Giancarlo Esposito thought, at his lowest, about how his own murder might benefit his kids

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Giancarlo Esposito knows — people think everyone who is on TV or in the movies is rich, and will always stay that way. But it’s not always so, by a long shot. In fact, the “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” villain’s imagination went pretty darn dark when his own times were tough.

It was a while back, before those two Vince Gilligan series cemented him as a famous face, and there wasn’t much money coming in, he said on a recent episode of the “Jim and Sam Show” podcast with comic Jim Norton and radio and WWE personality Sam Roberts.

He had to file for bankruptcy. The then-married father of four said he started thinking about the circumstances under which his insurance policy might pay out to his family. Would suicide work? Well, that gets complicated, said his wife, whose father was in the insurance biz — hence the ample policy Esposito had at the time. So skip that.

“I just started scheming — if I got someone to knock me off, death through misadventure,” the 65-year-old said, his family might get the money. “I had four kids. I wanted them to have a life.”

Esposito, who got a divorce in 2015, said that way-back time was really hard for him. “I literally thought of self-annihilation so that they could survive. That’s how low I was.”

The light at the end of the tunnel, he said, was “Breaking Bad,” which came his way after he had a few small jobs under his belt. He did a guest spot on the show, then another, and then turned down a contract that would have held his availability just in case they wanted Gustavo Fring to return. He turned it down, because things were looking up and he didn’t want to be too tied down.

It should go without saying, Fring ultimately did return, with Esposito’s coldblooded characterization earning him the love of “Breaking Bad” fans and later the viewers of “Better Call Saul,” who appreciated the finer points of a very bad dude.

But, the actor said, “Once you play a quintessential bad guy, who then becomes iconic, then people want or expect that. And I like to switch it up with every role I play, so I look to find nuance in a new character.”

Esposito can be seen currently on the AMC series “Parish,” where he plays Gracián ‘Gray’ Parish, a former getaway driver turned family man. Good guy or bad guy? That’s for viewers to decide.

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