Giancarlo Esposito Says He Was So Broke, He Considered Hiring a Hit Man to Kill Him: ‘That’s How Low I Was’ | Video

Giancarlo Esposito reflected on a time in his life when he was so down on his luck financially that he considered hiring a hit man to assassinate him, adding that “Breaking Bad” was his bright light at the end of the tunnel — and his opportunity to reclaim his self-assurance.

The hardships Esposito faced came up during a recent guest appearance on SiriusXM’s “Jim and Sam Show.” The group chatted about his new AMC show “Parish” and how Esposito was able to embody the “everyman” persona for his role as Gracián “Gray” Parish. He explained that the character work he did was rooted in his personal experiences with financial struggles over the course of his career, including undergoing bankruptcy twice, marriage troubles and the bank foreclosing on his home. At one point, Esposito said his “way out” was through orchestrated suicide.

“The first thing that had me think there was a way out, was my wife’s father — God rest his soul — Pops McManigal was in insurance,” Esposito said. “So I asked [my ex-wife], I started poking around, ‘how much am I insured for,’ and then she told me. My way out in my brain was— and I said, ‘Hey, do you get life insurance… If someone commits suicide, do they get the bread?’ And my wife said, ‘Well, that’s kind of tricky.'”

“She had no idea why I was asking her this stuff, and then I thought, I just started scheming, ‘If I got somebody to knock me off, death through misadventure, they would get the insurance,'” Esposito continued. “I had four kids. I wanted them to have a life. It was a hard time in life. I literally thought of self-annihilation so that they could survive. That’s how low I was.”

After contemplating how the decision would impact his family, Esposito said he chose to move forward with life as is — and that eventually led him to his “Breaking Bad” gig.

“Then I started to think, that’s not viable because the pain I would cause them would be lifelong, and lifelong trauma that would just extend the generational trauma with which I’m trying to move away from,” Esposito said. “The light at the end of the tunnel was ‘Breaking Bad.’ I had a few little things before to start to recover, but ‘Breaking Bad’ was the light.”

The four-time Emmy-nominated actor played a major villain on the show between 2009 and 2011, later going on to reprise the role on “Better Caul Saul.” He went on to say that the show’s team offered him a contract, but he turned it down out of fear of being creatively restrained.

“I did a guest spot on that show, and even then, after doing one guest spot, they come back to do another. They offered me a contract, I said, ‘No.’ It empowered me,” he said. “The reason I said no is because it was the end of the third season and they wanted me to sign a contract where I had six months. They would have given me some money, which would have been great, would have been a hold fee, but I would have to go to them to say, ‘Can I do the Disney project? Can I do this? Can I do that?’ And I was in fear that they would say no. I also didn’t know what their intention was.”

By the end of it all, his no to “Breaking Bad” helped reinvigorate his sense of self-worth.

“This was the first step to my empowerment, because it wasn’t about the money. Yeah, I was broke, I was bankrupt, all these things,” Esposito said. “It was really about me finding my own strength to know that I could create my own projects. That was the beginning of ‘Parish,’ to be honest with you.”

Esposito stars as Gracián “Gray” Parish, who has criminal roots, but turned his life around and dedicated it to raising his family until he’s forced to pick up his old ways to avenge the violent murder of his son. “Parish,” based on the U.K. series “The Driver,” was created by Danny Brocklehurst and Jim Poyser and was produced under the AMC Studios umbrella in association with A+E Studios and Thruline Entertainment. The series premiered on Sunday, March 31.

Watch the full interview with Giancarlo Esposito in the video above.

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