Better Call Saul star Michael Mando tells Hypable that Nacho is feeling burned by the trust he misplaced in Jimmy, and the road to recovery won’t come easy.
Hypable had the chance to speak to Mondo, who plays series regular Nacho, to discuss the events of episode 3 and how their characters ended up in this mess.
Last night’s storyline found Nacho getting arrested in connection with the Kettlemans’ disappearance. Nacho blamed Jimmy for the arrest because the lawyer was the only person with whom he shared his Kettleman scheme, and now the partner of Tuco feels like he made a big mistake in trying to team up with Jimmy.
As previews for next week’s episode show, Nacho will continue to be angry at Jimmy for putting him in danger with the police even though Jimmy proved Nacho wasn’t involved with the Kettleman disappearance.
The anger stems back to Nacho first misplacing his trust, Mando says. “I think Nacho’s very let down by Jimmy and mad at himself a little bit for having read Jimmy wrong because Jimmy’s not Saul Goodman yet,” the actor told us, referring to the fact that Jimmy hasn’t signed on to Nacho’s Kettleman plan yet. “So there are a lot of mixed emotions there. I think Nacho’s definitely looking for a partner, someone he can grow with beyond the position he’s been assigned within Tuco and Tuco’s family.”
The actor told us that Nacho made the offer because he believed he and Jimmy could relate to one another. “This is just me speaking, not [creators] Vince [Gilligan] and Peter [Gould], but when I started discovering Nacho for the first time, it almost feels like they’re the two kids in the sandbox that nobody’s playing with. Nobody’s playing with Jimmy because nobody thinks Jimmy’s good enough, and nobody’s playing with Nacho because their parents told them not to. And there’s that sense of wanting more than the cards you’ve been dealt, and the position you’ve been assigned in society, that sort of in a way links them together.”
Is it inevitable that Jimmy will agree to work with Nacho in stealing the Kettlemans’ money — and future endeavors? Mando says you need to look ahead for your answer. “I can tell you that Jimmy obviously becomes Saul Goodman, and Jimmy becomes the guy who knows everybody in Albuquerque and maybe New Mexico. He knows the biggest drug dealers, the most dangerous drug dealers.”
To get there, he’s going to need some help from Nacho. Mando reminded us of a moment in Breaking Bad when Saul becomes a character who he wouldn’t agree with while in his Jimmy McGill frame of mind. “When Badger and Walter White and Jesse Pinkman talk to him about Badger, his initial reaction is, ‘Why don’t you just kill him.’ So it’s interesting to see what role Nacho plays in Jimmy becoming Saul Goodman.”
Building the character
Mando credits Better Call Saul episode 2 director Michelle MacLaren (director, Breaking Bad) for helping him try several versions of the character before settling on the one you see on screen. Her help on his first scene — the desert confrontation — was “monumental.”
“I have so much love and admiration for her. I’m just remembering that moment — all those moments working with her and it just fills me up with joy,” he says. “I hope to do it again soon. What it was with Michele was it was so — she cares about everything, she cares about every detail, and so do I. Everything’s important. Every line’s important, everyone looks important, you really feel like you’re building something very, very detailed.
“I think to her credit we tried it in many different ways. Nacho could’ve been — especially the scene in the office we tried it in multiple ways where the outcome would’ve been different. To experiment with that, with her and especially with Bob as well who was extremely generous and extremely helpful — I was just very lucky to be surrounded by these people and everything came together organically.”
But it was MacLaren who he’s most thankful for. “No matter where Nacho goes I’ll always remember her as being sort of the first person who helped me lay those first bricks,” he says.
Mondo was very kind and appreciative about the opportunity throughout our interview and asked us to include this bit: “I have to give so much credit to our crew, and honestly they play such a monumental role in what you see in front of that camera and what we as actors do. I don’t think Better Call Saul could be what it is without this incredibly well-organized crew who is passionate about what they do, who bring their heart and soul to what they do, and to just be a part of them and call my TV family is something that fills me up with gratitude.”
Better Call Saul airs Mondays at 10 p.m. eastern/pacific on AMC.