My friend Tim Molloy has a great interview with Giancarlo Esposito, who plays Gus Fring on Breaking Bad and Sidney Glass on Once Upon a Time in which he reveals, among other things, that Esposito was recently stopped and frisked in New York:
Which is a testament to Esposito’s empathy as well as his acting. One reason he appreciates playing ruthless characters is the chance to find the humanity within them.
Days before the interview, Esposito was stopped and frisked by New York police while walking out of a theater where he was rehearsing a play. After several frantic minutes – with him and officers screaming, and their guns drawn – they realized they had the wrong guy. Their suspect had a hoodie, and Esposito was wearing a suit. When it was over, one of the officers recognized him, from his recent turn on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time.”
It would be really easy to make jokes about Fring’s toughness. But it’s an illustration of how fast these things can go down, and how confused they can be, that a cop who recognized Esposito once things were calmer didn’t know who he was while the incident was happening. If you can’t tell that, what other things are subject to misinterpretation and overreaction? Stop and frisk laws are frightening not just because they’re indiscriminate, but because they create huge numbers of incidents where things can go very, very wrong.