Giancarlo Esposito, the actor best known for his role as meth kingpin Gus on Breaking Bad, gave an interview with The Wrap about his new show, “Revolution,” on NBC, his potential nomination for an Emmy, and about growing up the child of an Italian father and an African American mother.
Most surprising about the interview, however, was when Esposito– who you may also remember as Buggin’ Out in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing— shared the story of a recent and tense standoff with the NYPD. From The Wrap:
Days before the interview, Esposito was stopped and frisked by New York police while walking out of a theater where he was rehearsing a play. After several frantic minutes – with him and officers screaming, and their guns drawn – they realized they had the wrong guy. Their suspect had a hoodie, and Esposito was wearing a suit. When it was over, one of the officers recognized him, from his recent turn on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time.”
Now, you’d think Esposito would be upset at what seems a sadly familiar tale of racial profiling in New York– 87 percent, after all, of the 684,330 NYPD stops in 2011 were of blacks or Latinos. But Esposito didn’t step into the escalating debate over the controversial police practice. Instead he talked more abstractly about the importance of personal healing:
“I refuse to walk around, carrying that sack of racist crap,” he said. “Luis Buñuel made great movies. And in all his movies there’s one old guy… who walks through the background with a big pillowcase, a sack of shit. That’s your stuff. So when I’m healing, I’m healing my stuff.”
Esposito also recently touched on his conflict over racial identity in an interview with The New York Times.
“I came to a wonderful understanding through working with Spike [Lee] on those movies and disagreeing with him about race,” said Esposito, who has acted in numerous of Lee’s films. “He was completely pro-black and anti-white, and I didn’t feel that way in my heart. I felt like I wanted to be a human being and represent myself as such, but every time you walk out into the world, you’re treated a certain way.”