By Jackie Moe
Arm hairs raise and hearts pound every time the dead-eyed, axe-bearing, murderous Marco Salamanca and his twin brother, Leonel, are on screen in the superhit AMC series’ Breaking Bad and its prequel hit series Better Call Saul.
Which is why it was nearly mind-blowing when chatting with Luis Moncada — the real man behind the fictional Mexican drug cartel character Marco — and experience his engaging, infectious laughter, and lively, loving nature.
Although they play cousins on the show, the Honduras-born and California-raised Luis and his brother Daniel (“Leonel”) are actually brothers, and very different from their silent–yet-deadly characters. Moncada also says he is just as much of a fan of the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul series as its millions of viewers are.
Moncada shares he indeed had a rough past — including being a former gang member and going to prison for driving a stolen vehicle at age 18 — but he says it was his past that led him to where he is today. Now, Moncada volunteers at youth prison camps, telling his story to inspire youths.
On the brink of the premiere of the final season of Better Call Saul (airing April 18), Moncada shares his excitement for the series finale — fans, be prepared to have your mind blown, he says — as well as how to perfect the dead-eyed Salamanca twin look, his love for both casts, the challenges of filming the final BCS season during the Covid-19 pandemic, how he got his big break, and future projects and plans.