TV Junkie Interview: Bob Odenkirk of AMC's 'Breaking Bad'
Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman in AMC's "Breaking Bad". The season finale airs this coming Sunday at 10pm.
If you've watched TV over the past 20 years, chances are you've seen a lot of Bob Odenkirk's work. He's been a writer on "Saturday Night Live" (Chris Farley's "Matt Foley, motivational speaker who lives in a van down by the river" is one of Odenkirk's "SNL" creations), he was the co-creator and co-host with David Cross of HBO's incredible "Mr. Show with Bob and David", and after acting and writing his way through scores of other shows he's been an integral part of the last two seasons of AMC's "Breaking Bad" as Saul Goodman, the sleazeball lawyer who will do anything for his client.We had a chance to ask Odenkirk how he he makes Saul tick and how he go into this celebrated show. The season finale of "Breaking Bad" airs this coming Sunday night at 10pm on AMC - don't miss it.
TheTVJunkie: We're big "Mr. Show" fans from way back. It's been amazing to watch your journey from those days to something like "Breaking Bad".
Bob Odenkirk: I'm as amazed as anyone.
TheTVJunkie: I talked to series creator Vince Gilligan several weeks ago and I understand that you're an active participant in fleshing out the character of Saul Goodman.
Bob Odenkirk: [Laughs] He's giving me a lot of credit there. They gave me the part, the part was written, but I've enjoyed filling him out and trying to be him. One of the writers, Peter Gould, who wrote the episode that Saul first appeared in, he and I have done a couple things on the side like the Better Call Saul website andthis Entertainment Weekly article, we have fun writing the character, although when we do it it's for purely comic reasons. As far as the show goes, I get the script, and I act like I'm an actor and I try to figure out who this guy is and why he talks the way he does and how to do it so that it's fun to watch.
TheTVJunkie: I'm sure every community in the US has the equivalent late night TV lawyer advertising although I bet people wish that they were remotely as flamboyant and entertaining as Saul Goodman.
Bob Odenkirk: There's a guy with a billboard on Sunset Blvd. right now who is really hilarious and I pointed it out to my son, I said "Nate, look, it's Saul Goodman!" although this guy is bald. It's a huge billboard, it's so loud, it's yellow, and he's huge on it, you can't miss it.
TheTVJunkie: I think "Breaking Bad" viewers really look forward to the scenes with Saul because other than some dark humor in season one, your character is the only one who provides some comedic relief, a break from this show where people are going through some fairly horrible experiences. Saul is a tension reliever and is beloved because of that.
Bob Odenkirk: I think you're right. I think Saul is in the midst of everything but he doesn't nearly have as much at stake. I bring a lighter and more playful energy because Saul is playing in the situation, playing with these guys like a cat plays with mice, you know, they're getting all beat up and torn to shreds and he's having a good time. Whenever people tell me that they like the show they tell me they like my character because he's funny. But, you know, he's really not funny like "Mr. Show" funny, he's funny and he's lighter because the stakes are so much lower for him. The stakes are so high for Mr. White and Jesse, and the stakes for Saul are to just carry on the way he's going or maybe he'll make a million dollars if this turns out well.
TheTVJunkie: You get the feeling from Saul's confidence that even if things don't turn out well for everybody else, he's going to be able to walk away from this.
Bob Odenkirk: I'm really interested in seeing how things are going to end. There's a chance that he'll come away unscathed, but I don't think he will. Every time I get a script I look to see if I get killed in it [laughs], I supposed everyone in the show does, including Bryan (Cranston). We'll see what happens. I can tell you that the stakes go up a bit for him.
TheTVJunkie: We're hopeful that the show gets picked up for another season, what with the back to back Emmys for Bryan Cranston and it seems like the show has really exploded this year.
Bob Odenkirk: I think Bryan should go for the hat-trick this year and I think you're right about the show picking up - the DVR and DVD numbers are showing that many more people are jumping into it and that will happen even more as we finish up this great season.
TheTVJunkie: What else is going with Bob Odenkirk?
Bob Odenkirk: I've written a pilot for FX for myself, it's going to be really fun, it's more similar to "Mr. Show" but somewhere between that and "The Larry Sanders Show". So we'll see what happens as I think they're going to have me shoot that. I'm also trying to write a movie!
TheTVJunkie: How about some live appearances?
Bob Odenkirk: I'm also doing some festivals this summer, the Chicago Comedy Festival and Just For Laughs in Montreal with this show that I developed with my wife called "The Not Inappropriate Show". These are sketches that were written for the stage, a lot were written at The Groundlings but they're not inappropriate for young people, you can bring your kids to it, they'll love it, it's not crude or anything like that. We're taking a bunch of Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade people and it's going to be a lot of fun. We basically did it for our kids who are 9 and 11, they love "Monty Python" and "Saturday Night Live" and it's just perfect for them, you should definitely check it out - we'll be performing it in LA again later this year.
The season finale of "Breaking Bad" airs this coming Sunday night at 10pm on AMC