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Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito Endured Hours In Makeup For Gus' Death

Long regarded by fellow actors as one of the best in the game, Giancarlo Esposito still had to wait longer than most for his big breakout moment in Hollywood. Though he'd already logged dozens of notable roles throughout the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s, it's safe to say that moment finally came for Esposito in 2009 when he joined the cast of AMC's hit crime drama "Breaking Bad." He, of course, did so as the mild-mannered but calculatingly vicious Gustavo "Gus" Fring. And over his 26-episode run on "Breaking Bad," Esposito helped make Gus not only one of the legendary series' most memorable characters but arguably one of the most indelible in the history of television.

Part of the character's "Breaking Bad" legacy is no doubt tied to his unfathomably violent death in the series, in which he feels the full force of Walter White's wrath via a bomb planted on the wheelchair of Fring's arch-nemesis, Don Hector Salamanca. The explosion's aftermath leaves half of Fring's face blown apart, a horrific vision shown in vivid detail just as he expires. The making of Gus' astonishing "Breaking Bad" death walk is extensively detailed in a remarkable behind-the-scenes video included with DVD extras. And as Esposito recounts in the video's early moments, applying the makeup was even more intense than he thought it would be, claiming, "nothing compared to having it applied on the day, when we were in the trailer for four-and-a-half hours actually doing it."

Coupled with Esposito's immaculate actorly instincts, that makeup helped make Gus' death one of the series' most unforgettable

That's right "Breaking Bad" fans, Giancarlo Esposito spent a whopping four-and-a-half hours in the makeup chair preparing for Gustavo Fring's grisly death scene. And if you've seen the end result in the episode, you know it was well worth the time. Heck, you might even be a little bit surprised it didn't take longer, given the extent of Fring's injuries. As noted later in the video, Esposito's extensive practical makeup actually wasn't even enough to sell the scene. In fact, future "The Walking Dead" producer and effects guru Greg Nicotero was part of the team that utilized digital scanning techniques to fill out the full effect of the physical destruction Fring suffers from the explosion.

Even after the extensive stint in the makeup chair, it seems Esposito was further tested by needing to perform Gus' final walk and his pitch-perfect tie adjustment 19 times. The makeup effects alone in the scene probably would've been enough to score Gus' death as the most memorable in the history of "Breaking Bad." But Esposito himself ensured its legacy when he conjured that unscripted tie adjustment, because it's quite possibly the most Gus thing Gus ever did. As for his series outro, Esposito goes on to claim, "You could never imagine such a fantastic death." And according to the actor, the unforgettably gruesome moment was made all the more rewarding given how many people it took to bring it to life in the "Breaking Bad" finale.