breaking bad 507

Highlights of the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast, Ep. 109 “Pimento”

Guests this episode are Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, writer/director/bride-to-be Tom Schnauz, Jonathan Banks (Mike), and Michael Mando (Nacho).

  • Michael Mando didn’t find out that “Mijo” was Tuco until the day before shooting episode 102.
  • Back in episode 102, Nacho saying “May I?” before taking the wire cutters from Tuco wasn’t in the script.
  • Much like Rhea Seehorn, Mando spent time on the set even when he wasn’t in scenes, studying the show and the actors.
  • The dummy side (fake scene) for Mando’s audition, written by assistant writer Heather Marion, was about a guy in a bar who wanted a USB key from a person he had some kind of affection for or history with, but ultimately had to threaten his family to get the USB. The words describing his character were “intelligent, dangerous, ambitious.”
  • Mark Proksch, who plays Pryce, appears on local TV morning talk shows around the country under the name of K-Strass, the Zim Zam Yo-Yo Man, a supposed yo-yo master who actually knows nothing about yo-yo, putting the hosts in an awkward situation.
  • This is the second time Schnauz has directed. The first was Mike’s final episode on Breaking Bad, 507 “Say My Name.”
  • This episode had a teaser, a flashback into Jimmy’s past, which was cut for time.
  • The writers didn’t realize Chuck was jealous of and continuously sabotaging Jimmy until they were breaking episode 107. This was partially inspired by the pride with which Michael McKean plays Chuck. But until 107, they thought that “Hamlin was the bad guy, pure and simple” (Vince Gilligan).
  • I won’t go into detail about it since they have talked about this so many times before, but the writers and actors spend a substantial amount of time talking about the unique drawn-out nature of TV, which allows the writers to draw inspiration from the actors (as with Chuck’s character above).
  • Michael Mando points out that Nacho now has an earring in this episode, which he takes to mean something about the character has changed—he is making some more “avant-garde” moves now.
  • Mando describes “four pillars” of Nacho’s character which he learned from his two scenes in 102: First, his intelligent “malleability,” in that he can switch quickly between talking to Tuco and talking to Jimmy, with very different approaches to the two. Second, “the dichotomy of compassion and violence that live within this character like sky and land.” Third, his ambition. Fourth, the “human chord”—why he decided to effectively entrust his life to Jimmy, someone with a completely different background and personality, and even “believes in Jimmy before Jimmy believes in himself.”
  • Mando and Banks have different perspectives on doing multiple takes to get variations on a scene or “just for safety.” Mando appreciates directors giving the actors a chance to stretch and be creative, while Banks feels like if he were going to do more takes after he’s already gotten the scene right, he would still be doing takes from Breaking Bad—because an actor is never really satisfied with his work.