Giancarlo Esposito: “Spike Lee Has Moved Human Beings to a New Level”

The actor chats his bromance with the “iconic” director and his new drama series.

Posted: 09/17/2012 09:00 AM EDT
Filed Under TV, Technology, Spike Lee

Giancarlo Esposito


Giancarlo Esposito is a veteran character actor who has starred in countless TV series over the past 30 years. Now he’s back on prime time again as Captain Tom Neville in the drama series Revolution, which imagines a world where all technology mysteriously blacks out forever. The actor checked in with BET.com to discuss his new show, plus speech possibilities if he wins an Emmy for his critically acclaimed role on the hit series Breaking Bad. In addition, Esposito shared what being biracial means to him and why he “loves” Spike Lee.

This is a question people usually ask women, but it definitely applies to you as well. You’re looking ageless at 54, what’s your secret to staying youthful?
I do quite a bit of yoga and meditation. If we’re able to think about the divine and have that guide our every move, it will keep us young and vibrant and renew our spirit. I have a running practice I do as well. Also because I wake up and I’m excited to do what I do, I think that’s a big part of keeping a youthful spirit.

Congratulations on your Emmy nomination for your role on Breaking Bad. Are you having any thoughts of a speech?
I don’t think there’s anybody who’s been nominated who didn’t have thoughts on what they might say. I dreamt of three or four speeches that I have immediately put out of my head because I want to be present and in the moment. But who knows? I’ll probably have ten or more come to me and in the end I’ll forget them all.

You’ve had roles on Breaking Bad, Once Upon a Time, plus a fun guest spot on Community. What drew you to your new series, Revolution?
I was drawn and attracted to Revolution because it tells a different story. Some people may think in the beginning it’s an apocalyptic world, but it’s actually a story of a new beginning and a hopeful world. I felt like it dealt with a place that was very current, that we could be in a situation similar to what’s described in the series. I think we all have to ask ourselves, "What if?" Would you just want to survive yourself or would you want to help other people survive as well? Those are big questions in our world.

As an actor, you’ve collaborated with Spike Lee on four films, most notably School Daze and Do the Right Thing. What has his work meant to your career?
I’m in deep gratitude to Spike for having cast me in his films. We’ve fallen out and come back together and fallen out. But no matter what, we’ve been friends for a long time. He’s been a role model in many, many ways for me. Spike's personal journey is not mine, but I respect what he does politically and he keeps people aware. He’s somewhat of a provocateur. He’s an icon; he’s changed things for people. Spike has moved us as African-Americans and as human beings to a new level and I respect him and love him for it. I hope that you print that because I certainly do think the world of him.

Finally, what has been your personal journey as a biracial actor working in Hollywood?
I’m half African-American and I’m half Italian so I’m a citizen of the world. We all have the ability to rise above the small focus of race, of the fact that we are different colors. People who focus on that and only that, want justice — they’re vindictive because they look at that past and say we’ve been wronged as African-Americans. Which is why I’ve had such a wonderful journey having worked with Spike Lee and other African-Americans who have their own thoughts on that idea. I don’t want to dwell there. I don’t need to carry that load. That’s somebody else’s load, not mine. That could have been my burden but that’s not my journey.

Revolution airs tonight. Check your local listings for network and time.

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 (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

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