There were a number of surprises on last night's episode of Westworld, but let's talk about the one that doesn't hurt my brain. With Clifton Collins Jr. reunited with The Man In Black but reassigned by Ford to a different robot role, who was going to step in and play El Lazo? Giancarlo Esposito, that's who. You probably recognised the actor as Gus Fring from both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, and his inclusion in this episode was such a tightly-kept secret that it didn't appear in the opening credits. However, in an interview with Vulture, Esposito revealed that his appearance is all thanks to Anthony Hopkins, who had a lot of nice things to say about the actor after catching his Breaking Bad performance.
"I love Sir Anthony Hopkins. I really loved the original movie about this particular subject matter. Although I don’t watch a lot of the television series, I had watched pieces of a few episodes that caught my attention," Esposito told the outlet. "And then I got a call. That’s how it always happens! You know, people know other people. In terms of how public life affects all this, I’ve said some great things about Anthony, and he’s said some great things about me in regards to my work as Gus Fring on Breaking Bad, so I think it was all kind of synchronous in that way."
Esposito played an important part in last night's episode, "Reunion," acting as a kind of conduit for Ford's thoughts. He revealed to The Man In Black that this particular journey (whatever it is) is one he'll have to complete on his own, before instructing his men to shoot themselves, and committing robot suicide himself — but all people could talk about was Breaking Bad.
"It’s interesting to see the cross sections of people who’ve seen me from different things," Esposito told Vulture of people's reactions to his work. "Sometimes I’m quite surprised when people stop and recognise me from an episode of Sesame Street that I did when I was 19 — which is rare, but it has happened."
Last night's episode suggested that Esposito's appearance was a one-time treat, but if I've learned anything from this show, it's that people turn back up when you least expect them.