Giancarlo Esposito may be a big star now, but times were so tough in the aughts that he considered committing insurance fraud to help pay the bills.

During a recent interview on of SiriusXM’s Jim & Sam, The Gentleman star recalled a time in 2008 when he was feeling particular desperate about cash flow.

“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,” recalled Esposito. “I started scheming. If I got somebody to knock me off, death by misadventure, [my family] 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.”

“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,” he continued. “The light at the end of the tunnel was Breaking Bad.

Though he had been working regularly since the ’80s with roles in Taps, The Cotton Club, Sesame Street and Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, as well as one-off spots in multiple TV dramas, the tide changed in 2009 when Esposito booked the role as Gus Fring on the AMC series. The role earned him three Emmy nominations — two for Breaking Bad and one for the spinoff, Better Call Saul.

Esposito now stars in Parish as a taxi driver whose life is altered when he agrees to transport a Zimbabwean gangster mostly known for exploiting undocumented immigrants at the southern U.S. ports.



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