Yahoo TV caught up with Giancarlo Esposito in NBC's L.A. offices after a sneak peek screening of the third episode of "Revolution," in which his Major Tom Neville attempts to infiltrate the security team for the fresh-off-the-boat Patriots, who he knows dropped the bombs he assumes killed his wife. He made it very clear that he loves his gig despite the powerless future's unclean conditions, but also hopes he'll have room on his plate for more Los Pollos Hermanos should the "Breaking Bad" prequel being cooked up come to fruition.
Neville is constantly reinventing himself. He's sided with Monroe, Georgia, the rebels, himself, and now seemingly the Patriots. Does that make the character more exciting to play?
Yeah, I like that. It's not the direction I would have thought to go. I wanted to be f---ing president of Nevilleworld. But thank God it didn't happen, because what's happening is way more interesting. I feel blessed to have this. It's always new territory to mine. I'm not always playing the same note, and that's an actor's dream. He's wily, intense, intelligent, and so savvy at being a survivalist, willing to do anything to forge ahead. But he's also a father and husband and that informs what he does.
Some folks on the show are all about brute force and bravado, and while Neville holds his own in a fight, he relies more on psychology and smarts.
He's an observer who studies people. He files everything he's learned throughout his life in his mental toolbox, and it keeps growing. My mother used to say to me that you get more with sugar than with salt. Sometimes, that's true, but at others Neville knows salt is the only answer. To me, that's the guy you call when you want to get the job done. He plays the long game, and that's what he is trying to teach his son. And look out, Patriots, because he's going to use every tool in his box to expose you and avenge his wife's death. They aren't going to know what hit them.
Do you think Julia (Kim Raver) is alive?
Neville has given up hope. That's a broken man onscreen. I myself don't know what they have planned. If you don't see someone die, there's a possibility, and I certainly loved that true, pure relationship. Maybe the nanobots will save her, too.
You're an impeccable dresser and well-groomed gentleman. Have you adjusted to being so much dirtier and disheveled this season?
I am so tired of being dirty and not being able to cut my nails. I am Italian, so it is in my blood to love a fine suit, appreciate the finer things, and want to look good. I respect the way I look to respect the world around me. But when I put on those dirty costumes and let dirt accumulate under my nails, I'm immediately zapped into that future world. When I stepped into the refugee camp the first time, I thought we were doing "Of Mice and Men." It was so nasty and everyone was so dirty. It strips me of my vanity and allows me to do the work, because I'm not worried about whether my shirt needs ironing.
So far this season, the core group has been splintered in three locations. Are you excited at the inevitable regrouping?
I'm a team player all the way around as an actor, but as a character I don't do well in groups. I'm learning to listen and go with the group, but Neville's impatient, and if he feels he has the answer, he'll just do it. What I like about where we are now is that Neville is trying to reprogram himself and his son. He doesn't really care for Miles, because he isn't a big-picture thinker, and certainly never cared for Monroe, because he's crazy and his intentions weren't right. When we do come back together, he'll be a different kind of Neville, and that will inform his interactions. But the brilliant thing is that only an amalgamation of all the characters can truly lead and squash the larger monster we'll soon meet. We're only as strong as the sum of our parts.
"Breaking Bad" was also made up of a strong ensemble. Were you bummed Gus wasn't in this week's finale?
Yes and no. It was a fantastic series and very strong finale and I love that team, but Gus had his exit already.
A "Breaking Bad" prequel spinoff is in the works, and your name has been thrown around. Are you interested?
It would be something I would consider, because Vince [Gilligan] is part of my family and a big part of my career. There is such a deep amount of respect for him creatively and such a deep friendship that it would be my dream to come back, provided that the storyline and writing worked and provided that it gelled with my "Revolution" responsibilities. I'm humbled every time I hear that he's said he wants me to be involved, and I'm certain that character will be one of the highlights of my career, so if it were to happen, I would bend over backwards to make it happen. The integrity and the sincerity with which "Breaking Bad" and "Revolution" are done is rare and special. These people aren't just throwing things at the wall and hoping they stick. They try to get it right even if that means tweaking things like [executive producer Eric] Kripke did this season. That's bold, and I hope that buys us another season or two to tell this story.
"Revolution" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.