The Gentlemen's Giancarlo Esposito talks character's Breaking Bad similarities

The Gentlemen star Giancarlo Esposito has responded to comparisons between his character in the Guy Ritchie series and his iconic Breaking Bad villain.

Esposito plays wine fanatic aristocrat Stanley Johnston in the spin-off of Ritchie's 2019 film of the same name – who is actually a meth dealer turned businessman.

Fans of Breaking Bad will instantly draw comparisons with one of Esposito's more prolific roles as the wicked Gus Fring from the Bryan Cranston drug drama.

Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, Esposito has revealed his take on the matter, and explained that the two roles were sufficiently different that he did not have any reservations about taking the part.

giancarlo esposito, the gentlemen

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"I did not [have any reservations] because to me Stanley's a lot lighter than Gus, he's not looking over his shoulder worrying about someone's going to kill him," Esposito explained.

"So there's a different feeling there. I didn't make any correlation until I realised that in his previous incarnation, which we don't see, he was a meth dealer."

Esposito – who also revealed to Digital Spy that Johnston is based on a real person – went on to explain why the character dealing marijuana rather than meth was a deciding factor.

"Guy had mentioned that to me, but the fact that he wants to take over the weed business at the Halstead mansion in the UK made it a little gentler already, for me."

giancarlo esposito as stanley johnston, the gentlemen
Kevin Baker/Netflix

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"It made it different, because Stanley is thinking about creating a new empire in a new place," he said. "So for me, I didn't look at those similarities as a deterrent at all."

Esposito also explained to Digital Spy that working on the show was "very different" to his normal acting gigs.

"It's a very different way of working than I'm used to. On my very first day I called into the trailer, we had a 45-minute conversation about life and culture and aristocracy and money and privilege," he said.

The Gentlemen is available to stream now for Netflix subscribers.

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