Better Call Saul’s Tony Dalton revealed that Breaking Bad creator, Vince Gilligan doesn’t give the Better Call Saul cast spoilers about their characters. Dalton has emerged as a major player in the show’s fifth season, after elevating from a recurring role to series regular and becoming further embroiled in the Salamanca family’s rivalry with Gus Fring’s drug empire. But things took a concerning turn for Dalton’s character, Eduardo “Lalo” Salamanca at the end of the sixth episode of the fifth season, “Wexler vs. Goodman.”
Instead of delivering valuable information on Gus to the police, Gus and Mike Ehrmantraut point the authorities back to him for a murder arrest before he can. Jimmy McGill represents Lalo and needs to obtain the $7 million bail required to free him. This is a sudden, expensive roadblock in Lalo’s arc for the season. But as Dalton himself explained, he didn’t realize how much trouble he was going to be in before filming the last two episodes.
Dalton revealed in an interview with Screen Rant that Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul creator Vince Gilligan doesn’t like giving the cast too much information about their character arcs. It’s up to him and the rest of the cast to strike the right tone based on their characters’ current situations, with minimal knowledge of the future. In fact, they don’t even know how it’s going to go down the following week.
“Oh, they don’t tell us anything. I mean, they don’t tell us what’s going to happen on the next episode. So, I don’t even know. You kind of wing it, as far as an actor, with the arc. You get an idea that you can’t show all your cards until you need to, as far as acting is concerned. As far as when does he get angry and when he doesn’t, when something really affects him or something doesn’t – you kind of get a feel of it. But no, they don’t tell us that.”
So it’s a mystery where Lalo and Jimmy’s arc goes from here as Jimmy is sent on a mission to get the bail money, as well as how Nacho could become involved in it – but there are theories out there. Lalo doesn’t seem particularly concerned about getting his bail money, but at the same time, we’re watching an actor who doesn’t know if he’s going to be bailed out any time soon or how he will fare in his murder case. And it turns out that the elevated uncertainty is a product of Gilligan purposely withholding future story arcs from his actors. For Dalton, it’s almost fitting that the character famously referenced mysteriously in Breaking Bad still doesn’t know quite where it’s going to go from here.
An unclear future for the characters could help the actors stay in the moment as episodes are produced, especially with only one more season coming for the show. Had Dalton known well in advance that Lalo would get arrested halfway through the season, or have intimate knowledge of all of the Salamancas’ complicated dealings with Nacho, Gus, Jimmy, and others, maybe he would overthink things as an actor. It’s not like the character would know the future in real life. Gilligan seems to want his actors to simply react to what’s in front of them. That level of focus ostensibly lends itself to the unpredictable and compelling nature of the performances throughout Better Call Saul.