At any point did your relationship with the role turn into a feeling of ownership?
Yes. Mike is mine. Mike is mine. I caught myself almost for a moment choking up when you asked that. And I think the honest thing to say is if I really think about it, maybe Mike has changed Johnny, too.
I think Jonathan Banks, by playing Mike, became a little more silent, a little less rambunctious. And by silent, I mean, I think I listen a little more than I did 12, 13 years ago. I don’t like to use the word witness, but that’s what’s coming to mind. I think he possibly affected me in that I’m a little more patient. Maybe that comes with age anyway.
Was there ever a time where you got a script and thought, “Mike wouldn’t do this”?
There have been moments that I went, “Oh, I think Mike wouldn’t do that.” But I found, quite honestly, a lot of the times that what the writers were telling me, if I deferred to them, it made sense.
The first thing that comes to my mind is in “Breaking Bad” when Mike left his granddaughter in the park and had to escape. And I was going, “No, Mikey would never leave his granddaughter.” And of course, the reasoning is, the police department — they’re there in the park. They will take care of her, they will return her to her mother. I still have a tough time with Mike leaving his granddaughter in the park.
There’s a scene in “Better Call Saul” last season where Mike is reading “The Little Prince” to his granddaughter, Kaylee. It’s a passage where the little prince says, “My flower is ephemeral, and she has only four thorns to defend herself against the world.” What do you think this scene means for Mike?