[The following story contains major spoilers for Better Call Saul’s “Point and Shoot.”]
After 13 years, Lalo’s story is now complete.
During “Better Call Saul”, the debut episode of Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk) Breaking Badthe criminal attorney called out the name “Lalo” in sheer terror, and ever since, Breaking Bad and You better call Saul fans have wondered who Lalo is, what happened to him and why Saul blamed Ignacio (Michael Mando) for something the last Lalo was seemingly doing. Finally, on You better call Saul In season four’s “Coushatta,” writer Gordon Smith finally introduced Tony Dalton as Lalo, and Hector Salamanca’s charismatic cousin (Mark Margolis) was an instant force to be reckoned with, especially for fellow drug lord Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito). and his long-running blood feud with the Salamanca family.
On Monday ‘Point and Shoot’, Smith’s final Saul script, the writer, along with director Vince Gilligan, answered all of Lalo’s remaining questions posed since 2009. Of course Saul was already terrified of Lalo for witnessing the murder of Howard Hamlin (Patrick Fabian) without blinking, but he also blamed Ignacio for the massacre on Lalo’s property because he really had nothing to do with Gus. , Mike (Jonathan Banks), and Ignacio’s attempt on Lalo’s life. Finally, the episode ends with the answer to Lalo’s fate, and Gus needed a lucky shot to defeat his greatest threat, until Walter White (Bryan Cranston) steps into his fast-food restaurant in more than three years.
For Dalton, he’s more than happy to go out under such erratic circumstances, rather than lose through punches.
“If Gus beat Lalo with an arm wrestling thing, I would have said, ‘Damn it!’ But the lights were out and we were just firing guns Yes, he has [Lalo], but that was pure luck. After Lalo dies, even Gus seems to think, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I got away with that. This man had a gun in my face,” Dalton said News Kidda†
In a recent spoiler conversation with THRDalton also reveals what Lalo was thinking when he smiled and laughed for the last time, then looks back on his emotional last day on set.
So your castmates all got a call from Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould and Melissa Bernstein when it was their time to go. What were the circumstances of your call?
I appreciated that they did. I was like, “You guys kill me in 608?” and they all started laughing. I thought, “I thought I was going to go all the way to the end,” and they said, “No! Still 608.” And I was like, “608? That’s it? Is that all you give me?” So they started laughing again, and then I finally said, “I’m kidding!” I’m just thankful for the job and I appreciate that they created this character and that I was a part of this no matter how long it took. I also like a dignified death. I’d rather have a dignified death than have the show end without the man dying. It’s like, “Come on, man! Kill your villain!”
But the call was well before production started, right?
Yes, it was before we started shooting. They called and said, “Hey listen, this is what’s happening, but first of all, you’re going to shit your pants about what happened before,” which ultimately led to Lalo killing Howard. They were really excited about it and I was like, “Oh okay!” They said, “Oh my god, you don’t believe what’s going to happen, and then you die.” †laughs.) But I wanted to know how I was going to die, and they said, “We can’t tell you.” And I thought, “Come on, Vince! Tell me something. Something.” And he said, “Okay, you take down a lot of motherfuckers before you die.” And I was like, “Okay, I’ll take it! That’s good enough for me.”
Lalo had a charming smile on his face until his last breath, and I think he feels triumphant because he was right about Gus in every way. So what do you think Lalo had in mind when he smiled and laughed for the last time?
Oddly enough, it wasn’t written that way. It was written differently. The laughing part was not written. [Writer] Gordon [Smith] wrote: “Lalo had his last ugly breath”, and I had a thing for that. I was like, “What do you mean by ugly breath? What are you talking about?” I was kidding, but when we were shooting I threw a smile on one of the photos. And then Vince said, “That’s it!” He said, ‘Not so, but look at him, thinking, ‘You lucky one. You got away with this. I’ll see you in hell.’” Then Vince said, “The lights were out, you shot it out and he got you in the neck. And now you’re just smiling because [Gus] was lucky.” And I said, “Okay!” So that’s what we did, and it just got bigger and bigger. And then Vince said, “That’s it. Let’s do it again. Just look at him and think, ‘See you in hell, motherfucker.’” So that’s what I did! †laughs†
Lalo outsmarted and outsmarted Gus every time, but Gus triumphed with a lucky shot in the dark. Did you find comfort in the fact that Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) needed the devil’s luck to take down Lalo?
Naturally! If Gus beat Lalo with an arm wrestling thing, I would have said, “Damn it!” But the lights were out and we were just firing guns. Yes, he got me, but that was pure luck. After Lalo dies, even Gus seems to think, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I got away with that. This man had a gun in my face.”
How many times have they reset your last close up with blood all over the place?
Way too often, man. There was so much blood. I remember Vince continuing to say through the speaker, “More blood! More blood!” And finally I turned around and said, “Vince Gilligan, you’re a sick man.” †laughs.) I was like, “This is TV, man! Are you kidding? There’s so much blood!” I was completely covered and the dirt on the floor of the lab was all a mud puddle There were snakes that kept squirting and spitting blood I’m sure someone has a picture of that but I wouldn’t even get up between the I was like, “I’m just going to stay here. You do the reset and spray some more blood.” So we just kept going and going, and we did four or five different takes of that.
So no one in their right mind could have ever imagined that Lalo Salamanca and Howard Hamlin would eventually share a grave. Did you and Patrick Fabian enjoy playing grave mates while you lay dead next to each other?
Yes, dude. Patrick is a wonderful human being and I never had the chance to work with him to the end. We went out a lot because we’re all in Albuquerque, and you don’t know anyone else. So we went out to dinner and stuff, but I worked with everyone but him. So to end up with him forever is kind of romantic. †laughs†
Did the cast and crew give you a nice goodbye? Were there speeches and t-shirts?
There were speeches, t-shirts and tears. It really touched me. I tried to say a few words and collapsed. Everyone said such nice things, and everyone showed up. Vince said some things that made me say, “Oh my god!” And Peter [Gould]† Everyone was just so nice about the whole thing. In this career you get gigs, and some are good and some are bad. To this day, this is definitely the best gig I’ve ever gotten. It just had so much heart. Everyone was so nice and I thought, “I always want to work like this. It’s not always like this.” So to be able to work with these guys and hear everyone say all these nice things, it was just beautiful, it was real.
It’s not covered on the show, but did you assume that Lalo somehow learned about Ignacio’s death?
I do not think so. He didn’t care. If he hadn’t died, Lalo would have killed Gus, and he would have gone for Ignacio. He is said to have said, “Okay, where is this man now?” He just wanted to get the big fish first before coming back to… [Ignacio]† So I don’t think he ever really knew about Ignacio’s death.
In the earlier apartment scene, Lalo kicks Howard’s lifeless leg out of the way. Was that your choice on the day?
No, that was Vince. Vince said, “Okay, turn around and kick his leg. Give him a little kick.” And again, I was like, “You’re a sick man, Vince Gilligan.” He’s such a sweetheart, but he has a bad side. †laughs.) I was like, “Really? Kick his leg?” And he said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” And I said, “Okay, let’s do it!”
I last spoke to you before hawkeye, and since then I’ve wondered if the schedules of both shows collided. Did you have to go back and forth between Lalo and Jack?
Oh yeah! Absolute. on hawkeyeI had a long mustache but then I’d show up to [Better Call Saul’s] set and are like, “I can’t cut it that much because I have to go back to the other set.” So we’d still cut it, but again, it probably would’ve been okay because Lalo was in a sewer. So after three weeks the mustache would grow and in the end it worked perfectly [for when I’d go back to Hawkeye]† on hawkeye, they were ready to add more mustache just in case, but it would always be two or three weeks between the two. And when I would go back to You better call Saulthey would cut it again and it would grow for two or three weeks until I returned to hawkeye† So in the end it worked perfectly, and it usually doesn’t work that way. The stars are aligned.
So when Lalo called Hector (Mark Margolis) in 607, the characters didn’t know it would be their last interaction, but you knew for sure. So, were you tempted to add something extra to Lalo’s latest “love you, Tio”?
I played it like the characters didn’t know, but I did go to the [Casa Tranquila] set to do the scene. So I was there, behind the scenes, so Mark could hear my voice. Mark’s great, man. We clicked from day one and he was one of the first guys I worked with. he was in Scarface† He once asked me, “How old are you?” And at that point I was like, “44.” And then he said “I was 44 when I did that” Scarface† So we became good friends, and I went to the set to say goodbye to [Hector]† So the character doesn’t know it will be the last goodbye, but the only heart you see from Lalo is through Hector. So I wanted to show that Lalo really, really loves this guy. For a charming villainous character, it’s a bit more in-depth if you can also see a heart.
Once Bob recovered from his heart attack, you returned to set up and finish your scenes together in Kim’s apartment. Did you two get back into things easily?
Yes! In fact, I had a few weeks to tighten up my lines as they had already done his part before anything happened. So I stayed there and continued to do my lines on walks in Albuquerque. And when we came back, I was on top of my game.
Well, Tony, I’ve been dreaming about Lalo and Ignacio’s storyline for 13 years, and you’ve brought it to life in a way that goes way beyond what I imagined. Congratulations on a great run and thanks for everything.
Oh man, thank you so much for saying that. That’s so sweet, man. I really appreciate it.
You better call Saul is now broadcasting on AMC† This interview has been edited for length and clarity†