Michael Mando interview: ‘Better Call Saul’
BEWARE OF SPOILERS IN THE ARTICLE AND VIDEO FOR SEASON 6:
“You’re riding a roller coaster and you have no idea when it’s going to turn,” reveals Michael Mando about his role on “Better Call Saul.” For our recent webchat he adds, “You just know that the impact of the character is so strong. There were a lot of scenes with very little dialogue. That was another really beautiful challenge. There was no safety net. You just had to really be in the moment.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“Better Call Saul” is midway through its final season and tells the story of how Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) became the criminal lawyer Saul Goodman in the Emmy-winning drama series “Breaking Bad.” Mando plays Nacho Varga who has been caught in the middle of a drug cartel rivalry. For a number of seasons, he has tried to escape the cartel and protect his innocent father from harm. Mando explains, “What a beautiful arc they gave me. To play a character that’s breaking good when the whole show is breaking bad; to have that kind of pressure and that kind of responsibility, really is a dream come true.”
The third episode of the final season, ‘Rock and Hard Place,’ focuses on Nacho’s struggles, resulting in a heart wrenching performance. It ends with Nacho confronting his drug cartel masters and taking his life to keep his father safe. Mando says, “You don’t really know who a character is until the end. It’s like doing a painting. At the very end, you put the final touches on, let it dry and finally realize what you’ve been doing for six years. You had to approach the final scene like you would approach anything. It is always about the truth of the moment and what the character is truly fighting for. He’s a person who’s done a lot of bad choices and finally wants to do the right thing. He’s willing to sacrifice everything to save his father, who was the presence of innocence in his life. You have to approach it from the integrity of the character.”
On leaving the show, Mando reflects, “I got moved around so much in my life, and I’ve seen my father pass away last year. I realized life is so temporary. You don’t want to live in that place of missing something, because it leaves such a hole. You want to celebrate things. I don’t think I would miss anything. I just feel grateful. It feels like I’ve got all these tools now and I can’t wait to apply them on the next thing. That’s where my mind state is, gratitude and responsibility.”