He’s one of “those guys.” An actor you see in TV and film projects whose name you just can’t quite remember, and there’s a reason for that. Up until now, Banks played slight roles in films like Beverly Hills Cop and the late ’80s TV series Wiseguy. Until his star turn as Gus Fring’s enforcer Mike Ehrmantraut in AMC’s Breaking Bad, it’s likely you couldn’t name one project he was in.
But, that’s all changed. Jonathan Banks is now a prime-time player on one of TV’s best dramas to date, and in this fifth and final season of the acclaimed series, Banks’ Mike is taking center stage much the same way Banks is taking the spotlight from perennial stars Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston (no easy feat as both have won Emmys for their roles).
He’s not nominated for an Emmy this year, but with the amount of time his character Mike is receiving this season, coupled with Banks’ propensity to imbue you with sheer terror by a mere stare, it’d be hard — and criminal — to overlook this 40-year veteran of show business come awards season next year. But who is this Jonathan Banks? Here are five facts about him you may have not known:
•If it weren’t for Linda’s menstruation he wouldn’t be here. Well, Linda’s Film on Menstruation, to be exact. This 18-minute film, in which a 27-year-old Banks plays boyfriend to a supposed 15-year-old during her first “leaky-time,” could probably be classified under the educational-horror genre. The droopy eyes, the slow drawl; it’s all there, unrefined but just as charming. Also, check out how much Banks looks like Frank Stallone.
•Jonathan banks likes yelling out of car windows. When his BB character, Mike, speaks through gritted teeth, you get the sense that you should probably do as he says. But check out this clip from Banks back when he played Frank McPike in the late 80’s TV show, Wiseguy. Who knew Mike had a set of pipes on him? And BTW, if you take the ‘cP’ out of McPike, guess what you get?
•He’s already been nominated for an Emmy. His wisecracking Frank McPike on Wiseguy was a precursor to his portrayal of Mike on Breaking Bad (Frank McPike is a policeman, Mike is a former policeman). Check out Banks speaking candidly about the show and its nuances in this 2009 interview.
•Banks does comedy too. He’s not just an actor on one Emmy-nominated show, he’s on two (Modern Family, Breaking Bad). Add that to the fact that Wiseguy also racked up Emmy nominations in the ’80s, and this guy is a TV show awards luck-charm.
•Banks’ mom was in the CIA. She was in it so deep that every so often, shadowy men would come and speak to his family’s neighbors. Hmm … could this be an elaborate angle cooked up by “Heisenberg”?