With the 5th season of Better Call Saul only weeks away from our hungry eyes, I got the opportunity to chat with the Saul Goodman actor himself, Bob Odenkirk. On top of his insights into the madness we’re about to see in season 5, he also talked about his work with weirdo comedians, Tim & Eric.
At the end of Better Call Saul‘s previous season, we finally see Jimmy McGill‘s transition to the sleazy lawyer we know from Breaking Bad become complete, as he gets his law licence back and makes the decision to practice under the name Saul Goodman. Bob says this OG Goodman is the easiest version of the character to play.
“I mean, that’s the simplest version of the character, the Breaking Bad guy,” he told PEDESTRIAN.TV. “He’s just committed to playing a character he’s calling Saul Goodman who is ethically bereft and just does whatever serves him in the moment, and so it’s actually an easy character to play.”
“It also tends to be a funny character because he’s kind of got the world at arm’s length when he’s Saul Goodman, and he can make jokes about it all and be very flippant because he doesn’t seem to care about anyone.”
Breaking Bad was a pretty intricate show in itself, so keeping a prequel spinoff on track has to be pretty tricky. While Bob says he’s not the arbiter of making sure everything’s in check, he does need a hand remembering things from the team every now and then.
“There are times when I don’t know where the character’s head is at and I don’t know where he is in the journey and I have to call [executive producer] Peter Gould and have it explained to me,” he said. There are also people in charge of teaching the story so that it’s chronologically accurate, as well as folks who keep tabs on finer details like costumes, hair, etc.
Each season of Better Call Saul starts with a black and white flash-forward to Goodman living life after the events of Breaking Bad. With the 6th season slated to be its last, it looks like we’ll probably get some closure on the lawyer’s ultimate fate. Just don’t ask Bob how it’s gonna end for him because he doesn’t know, and that’s the way he likes it.
“It’s an utter mystery to me,” he said. “They offer to tell me stuff but I always say ‘no thank you’, I just wanna know what the character’s experiencing in the moment.”
When it comes to other characters in the Breaking Bad universe who deserve a spinoff – a question I once asked Better Call Saul creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould – Bob reckons he’d like to see what Jesse’s up to post-El Camino.
“Well, this is very weird, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Jesse in Alaska,” he said. “I’d love to see what his life is like there.”
“I don’t know what happens with the Kim character during the Breaking Bad years, but that might be a character that would be fun to watch post-Better Call Saul,” he added.
If you’re a fan of the wacky Adult Swim series Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job, you’ll probably recall Bob appearing in a number of its sketches over the years. He even served as a creative consultant on the show. Being such a strange concept to pitch to anyone, the story of how Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim got him on board has to be good, right?
Folks, it absolutely is.
“They sent me a DVD in the mail, blind, you know, I didn’t know who they were,” he said. “I don’t usually open mail that comes to me from a fan or someone I don’t know, I usually just throw it in the garbage. You really can’t get involved in that stuff. But for some reason on this one day I opened it up and there’s a video, a DVD, and along with it they had an itemized bill for the DVD and mailing [it] and everything.”
“The itemised bill made me laugh so hard. It’s really funny.”
He’s right. It’s hilarious. Of course, this was enough to get him to watch the DVD.
“It was really great stuff, it was really weird stuff, as you know, but it all came from the same sort of mentality. And so I figured these guys were kind of onto something so I gave them a call and from there we did all the stuff that we did together and I helped them get their career started,” he said.
“And I’m really really really glad I did it because they’ve just made me laugh so much over the years and my son is a huge fan of theirs and they’ve just given me so much joy. It’s insane.”
There you have it, folks. How to pitch an idea to Bob Odenkirk.
Better Call Saul Season 5 premieres only on Stan with special back-to-back episodes on 24 and 25 February, with new episodes weekly – the same day as the US.Image: Adult Swim / AMC