'Breaking Bad' star never thought Super Bowl ad would ever happen

"Instead of Breaking Bad, we're breaking into something good," Raymond Cruz says

Raymond Cruz's Tuco Salamanca may have died in Season 2 of Breaking Bad but thanks to this year's Super Bowl and Frito-Lay's PopCorners, he's reunited with Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul).

“I never thought this would ever happen, not in my wildest dreams,” Cruz told Yahoo Canada, ahead of the big game on Sunday. “To be able to re-experience the character in the universe of Breaking Bad, I never thought it would happen ever again.”

“It’s a little daunting, the idea that you’ve got to recreate the character, ... but their twist on the storyline is so funny. We come in and instead of Breaking Bad, we're breaking into something good. We're breaking into this wholesome chip.”

Directed by Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul creator Vince Gilligan, we're transported back to that iconic RV in the "Breaking Good" ad. This time, Heisenberg has something different to bring to Tuco in the desert. Instead of methamphetamine, they've been cooking the air-popped PopCorners snacks.

"We’re going to eat a lot of snacks together," Salamanca says, with his sinister laugh, after sampling the product.

“For Vince Gilligan to recreate the universe, it was as if we'd never left the set of Breaking Bad,” Cruz said. “They brought the iconic RV for the commercial, I was wearing the exact same wardrobe that we used on the show, which is fantastic. I had the same chain that they had with the boxing gloves on it.”

“That just brought it all back for me. Then to work with Aaron and with Bryan Cranston, and Vince Gilligan directing the piece, was just amazing. It was very surreal, because it really felt that no time had passed, and that we were back on the set.”

Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Raymond Cruz in Frito-Lay's PopCorners Breaking Bad Super Bowl Commercial
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Raymond Cruz in Frito-Lay's PopCorners Breaking Bad Super Bowl Commercial

Cruz has been quite open about the difficulty of playing the lethal Tuco. He equated the return to the character to "pulling a knife out of your chest."

“The idea of stepping back into the role is like pulling a knife out of your chest, because the part is so hard to pull off,” Cruz said. “Luckily, myself as an actor, I keep track of every role I've ever done, I write everything down, so I know exactly how I build the character, and how I made it walk and talk.”

“You think once you finish a role, it's done. When I was killed on Breaking Bad, I thought that's it, I'm done. ... Bam, they do Better Call Saul and they jump back in time. You get a better sense of the character because it's like an onion, you peel off layers and you see there's more and more to him than what you just originally thought.”

When it comes to what makes the Breaking Bad universe so appealing to fans, Cruz believes it boils down to a man "trying to do something to make a difference in his life."

“I think the storyline of a man who's at his wit's end, who has no other options and he takes this drastic measure to save his life, it's the desperation," Cruz said. "Then it's the dream, it's the caring about your family, ... I think fans get on his side and they want it to work out for him."

"For him to have to confront somebody like Tuco Salamanca is like facing a dragon. ... How does he get out of it? How does he do it? How does it work? And then he constantly has these challenges.”