Jonathan Banks always knew what would happen to his character, Mike Ehrmantraut, on Breaking Bad. But even though things didn’t turn out great for Mike, Banks’ career is better than ever.
Banks found out about the fate of Mike around nine months ago at costar Aaron Paul’s engagement party. But the actor remains grateful for the chance he was given to play the baddie hit man. “Vince Gilligan couldn’t have given me a greater gift than the character of Mike,” Banks told Yahoo! News. “And these writers have been so good. And hopefully I brought a little of myself to it.”
The actor has had a long career in the business, but always remained somewhat in the background until he joined the cast of AMC’s hit drama in season two. “I thought, how great that I got to do this role at 65 years old. Because it’s a great character. And I love the character. I’ve been around long enough that my expectations about fame or work, any of it—I’m not jaded, but I just take it as it comes. And I think a lot of that’s age. There are a lot of wonderful, wonderful, wonderful actors out there. And a great example is Bryan [Cranston]. Coming from Malcolm in the Middle to this nuanced, raw-nerved character that he plays magnificently. I daresay there are a lot of people out there who didn’t know Bryan was that great an actor.”
Gilligan has joked that Banks was the only cast member to complain on set. “You bet your ass I complain,” he noted. “No, I don’t complain. I just give people a hard time. Let me tell you something about Vince Gilligan. He had us out in those black jackets, in that sun, in 100 degrees while he sits in the air-conditioned office in Burbank. And he tells me I complain?”
Banks isn’t sure if his character will appear in flashbacks when the show returns next year for its final episodes. “I’m not being coy,” he said. “To my knowledge, absolutely not. But that’s a Vince question.”