I look forward to answering as many of your questions as possible. Ask me anything in regards to Better Call Saul, my character of Nacho, my career, or anything else you would like to know.

Proof: https://www.instagram.com/p/BnCCWkFHHX3/?taken-by=michaelmando

Comments: 2103 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

TellYouYourFuture3047 karma

The scene with the pills and practising dropping them proper, then i watch other shows and they do it without the practice scenes, drives me nuts. You're one of my favorite characters and i can't wait to see you in Spiderman! What's it like being Scorpion?

MichaelMando3049 karma

Thank you so much! I am happy that you loved the pill scenes. I had a few days to practice the drop - when we started shooting I was lucky enough to get it on the first try... I felt I could do it from further so I asked the director Adam Bernstein to give me a few more takes - I failed miserably at all subsequent tries and so we ended up using the first take!

As for the Scorpion - my first time in LA a few years ago I left with a single item that I bought from a souvenir shop and it was a hoodie cross of Mac Gargan as The Scorpion/Venom. It's surreal and I feel very grateful to be playing it years later.

RobGatta181780 karma

Hi Michael! The scene where you switch the pills of Tuco's uncle was probably the most stressful scene to watch in any movie or TV show I've ever seen. Was the realization of that scene that stressful for you too?

MichaelMando2580 karma

Thank you! That's so sweet of you to say. The pill scene to me was a demonstration that our realities and life experiences are so unique form one person to another and can't be truly understood without context... on the surface, it seems almost banal and very easy to switch those pills... it's only once you understand that the implication of failure would result in death of your family that this otherwise simple task becomes as important as disarming a nuclear bomb. What brought it all in perspective to me is when I realized, only a man who loves his father THAT MUCH would be crazy enough to attempt this - and the whole character arc immediately came into focus from that point on. My friend and I joke that it's like Michael Jordan's first 3 point buzzer beater during his North California days - it's at that point that Nacho becomes the Nacho he was destined to be, come life or death.

Cheverongo1551 karma

Hello Michael, thanks for doing this AMA!

What did you learn the most from playing Vaas in Far Cry 3?

MichaelMando2733 karma

My pleasure, thank you for your questions!

I did my whole Definition of Insanity speech to a tennis ball suspended on a green screen pole. I asked the director to turn down the lights of the room - the red cams ended up giving a really eerie and dreamy feel... and I realized that sometimes you can have a great conversation with yourself. Until now, when I need a little clarity in my life, will do an AMA with myself and try to psychoanalyze what's going on.

ArchitectLupton921 karma

Who would your ideal guest star for Better Call Saul be?

MichaelMando1995 karma

Oh gee! Anyone on Breaking Bad is welcome as far as I'm concerned. I have a deep affection towards Bryan Cranston, we've had some great talks through the years and I would love for him to guest star or even direct an episode. Aaron as well, of course... Dean! Betsy! Anna! Bring them all :)

GuitarManSoTX886 karma

How was the atmosphere on set during the “I own you” scene in episode 2?

MichaelMando1383 karma

I love Giancarlo! And fellow Canadian Michelle McLaren who directed - one of the most bad ass people in television history, period. However because that scene required so many different angles, we never got to my coverage on the day of shooting. All the coverage of Nacho at the end of that scene was done a few months later, on another parking lot - and none of the original actors were there. That was a challenge at first, but we pulled it off - Thomas Schnauz who wrote the episode was there w me and we always have blast together.

KPEQ685 karma

Hi Michael! Can you convince AMC to release an episode of Better Call Saul every 3-4 days? A week's wait is killing me.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

MichaelMando742 karma

I heard in a pod cast that Peter and Vince had a secret code on Itunes for the whole season? Lol maybe something to look into, and if you crack it, send it me please :) I am currently listening to Daniel Caesar - Get You

PayJay653 karma

Nacho is my new favorite character from this universe.

I love how he has arched from being a mysterious and intimidating figure into being totally lost and vulnerable and dwarfed by the cousins, which leads to my question: do you feel like Nacho’s story goes through a redemption after this? How is he going to take control back of his own life ?

PS you’ve done an incredibly superb job playing Nacho. You’re right up there with Bob, Jonathan, Giancarlo and the rest. Keep up the great work man!

MichaelMando584 karma

Thank you so much. I believe he has decided to risk his own life for the safety of his father... that's the redemption element to me. I don't know if he will succeed, the odds against him are pretty stacked up. I hope he will, I like to believe in second chances - ultimately it's not in my hands, but whatever happens, I will make sure Nacho fights until his last breath if need be.

GoGoGadgetReddit567 karma

edit -- the question and answer below are episode spoilers for BCS S04E04

Hello Michael! Do you have an opinion on whether the shootout in the last episode (S04E04) was the very first time that Nacho killed someone? Your acting and shocked expression seemed to indicate that it was.

Keep up the good work and stay alive! :)

MichaelMando794 karma

Thank you! Much love back at you.

That's a great question and I believe, even though he has seen a lot of violence in his life (especially when Tuco was around), this was the first time he has ever killed anyone (this is just my opinion, not a fact in the show - however, Heather Marion (our wonderful writer of the episode) and I had that talk and felt it would be adequate to play it as such)... it's tragic because it's something he naively believed he would never have to do.

Turtle08atwork427 karma

With respect to Better Call Saul, you are a strong addition to an already established universe. As with most arts, I am certain you are always growing and taking something away from each project as you hone your craft further. What, if anything, can you say that you will be taking away from your involvement with this spectacular cast and crew so far?

Thanks in advance. We are all very big fans of yours here.

MichaelMando448 karma

Much love, thank YOU.

That's a great question. I have learned so much from breaking down the amazing scripts that come from the writers room - as well as the cinematography and editing process because I had the good fortune to first imagine the scenes in my head and then see how they actually executed it and cut it all together. It was a great masterclass in film making which I hope to be fortunate enough to do in the near future (produce & direct).

balloongirl27365 karma

Hi Michael, thanks for doing an AMA! I love your portrayal of Nacho. If you could play any other character (besides Nacho) in the breaking bad universe which character would you play and why? Thanks so much!

MichaelMando614 karma

Good question! Hmm to be honest I have really fallen in love with Nacho and his arc of redemption in the series. Peter & Vince wrote such a beautiful, iconoclastic character that I wouldn't be able to detach myself from him as it concerns to this Universe at this point. I hope he can bring his father to safety and get out of the cartel - maybe then I would be able to have some distance from it and could give you a different answer.

rontor347 karma

Would you confirm my sneaking suspicion that you are a super nice guy in real life? Whenever I watch the excellent show you are in, I can't help look at you and assume you are happy, and a really nice guy. Thank you for doing this AMA!

MichaelMando832 karma

Thank you, that's really sweet. I make mistakes sometimes, like everyone else and have had my share of moments when I wasn't nice to people, and in retrospect had to apologize and learn and grow form it. However, I have never done so on purpose. I try to live my life with as much LOVE in my heart, because quite frankly, it feels so much better than carrying anger and hate around - what does that serve anyone? Love is King.

xtaylorandrewsx215 karma

Hello Michael, I love your work in BCS. I found myself being surprised at how much I started to root for Nacho through Season 3. The episode with the pills was such a tense moment and I absolutely loved it.

With the exception of his love for his father, what is Nacho's most relatable aspect for you?

Thank you for this AMA and I look forward to watching how Nacho's story line plays out, and also your future works.

MichaelMando464 karma

Great question! The trait that I admire the most about Nacho is his ability to think without Ego. He is not driven by power or greed, and even though he is capable of pride like everyone else - he has the capacity to stay focused on what truly matters in his life. For example that was apparent when he wanted to save Jimmy and the skate board twins in Season 1, or how he is deeply empathetic to anyone loosing their life on the show... yet at the same time, he is a predator himself. It's that iconoclastic quality that one can be Powerful and Emotional at the same time. A man is both strong and sensitive, and that's not a weakness, but a strength in my opinion.

DinoKYT214 karma

Love your work. I was wondering, do you watch every episode when it airs? Are you scared to see yourself on the screen? Thank you!

MichaelMando576 karma

I dislike watching my work because my alter ego is ruthless - nothing is ever good enough. I have been caught many times sneaking out of premieres and walking around while everyone is watching it collectively... it helps me put it all in perspective. At the end of the day, what matters more than the reception of the work, is the intention behind it - why did I do what I did? If the intention is pure, than it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks, I can sleep at night... but it's easier said then done :p

SteampunkSniper159 karma

Hi, big fan, fellow Canadian. So proud you represent us in Hollywood. Much love and break a leg.

I scrolled the questions but didn’t see this:

What would you do if you weren’t an actor? Any non-acting dream job growing up?

MichaelMando302 karma

Hello friend! If I wasn't an actor I would probably be working on music full time - which is my first love. As my career progresses I find myself working really intensely during projects and then feeling the need to decompress... I've reverted back to music in the past two years and maybe will even release an album at some point.

IsThereADog157 karma

do you like dogs?

MichaelMando332 karma

I absolutely love dogs and have had dogs my whole life. My very first dog was called Rocky and was a German Sheppard. My last two dogs were dobermen, Tango & Marlon.

Arctica44156 karma

Salut Michael! Did you watch Breaking Bad before working on BCS and what did you think about it?

MichaelMando600 karma

My whole casting process was a strange case of serendipity. I walked in on my brothers who were watching the last two episodes of the whole Breaking Bad series - I had never seen it until then. And I will never forget how the name Vince Gilligan at the beginning of every episode was etched in my mind.

A few weeks later I get an audition request and I can't believe it. I knew immediately that the Universe wanted me to pay attention. When I found out they were going to fly me for a screen test I started binging the show. A week before I got the offer I had seen the whole series and knew how blessed I was to be on this... especially given I was a Canadian actor who had only been to the US once in his life for barely a day prior to this job.

NonlegalEvolving142 karma

I just have to say that I love your character, you can really make the anxiety of that situation pass through us. Keep up the good work!

What are you going to do after BCS?

MichaelMando370 karma

Thank you so much, that's very sweet.

I am heading to TIFF next week to present a film I shot this past fall with director Kim Nguyen. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Salma Hayek, Alexander Starsgard and myself, called The Hummingbird Project.

It feels nice to go back home - when I started my career I used to bicycle to work, passing by the festival crowds that were gathered by the red carpet. Now I will be walking it... Life is beautiful and I feel very grateful.

Shakeylol131 karma

Hello Michael! Did it hurt when you were shot by Gus’ men? Hope you are doing well!

MichaelMando589 karma

Hello! I was unfortunate to be shot in real life and that scene caused me a lot of anxiety. I remember digging my protective ear plugs so deep that I had to had the medic pull them out with a tweezer. I held on to them in my fist until we started shooting... When the director yelled action and I turned around to deliver "Can I make the call now..." and Victor (played by the wonderful Jeremiah Bitsui) was about to pull the trigger, I realized I forgot to put the ear plugs back in and I still had them in my fist... the gunshot, who was a full load, echoed like thunder in the dry desert and as I fell down my ears were completely shot - I couldn't hear a thing. Two voices came to mind, the first was yelling in my head "we have to cut right now, something went terribly wrong", the other, the actor one said "stfu and use it!" Lol. I believe that's the take that's in the cut.

rahijamus83 karma

Hello Mando,

What I love the most about BCS is how this show brings a purely human story. I feel like the human emotions are the center of the story. No right or wrong, no superhero, just humans dealing with their dilemmas. Your doing an amazing work on that part, it's what made me fell in love with Nachos. Every time I hear you say "papá", it touches ny heart. From your facial expressions, your silence is loud and made me feel so many emotions.

So my question is: what do you to bring out all Nachos' feelings and dilemmas on the screen? How do you work this out?

Thank you so much for this AMA

MichaelMando154 karma

Thank you for such a well thought out question! They key is always motivation - why do these people do what they do? I've traveled around a lot as a kid and have always had the unfortunate luck to try to reintegrate myself in a new school, new neighborhood, new city... with time I realized that maybe this was a secret advantage, maybe I didn't need to associate myself with any one group and could open my heart out to the whole world... maybe that's a better way of seeing it? I brought that mentality to my work and the characters I play - always picking the one who no one wanted at the party and making sure that by the end of the night, this persons humanity will show. Ultimately I am an optimist and believe we can truly all get along - essentially it requires communication, education and equal rights... in a way, arts can be a safe platform to create dialogue and that's what I try to do.

iammaxhailme71 karma

Any funny accidents happen while shooting any action-heavy scenes?

MichaelMando197 karma

The slip during the action sequence in episode 4 by the barrel was real - the director, John Shiban, yelled out "Great! we got it." He came up to me and thought it was beautiful that I sneaked that in Lol - but it wasn't an acting choice, it really was an accident.

billbobb161 karma

Did you ever suspect that such a small role on such an small show would have exploded into such a large role on such a successful franchise?

MichaelMando156 karma

I honestly had no idea - I remember when we started shooting we didn't want to impose anything on it... it was going to be season 1 of BCS and not season 7 of BB. We couldn't live up to the hype of a show that was masterfully done and that had been on the air for 6 years. We needed to start from ground zero and build up and let it become whatever it wanted to become without forcing it... the success of the show and the love pouring in for Nacho this season has really turned it into a dream like state for me - I couldn't be more grateful to Peter, Vince and all the fans out there. There is so much love in my heart because of all of you and it fills me with purpose.

Loganross031457 karma

Michael! I'd like to know, what would you say is your favorite part about playing Nacho Varga, and do you have any tips for up and coming actors/actresses? ALSO CAN YOU SING

MichaelMando181 karma

My advice for artist is simple: believe in yourself because no one will do it for you. That dream that is in your heart was planted there from before you were born - listen to it, follow it, I believe it will always lead you to the lessons that you need to learn - the kind that expand your soul. And as far as I'm concerned, if there is anything more to life than the material realm, those lessons are the ones to cherish.

Music has always been my first love, and I loved singing long before I ever entertained the idea of being an actor (which came much later in my life when I was in my mid 20s). Because of my lack of experience and people discouraging me, I never had the courage to revisit my love for music until recently. I believe I will release an album in the next two years.

Koalafried56 karma

Hi Michael, you are easily my favourite character in BCS! What do you think Nachos motivation is for being in the cartel? From what we’ve seen so far he isn’t power hungry or money hungry by the way he treats those lower than him in the gang and by the way he tries to protect his dad.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

MichaelMando108 karma

I believe Nacho got into the cartel strictly for financial reasons... he either felt he needed to make money for himself (maybe to feel like an accomplished human/pay for school/material well being/ travel/ I dont know?) or maybe he wanted to help his father/or the upholstery shop? It's still an open question and really up to Peter & Vince... what seems clear is he really believed he could have gotten out of it without having to seep into the dark side. The tragedy of it now is that his only way out is through the fire and that the world around him is pushing him to be the very monster that he has been trying to escape.

zazzlad32 karma

Hey Michael and fellow Canadian! Huge fan and absolutely love your work in BCS. My question is, how did you mentally prepare yourself for this role? What part of your life made "Nacho"?

MichaelMando96 karma

Hello fellow Canadian! In life preparation is everything... and here's the funny thing, you then need to have the courage to throw it all out the window and trust your intuition. The first thing I was inclined to do was dig into the history of the land and the ancestry of Nacho. It lead me to discovering the Mayans and Aztec cultures... their connection to the stars... the nobility in which they would sacrifice themselves for their community - for example they would play a game and it was the WINNERS who would sacrifice themselves to the Gods. It seem like a difficult thing to understand from our perspective, but there is a complex form of power in it all. They weren't afraid of death. This all fills your subconscious, and started to become useful to me during the end of season 3 and season 4 - when I realized he cared more about saving his father than surviving himself.

ALwiz201126 karma

Hello!! What was one of your favorite scenes to shoot from BCS? Thank you!!

MichaelMando83 karma

Hello! That's a great question - I believe all of life is interconnected, and so are all the scenes in a characters arc. To single one out would be like picking at the thread of a great tapestry, I'm afraid it would undo the whole thing. The cornerstone scene in terms of who Nacho is happened I believe in Episode 8, Season 3 with the whole pill business. That's when I understood it was a redemption story about a son who was willing to die to save his father - it became even more apparent to me this season with the psychological and physical pain he has to journey through.

ScratchThatItch26 karma

Hello Michael :)

Can you tell us something from your bucket list which you can see yourself accomplishing within the next 10 years?


MichaelMando102 karma

I love children, I hope to be fortunate enough to have kids one day :)

thekidchew24 karma

Whats downtime like between shoots? Do you and the cast get together and kick it?

MichaelMando110 karma

I love to work on music and developing scripts during downtime. My end goal is to produce and direct (which I recommend to any up and coming actor - get together with friends and make something, don't wait around.) The cast always gets together, we go for hikes, road trips to Santa Fe and restaurant outings. Bob and I will sometimes go for long bike rides on the Bosque trail or taking over a children's park and turn it into a prison gym yard :p

TurtleHawkSoup21 karma

Nacho is such a good character and I love the way you are portraying him, from emotional struggles to just a complete cold and hard criminal.

I'm wondering how you see the development of Nacho continuing. Is he too tough to break? Is he gonna stay devoted to Fring, or would attempt to take action to not "belong" to anybody?

MichaelMando92 karma

Vince Gilligan told me that Nacho reminded him of the anti-heroes from the classic Japanese films. That he was a 'Samurai Without A Master' torn between two corporations that he wants nothing to do with... I believe he has his father's love in his heart and that this is his main motivation - freedom and safety for his family. The trick is that he needs to find a way out, and that might require him to continue working for Gus... The tragedy is that to escape the fire, you must walk through it some more at the fear that it will swallow you.

devilsmusic21 karma

If you could see any 3 bands in concert, dead or alive, which bands would you see?

MichaelMando84 karma

Michael Jackson, Prince, Marvin Gaye.

Smoothjarz20 karma

What input if any have you had in the development of Nachos character?

MichaelMando59 karma

I believe Filmmaking is the most collaborative art form there is. An actor, like a director or a writer, is dependent on the collaborative spirit of everyone from costume, to makeup, to blocking and sometimes even major character choices. I think when it comes to taking credit, it's always best to say that the final result is a group effort - because in all honesty, it truly is and I give credit to the whole team (but it really starts with Peter & Vince obviously).

Halco35620 karma

Hi Michael. Thank you for doing this, it's great for us to connect with such an amazing actor from our beloved show!

Is there any movie/tv show that you really wanted to be a part of but you couldn't?

MichaelMando85 karma

Thank you for having me! I love the Reddit community because it encourages intelligent dialogue. The internet can sometimes be a mind numbing place where people are more interested in shooting something down than making the effort to first understand it - I believe this platform is designed to do the opposite! There hasn't been a time when I've watched the Godfather part I and haven't felt like this film was a masterpiece - and I've seen it a lot. I wouldn't ant to be in it because I believe it's perfect as is, but I would like to do something that is very much inspired by it... theme of family, morality, the lighting, music and the appreciation of culture.

SephirothRebirth17 karma

Hi Michael,

Love your role as Nacho.

I wish we could see you in a role where you use all the languages you speak, any future projects going on related to this?

MichaelMando36 karma

Thank you! I am heading to TIFF next week to present a movie called The Humming Bird project. I speak a lot of English in that one :p As for the multiple languages in one film, that's a great idea and is something I've been thinking about given that Montreal (one of my home town) is multilingual and I have always felt it would be great to showcase that in a film.

witchyalien11 karma

What is your favorite food? Also what time and city were you born in (so I can do your natal chart).

MichaelMando32 karma

I usually like clean eating - sometimes (more often than I would like to admit), I give in to the dark side and indulge myself in pizza... lately I've had this thing for plain cheeze. I was born July 13, 1981 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada - I believe at 3:46am. Tell me what you find! :p

tanenbaum10 karma

Hi Michael, thanks for taking the time! How was it playing a central character as an outsider along with all these actors that are already part of the breaking bad universe?

MichaelMando32 karma

Hello! Most of these guys (Banks, Margolis, Esposito) have been working longer than I have even been alive. I always give my all because I feel responsible doing what I do to carry a message that is greater than myself - that being said, even though you are going toe to toe with these guys, you must always bow in respect when the scene is over. Warriors must have humility, always - it can never serve you wrong, especially dealing with artists that you love and admire as much as I do these guys on our show.

LiesjeLF10 karma

What is your favorite music?

MichaelMando45 karma

Wow! Good question. Truth is I listen to absolutely everything. It's the same thing with food, cultures, etc. I try very hard not to have a favorite of anything - whatever moves me, whatever appeals to me, I like. That way I keep an open mind to everything and the experience of life feels richer to me.

Jamborenners3 karma

Hi Michael, greetings from Scotland! What's your favourite sport? And what team do you follow?

Nacho is a badass character and you play him very well btw!

MichaelMando13 karma

Greetings from LA, California. And thank you! When I was kid I played mid field soccer... when I moved back to Canada, left wing ice hockey and Tail back in football... Now I like to play basketball a lot. I like to follow the NBA's. I am more interested in players than in organizations... I will sometimes follow a player I like from team to team.