The Untold Truth About The Guy Who Played Tuco On Breaking Bad

The Untold Truth About The Guy Who Played Tuco On Breaking Bad

Raymond Cruz made an indelible impression
on television viewers with his instantly unforgettable performance as bad guy Tuco Salamanca on Breaking
Bad. The character proved so popular, they brought
him back for the prequel spinoff Better Call Saul. So it’s a bit surprising that Cruz hasn’t
gotten more recognition – until now, that is. Here’s a look at the untold truth about the
guy who played Tuco on Breaking Bad. Gang hit Maybe the eeriest thing about Cruz’s performance
on Breaking Bad is how fully and comfortably he seems to inhabit Tuco’s world of drug running
and gang banging. But there’s a good reason for that: Cruz himself
grew up surrounded by hardcore gang activity on the hardscrabble streets of East L.A. How
bad was it? He told the Daily Beast that when he was just
12, he witnessed a cold blooded homicide. “I saw someone get shot in front of me at
point blank range […] The brains came out the back of his head.” Yikes! By the book As a kid, Cruz escaped the world of street
gangs both literally and metaphorically through his love of literature. Retreating into books, he read and reread
classic novels, and that passion eventually led him to acting, thanks in part to an assist
from Gregory Peck. Cruz told Smashing Interviews, “I was fascinated by the translation of the
written word to performance. I read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird,
and it was one of my favorite books. Then when I saw the movie, I was over the
moon about it.” “That guy” Cruz may be best known for playing Tuco on
Breaking Bad and Detective Julio Sanchez on The Closer and Major Crimes, but he’s actually
been toiling away in Hollywood as a classic “that guy” since the ’80s. He got his big break in the now-forgotten
1987 comedy film Maid to Order, and has since landed more than 80 film and television roles,
from movies like Clear and Present Danger and Training Day, to TV shows including Cagney
and Lacey and Murder, She Wrote. We love it when a character actor finally
becomes a star! Good guys and bad guys It’s not that unusual for a popular character
to spin off from a show into another series. But Cruz holds the distinction of doing it
twice – and at the same time. While playing Detective Julio Sanchez on The
Closer, a role he originated way back in 2005, he moonlighted as Tuco on Breaking Bad, working
seven days a week to film both parts concurrently. He apparently liked the challenge, though,
because after Detective Sanchez spun off into Major Crimes, he then reprised his role as
Tuco on Better Call Saul at the same time. Given that one character is a cop and the
other a criminal, is it possible we could ever see a crossover? He loves to cook One of Tuco’s most intriguing character traits
is the fact that he really enjoyed cooking. Not meth like Walter White, mind you, but
delicious hand-crafted burritos and other meals made with… love? So where did Tuco get it from? Well, from Cruz, of course, who is a bit of
a chef in his own right. Just don’t bother trying to emulate his grilled
pork chop recipe, because it requires an ingredient not for sale: his mom’s homemade chili. He told AMC, “I’ll put it on a bed of lettuce with a grilled
jalapeno or a small green chile, take it to the point just before it starts to cook completely
through and I’ll top it with my mom’s chili and a couple slices of cheese. Man, it’s the best thing ever.” He’s an introvert Tuco might be a super-intense, in-your-face
villain, but in real life, Cruz couldn’t be more different. In fact, he’s basically an introvert, preferring
quiet reading to drug-fueled rampages. He told Smashing Interviews, “I’m so quiet, and I like to read. I like to tinker in the garage. I love working on motorcycles and cars. I like to be alone. If I’m in a room with a lot of people, I’m
probably the last person you’ll notice. I’m practically invisible.” Hard pass When Cruz was initially approached by the
producers of Breaking Bad about the role of Tuco Salamanca, Cruz had a simple answer for
them: no. Sure, it’s hard to imagine someone else as
Tuco now, but Cruz was concerned that filming both Breaking Bad and The Closer at the same
time would be too much work for him. But finally they convinced him the old fashioned
way: by appealing to his ego. He told the AV Club, “They couldn’t find anyone who could do it. I was shooting seven days a week with no rest
and working on two different things. It was crazy.” Tuco’s demise Tuco’s demise was shocking, but even more
surprising is the fact that it was Cruz himself who asked the producers of Breaking Bad to
eliminate the character. Why? Partly because of his grueling filming schedule,
but also because there was at least one prominent fan of the show who really disliked the character:
Cruz’s wife. Cruz told Rotten Tomatoes, “My wife hated it. She hated Tuco. She hated the energy. Tuco is this wild beast. My wife is like, ‘Get away from me.'” Tuco might be tough, but he’s no match for
an unhappy wife.


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