to me, how do I do that?
Go do some plays, go do some straight drama. And I went and did Hedrick's resettlement and I went and did Zumanity, the sign for which I won my very first Obie award. Wow. With the company and granted I didn't get the part in the movie and a year had passed and I got a phone call from my agent that said, Shirley Rich wants to see you. I was like so excited because I would have a chance to redeem myself for not having gotten this other part and show her that I did have chops and then I did know how to act.
Because it comes from inside your gut and they said, well, it's from a movie called Taps. I said, well, then they shot that movie. I didn't get that movie. She said they said, no, it was postponed a year. And she really wants to see you again for it.
Mark, I walked in that room. I just I just was you know, acting is being and I read the part with her again, and she.
Giancarlo, what did you do? I said I did what you told me to do. I did what you told me to do, unlike not doing what George C. Scott told me to do. And she said, what was that?
I said, You told me to go do some play. So I've been doing a play. I did a play called Who was a Dancer and Settlement of an acting class as another player and doesn't have the sign yet. And I said she said, OK, would you come back at three o'clock and read for with Timothy Hutton and read for Stanley Jaffe, our producer. I walked in, I read, they chased me out of the room. Would you do this role?
I said, yes, and that was the beginning of understanding. And it's back to George again. So George didn't try to do anything. He wasn't you know, he just tried to commit and be real. And acting is doing something real for a purpose, for a reason. What is that reason? The reason is to try to to honor the writer's words and to move your audience from one place to another and to be real and organic. And I think that's what George was.
George lived his life in his own skin. And the older I get more seasons I get, the more I realize no matter what you're doing, you take on the skin of that character and live in that skin like a bellows, breathe in that skin, see through that skin, you know, transform yourself without anyone realizing that you even did that. Yeah. The actors I love that can do that. Or George C. Scott, you know, Gene Hackman, Robert Mitchum.
You know, some actors play themselves over and over and over again. And another actor who I met and really loved his work, Burt Lancaster. I worked with him when I was. You did so at. An American Christmas, it was a piece that was done on the stage on Sixth Street, there was a stage there. It's still there called an American Christmas. Bert was and was in the later part of his life, latter part of his life before he eventually went to Los Angeles and wound up in a nursing home downtown.
And he was a crotchety like George.
George was crotchety. Burt Lancaster was so he was crotchety, didn't want to talk to anybody. You know, he was narrating this piece. And I was one of the black kids that came out and did the songs in between his narration, you know, all that.
And it was filmed. But there was something about me that he must've liked because I was drawn to him, you know, because I. I just wanted I didn't want to really, you know, actors.
We somehow just hate when people young actors come up and they want to just describe Barger with what did you do with this and have to do this very you know, I ask all these questions and, you know, so I looked at them and I, I said, so do you really know how to swim?
And you're the swimmer, Elmer Gantry, you know, and I was really cool about just throwing a little stuff out there. And he said, hey, come come on, come to my dressing room, talk to me. And we talked and I thought he was someone that could maybe pass something down to me, but I liked him. And what I'm I guess I'm leading to is I was drawn to actors who were completely themselves completely comfortable with who they are.
Now, most of us actors are not. That's why we're actors. We're trying to get comfortable in somebody, someone else's skin. We're trying to work through our personality deficiencies, through the characters we play. And he told me that. You think that's true?
I think it's partially true because I think it feels like the better actors aren't that way, but it doesn't mean that they themselves are necessarily that interesting.
So I like the romantic idea of, like, you know, trying to figure out who you are and being afraid of that and having to do it by doing other people.
But it seems like some of the guys who are just great actors, they know exactly who they are. And they're there's not a lot going on there.
You know, I must say that I would agree and I want to name names, but the great a great actor that I met who had no personality.
And I can't wait a minute like I thought a little person I love, like, you know, I think, like, you've got a lot of personality. I, I dig real women, you know. And I went, wait a minute, how, how is he so good.
And then I started to look closer. And I started to realize that many. All of us as actors find a niche and we do it over and over and over again. Oh, yeah. And I realized I started to see the through line in this actor's work, yeah, there was excitement when this actor was young, did some great stuff, and then just kept repeating, repeating, repeating, repeating. And that, to me is not ever something that I aspire to or want to do.
Right. Because then it's just it's just a con game. Yeah. You got to you got to hustle. You know, I guess he's the guy that does the thing.
We let him do the thing.
Yeah, but and a lot of actors, they, they get the opportunity to be on television and television's change when Nicole Major tells it now used to be you got a TV show, you're it's death. And I've been blessed to be able to come in on the tail end of all that. I never wanted to do TV. I want to do theater in the new film. I had to work my way through some soap operas, work my way through a lot of guest spots, and and then eventually get to film and realize that was my opportunity to always play someone different.
That's what that's what allows me to feel like I'm still learning. Oh, yeah.
And well, I think that's definitely clear with you. And also, like, you know, I'm not trying to be condescending about these actors because I think a lot of the a lot of guys you have a lot of space in their actual personality, you know, have room to to sort of they they might actually feel alive through characters. You know, it doesn't mean they're there emotionally, you know, stunted or something.
But but it's just sort of interesting that the people that you mention as being authentically themselves are some of my favorites as well.
Like, you know, Gene Hackman. You don't even know where that comes from, you know, and I feel like you have something similar to him. I read an interview with him once where he said that I don't remember who he was talking to, but he just said, you got to know how to fill yourself up.
Like, you know, that when a scene started, he could it just when you look at him, you like, oh, he's he's filled himself up with whatever that is, you know, but he's still just Gene Hackman. But it's just he's you know, he knows how to fucking fill himself up and.
Yeah. And no matter what he does, you've got to you can't stop watching him.
You know, I watch him eat a sandwich.
Yeah, he he he is one of my favorites. He happens to live up in Santa Fe, I believe, as does a woman who I've had a crush on for my whole life, Shirley MacLaine, who has worked a little bit Downton at Downton Abbey recently, more recently than I think Jean. But Gene's retired, I think. Right. I believe he is retired. Yeah. Do you guys hang out? Do you know him? I don't know.
I would like to know him, he affected my formative years in a major way because he was, as you say, always filled up. That's a wonderful way to put it. And now that I think about it, in many ways, you know, last year I did five TV shows and I was doing better call Saul, very staid, very controlled cat. I read a lot to center myself, drop myself, and I'd be on you.
I wouldn't be in myself trying to figure me out. I would be observant and calm. And, you know, when people are really, really calm, it can be a little disturbing.
Well, that was. So that was your ticket in to Gus? That was my ticket into Gus. But I was also at the same time playing a very a character that's delicious for me. Adam Clayton Powell, senior in a show called Godfather of Harlem about the journey of Bumpe. Elsworth Johnson, a gangster there. Yeah, Adam was a congressman, Reverend preacher, a womanizer. And so I had the opportunity last year to flip it and to put myself into his skin, which in a way is difficult to to play a historical character.
I feel like it's a great responsibility to get that right. Oh, yeah, man.
I just I just talked to Kerry Washington yesterday and I watched her and do Anita Hill and man, did she fucking lock into that shit locked.
And and so that's where I wanted to be with Powell. Yeah. And he had a big larger than life spirit that when you if you I looked at so much material, I read his congressional record. You know, he was a preacher, so a preacher man there, showman, you know. Yeah.
And to have an opportunity to be a showman and was fantastic. And yet to see him, he was also a lawyer and a congressman and he was throwing, you know, his his his personality at the face of the white Dixiecrats during the civil rights movement.
Yeah. And he was vying to speak at the march on Washington.
He had a little scandal in Paris where he took, you know, an assistant and another woman with him. And they accused him of anyway of of using the government's money. He beat that and a bunch of other things because he was really about his his truth was he wanted equality for black people.
But the way he did it was colorful and fun and, you know, interesting. And so to have to play that cat, you know, was a real a blessing for me. Yeah. It helped me realize that, you know, I'm the kind of actor that likes to have fun within the sandbox, whatever that is. Yeah. Whether it's huge and big or small and controlled, it's allowed me the availability to know about history, to travel the world, because after all, you know, I don't just get in there, read the lines.
I'm playing a cop. I'm riding along with police officers for a month before I start the role. So I learn about all these different occupations. I learn about all these different things in our world that I think I would be less likely to know if I wasn't an actor. Yeah.
Oh, for sure. Well, I mean, but that's part of, I think your spirit, you know, that, you know, you're sort of embracing life. You're passionate guy. So that's part of your craft is is is to have these experiences off the screen as you enter the lives of the people that you're going to become.
That's right. I, I never want to do it the same thing over again. And it was a really difficult decision for me to make to move from Gus in Breaking Bad to Gus in Better Call Saul, because I didn't want to repeat.
I think that though I but I feels to me that, you know, if I remember correctly, because I'm watching both both series and I love I love both of them.
But, yeah, it seems to me that that you were able to add another layer of depth to him with Saul.
You know, I hope so. I wanted him to be a little more vulnerable and more hotheaded, not so controlled. Six year. It's years before Breaking Bad so that when you put those bookends together, then you have you see the growth of that character. Both of the shows I've done, Breaking Bad was about Walter White's journey. Better call. Saul is about Jimmy McGill, Saul Goodman journey. So I realized my place within the hole. And who knows, maybe we'll get an opportunity to be able to do the rise of Gus in a limited edition.
After all, these are OK.
So let's talk, you know, to to kind of bring it back around in a through line there.
So what was it about your relationship with Spike that helped you sort of come to terms and define your your yourself, your blackness or whatever those conversations were, you know?
Spike asks questions that are leading and allowed and asked me, look, if we had a war, he would just say, hey, we had we had if we had a race war, what side would you be on your mother's or your father's? Oh, Dr. Jekyll. What side you could take. You go, do you black or white, you know? So he asks you those questions that I said, well, you know. No, no, you would.
Maroon Quadruplet wrote it, right.
So I'm all of it. And it helped me to realize to be proud of all of it.
I'm both. And we're going through a time now in our country with the whole Black Lives movement.
All that's going on right now where I'm again, being asked to choose. And then so I realize now in my growth, it's allowed me to play the Spanish characters. It's allow me to walk into a room with all white guys and have them tell me. Oh. Oh, wow. Oh. Oh, you didn't know I was black? Oh, oh, yeah. We're so sorry, you know, it's allowed me to go. I'm the best of both worlds.
And so where does that leave me? That leaves me without a race or color or home or country. It leaves me as a human being. Yeah. And to me, I always I love my Paul Budish story, my Jewish friends story, because that was the first white boy that accepted me, didn't see my color, joked about it. I hated him for it. Call me Jean Harlow. Wait, are you saying I'm gay? You say I'm a woman.
No, he had fun with it because he felt the outcast too. But he had guts. He was brainy and give a god damn about the Italians in school. He didn't give a god damn about the blacks who would beat on him. Now he had he had his little black buddy who could stand up for him. Yeah.
This cat was you know, he was beyond the beyond because he was able to embrace me. So it took me years and what I learned to spike and working that out, because Spike wants to challenge you to see if you're really real. And I respect him for that, even though the method to me at the time was a little bit different than what I was used to.
He was just challenging me to say, hey, you know, I'm both I'm a human being.
And so for me today, I have mixed children who have been to the marches and asked me about their blackness and have questioned their mothers white privilege. Just I say just by virtue that she's white skin, she has white privilege.
Yes. And why are you tweeting more about this than the other?
And then I got to tell him I met John Lewis. I got to tell him that I've been on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. I got to tell him all the stories of racist actions against me.
And then they wonder. Aren't you angry? I said, yeah, a whole lot, but with an angry black man, I did Jay Leno man, I said I'm an angry black man in Italian skin. So that's your word?
I told you I'm your worst nightmare because I got the pent up anger of being black and I've got the viciousness and the and the energy and passion of a guinea dude from Italy. So stay out of my way. Leave me alone.
And so you.
But but on some level, it seems to me that through your appreciation of vibrations and also your commitment to yourself to to realize yourself in in the shadow of, you know, a mom who had some problems that you have a handle on, on that anger.
And it seems that you tend more towards a different solution.
Absolutely, Mark. I feel like I'm I'm a, you know, a universal student of history in the world. But I also feel like there is a mission beyond my work. And there and there's a through line in my work that should reflect the choices that I've made to take that work. And so I want to be illuminating. We're energy. And I believe this. If we forget about all the spiritual energy, the religious joujou. Yeah. You know, we're 90 percent water.
We're electrical beings were fired in an energetic way. And so I feel like our energy can be good energy if we choose to channel that. And so to hold on to yes, we need justice.
Yes, we need to have all these things not only for black lives, but also for indigenous people and also for Asian people, you know, is to realize the similarities. Now, we're never getting to a point where we're completely comfortable, you know, with some of the cultural parts of what other people do. But why can't we get comfortable with respecting that? So the energy that I want to put out in the world is an energy of inclusiveness.
Right. And that to me is is important because I've lived the other, you know what I mean? Like and that's what gets me like I'm split down the middle. And Spike, help me to look at this as well. Although I've never said these words to him, I've lived both. I go to Italy, man. And it's not that I'm a star, you know, because after all, what is it? What is black or white?
It's not that I'm a star, right? It's that I'm just padulo Esposito. I'm that the fabric of who they are.
And that's what they did. You know, they don't even see me as black. They see me as Italian. They want to start speaking Italian to me. And so do we call. It's the first time I met a guy from from England who was black as night.
And he's like, Hello, mate, how are you from the subject? And I'm like, well, who are you? Like, Yeah, come on, yachts.
You know what I was like, OK, so why don't why don't we call that person in English?
We call them in English. That's why we call them black. He's not black. We're not a color. We're we're we're you know, we prefer that because it's made it easy in our country to delineate from those who have and have not those who deserve and deserve, not those who have. You know, they're entitled in some way, you know. So I feel like, you know, my and look, we have it in our acting family now.
I'm in Tyler this year. I was blessed with two Emmy nominations. I am I entitled to my stamp and actor, you know, like, you know, so I just want to be me. But is me acceptable to you? And that's the question here, you know, I explained to my kids, I get in that car, even though in Albuquerque do make sure my seatbelts on, make sure I have my license and insurance card. And every time a cop rolls by, I have a little luck, you know, and I'm a grown man.
Little flutter. I try to explain to my girls, you know, also the other part of it is, as you know, we're in a wild, wild west here. It's a wild, wild west without a guy to.
Yeah, everyone's cat.
Everyone in their car is packing. So I told my girls, don't talk no shit, you know, like I got three drivers for drivers now. Yeah. They come out OK. Just remember, I just want to give it and I want to scare you. But everyone's got a gun so if you cut someone off. Sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. And your black sister. Your black girl, that's what you know. So these are the things that we have to contend with from what we have lived and created in our society.
And it would be great if those were all gone.
Yes, it would be great. Yeah. I think we're moving to a place where it can be, you know, it's like when I was told years ago something so very simple, Mark, you know, if you're standing with a group of black folks and they tell a Jewish joke and you stand there with them and laugh and you don't say, hey, wait a minute, now, that's not doesn't work for me because my best friend is Marc.
I like Martin. I like the Jews. I've been to Israel.
And, you know, and then you stand in a group of people who talk about the Arab world in a in a in a derogatory fashion. You know, I've been to Mecca. I've been there. You know, I've been to the mosques. I know, you know, a Saudi king. I met Mohammed before he died. So, yeah, I can you know, when my buddy very personal.
I love this guy and he since we were in college and you know, what was that first Iraq, Iran war, whatever had happened. And it came out of his mouth.
So, Gianna, what what are you going to do about these towelheads?
What do you stay in does towelheads. Yeah. You know, and this is my buddy who I thought was progressive and like me. So until we start to understand that humanity is a mixture, you live in a culture like when there are other kinds of people, New York, all kinds of people. But the world is not New York, L.A., Chicago, Austin. The world is, you know, that Midwest, America that has been sheltered from the understanding that human beings, some of them, not all that human beings are human and that we all make lots of mistakes.
It doesn't matter what color we are. We need to have everyone rise in the same boat. And the problem is that certain people in certain areas have been deprived of a certain kind of education. Yeah.
And now they're you know, there's a shameless embracing of ignorance and hate that's being encouraged by the the the current government system.
So there's a double battle going on again, like in the midst of all this social progress and enlightenment. Now we're up against some real authoritarian bullshit completely.
People who do want to control us, people who are afraid that they're going to lose their money and they want to make more. And there's no cohesive leadership that has come out of our government lately whatsoever.
Look, you know, no, we shouldn't be a society that is reflective of all one cultural dominant without any without any soul.
Yeah. Right, right, but we should be a society that respects that that is in allowance of that that would enjoy that, that could be affected by that. And that's always where I come from. I became an actor because I loved it. And then I realized how much more I loved it when I could truly be myself. I could jump into a character, jump out of a character, do my research, do my work. But yet this was my this is who I am.
Yeah. And so that's a comfortable space to be in.
How long would that take? That took me twenty five. Thirty years. Right. You know, it's that that I think it's the kind of growth you get as you become mature. Sure, yeah. And then you get old and you realize.
Right. Well, it's not as important as I thought it was.
That's right. Right, exactly. And you start struggling to pay the rent and do all that. You go in the room, you're going to do everything you can to get the gig. I don't care what color you are. Yeah. You know, you're going to convince him it's you. Oh, I go in and they start guiding me and and they I go, oh, and I'm really direct. So you sounds like you you're looking for Gus friend.
And I see it differently and they quiets the room. Now I want to do that and I can see how much money you want to pay me and I go I'm not taking it.
Then, then I find out how much money you want to pay me. They go, Oh, maybe he will do it. And then I go, Oh, sorry. Yeah, no, I won't do it.
And then two days later, your agent calls and goes, how about this amount?
And you're like, OK, yeah, exactly.
Look, it's one thing I learned from the film Taps and from George C. Scott. That's one thing he did say to me, be true to yourself. Right.
So, you know, look, when the chips are down and you're bankrupt, I've been there for kids office in the living room. That's how I got my office and this living room, you know, trying to figure out how to get work to to black, to play to black, to play Spanish anymore. Wasn't white enough, wasn't black enough. You know, what am I going to do, you know, and I think never give up.
Never give up. Never trade on your beliefs. Right.
And fortunately, you know, generally, by the time you hit that wall, you know, it's too late to do something else. So, yeah, yeah.
There's a part of you that sort of like you're in anyways. So you might as well honor it because there's no going back at this point.
That's exactly right, yeah, that's exactly right, and it feels better. Yeah, this way. Yeah. You know, you seem good. I feel good. I love what I do. Yeah. And I feel like that's a gift.
And you're great at it, buddy. You're great at it.
Thank you. I just don't want to fake the fact that, you know, you're definitely not.
Well, thank you. Thank you so much. And look, the world is a place where I feel like, you know, what we do through our art. I feel like what you do through your work, you know, your your pride, your investigative, your ask questions, your you know, you're eager, you're open. It's to be in wonder in the space of wonder. Yeah. You know for sure. And that, you know, that's always a gift.
You get a you don't want to shut that down. You got. Yeah. If that closes down your heart gets hard and yeah. It's you know you go in and out of it but but yeah.
And that somewhere in there is you know, the idea of hope as well has to is incorporated into that.
And then what about gratitude Mark. I work. Yeah. I have to do that. And you know, I have to consciously do that because you have to practice. Yeah.
You know, I mean I have to yeah. Because there's always sort of like a panic. I'm a I'm an anxious guy, panic guy. Dread guy, you know, so I'm too busy with that to be grateful.
I mean, you know, come on, everything's fucked up. What are you talking about? But you have a lot to be grateful for.
All right. You know, you're right. You're right.
Well, look here, I'll offer this thought because I've been asked every time, you know, the black guy gets asked about the world.
I offered it about where we're at. But you didn't go there. I did. So I don't hold it against you. It's all good. But I do. And I feel the dread, too, is a heavy, heavy cloud over things now that that determines where your attitude should be. But what if. Everything has to die, to be renewed, to be refreshed. What if our thinking, my thinking has to be completely erased to be then recalibrated in a new way?
What if I shared my experiences of how I thought differently about someone who was behind me in line, who was black as night? And I realized that from Nigeria and had a different culture? What if I felt differently about someone who cut me off in line, who was, you know, Lebanese or Israeli high strung, who blocked my path, you know, because they felt like they were more important in that moment or maybe they had an emergency.
What about trying to understand some of that, that so that things are allowed to die?
You know, our economy's pretty much toast, you know? Ah, ah, ah. A political officials are pretty much dumbfounded, you know, because they aren't equipped and they have no connection to their soul, to what's right and wrong, to morality. Right.
So what if it all has to crash and then out of that crash can come a new development, a new group of people like my children, my girls who think differently and are able to have one, wants to be a lawyer.
I say go legislate, get people to vote, get people to change stuff. And then we have to look at the corporations. Sure. The corporate magnetism and power over the Oval Office.
This is something that people don't look at money.
Look, I agree. And I think that this regeneration model is great as long as what's regenerated isn't all wearing the same uniform.
So the half truth, truth. And I think it's possible. OK, at least I'm sure that even with because I really related to what you said in regard to carrying the thread and all that, I carry that, too. I don't think any conscious human being who wants better for all wouldn't be carrying some of that. Yeah. So, you know, I feel like it's possible. Now, look, it may not be it may all crash, but I want to crash with it, thinking hopefully, OK, it's still possible.
Let's, let's, let's not go too far into that scenario.
Let's stay, let's stay where we are and with a little bit of hope and great media man. Great.
Great meeting you as well. And I really appreciate and thank you for having me on. Yes, sir. Maybe I'll see you in New Mexico someday. I hope so. Have a good vacation wherever you go. And I hope you do get here. Illumination and relaxation. OK, thanks, man. Take it easy to.
What a great guy. I wish it wasn't a fucking plague. I go out to New Mexico and have some fucking chili with him. God damn it. John Karr was nominated at this year's Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a drama series for Better Call Saul, an outstanding guest actor in a drama series for the Mandalorian, and go enjoy all his work. The guy who's been working nonstop for decades, a unique talent. He is a lovely man. I'm going to check in with the big frequency tonight.
I'm going to make some noise with some tubes and strings. Boomer lives and monkey. The fanda, the whole story, a crew.