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The Make-Up Transformation Mark Margolis Had To Endure On Better Call Saul Versus Breaking Bad

Whenever episodes of a film franchise are released in an order that is not chronological, this poses certain challenges for the creators in terms of how to make the characters look convincing and how to preserve continuity between the different episodes. The "Better Call Saul" and "Breaking Bad" timeline comes out of order: "Breaking Bad" aired from 2008-2013, whereas "Better Call Saul" aired from 2015-2022. However, in the universe of the shows, the events of "Better Call Saul" are supposed to happen before the events of "Breaking Bad." This means that the characters who appear on both shows must somehow look younger on "Better Call Saul," even though they are actually older. 

While in some cases, such as with children, it may be necessary to use an entirely different actor to play a prequel version of a character, it is generally beneficial to keep most actors consistent throughout different episodes of a franchise. The ways in which "Better Call Saul" incorporates some of the best villains from the original series is arguably one of the things "Better Call Saul" does better than "Breaking Bad." However, bringing back the same actors can get tricky. Mark Margolis, who plays Hector Salamanca on "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," is an example of this. Since Hector already appeared so elderly in "Breaking Bad," and Mark Margolis only aged further in the years between the two series, how did the creators of the show make Hector look younger, rather than older, in "Better Call Saul"?

How does Hector Salamanca look older in Breaking Bad than Better Call Saul?

Surprisingly, Margolis' make-up process for "Breaking Bad" was more intense than for "Better Call Saul." In an interview with AMC, Margolis explained that "on 'Breaking Bad,' they literally pulled back my skin with elastic to tighten my face. It's taped to the sides of your head, right at your hairline, and it pulls the whole face back. It's actually a twenty-nine dollar plastic surgery without being cut up." 

Conversely, for "Better Call Saul," Margolis said "It was a subtler thing and they darkened my hair and got rid of some of my lines." Additionally, he added that they dressed Hector in very nice, elegant clothing for the younger role. This probably allowed viewers to contrast the "younger" Hector with the "older" character from "Breaking Bad," who was usually dressed in a hospital gown. 

Lastly, Margolis' mannerisms make a huge difference in how the audience perceives his age. In both shows, during present-day scenes, he appears much older than he does in flashback scenes, largely because of his stature, body movements, and, of course, his speech. In an interview with "Vulture," regarding the chance to play a younger, less-sickly Salamanca on "Better Call Saul," Margolis said, "I kind of liked it that Hector had some muscle, some vibrancy. It excited me." Margolis certainly portrayed a highly convincing Hector, both younger and older.