For his last run starring in “Better Call Saul,” AMC’s critically adored “Breaking Bad” prequel, Emmy voters gave Bob Odenkirk a formidable parting present — his fifth lead actor nomination within the present’s six seasons. “Saul,” which can conclude on Aug. 15 (it returned earlier this week after a break), earned seven nominations in whole, together with for greatest drama sequence and, for Odenkirk’s co-star, Rhea Seehorn, supporting actress in a drama sequence.
In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Odenkirk mentioned how the ethically challenged lawyer he portrays has advanced over the seasons, what’s in retailer for the sequence finale and whether or not “Saul” is best than “Breaking Bad.” These are edited excerpts for the dialog.
Congratulations! How are you doing?
I’m doing [expletive] nice. I actually am. I’m very comfortable, very stunned.
What went via your head once you heard the information?
You should keep in mind what went via my head within the weeks earlier than, which is we’ve been off the air for thus lengthy attributable to Covid and my coronary heart assault. Additionally, I believe in some individuals’s minds, the present is an extension of “Breaking Bad,” so it feels prefer it’s been on the air for 15 years. With so many fantastic new exhibits, I believed there was a superb shot we’d be ignored. So I’m so grateful individuals observed that we’re again on the air and that they appear to be saying the present is pretty much as good because it has been prior to now. And clearly that Rhea obtained nominated. I’ve been grateful for each nomination I’ve obtained, but it surely’s been arduous to assume that the individual I’m principally appearing with in these actually difficult scenes will not be being observed, or not being acknowledged. It’s simply so a lot better to get to share this together with her.
It’s your fifth time being nominated for “Saul.” Has that settled in but?
I by no means took it with no consideration. It was all the time a shock. Certainly the primary two years, I couldn’t consider it. But I believe this implies extra. I’ve a richer appreciation for the individuals, the extent of high quality that the writers have introduced and the present has saved up. All the actors and all of the expertise. It means rather a lot to me as a result of we got here out of “Breaking Bad,” one of the good sequence of all time, and it’s all the time been my objective to not drop the ball and to maintain up the extent of requirements.
The Return of ‘Better Call Saul’
The “Breaking Bad” prequel is ending this yr.
The last season of the present returned this week. Is it unusual to be celebrating whereas the present is on the air?
Not in any respect. In reality, it feels extra proper. It’s higher than feeling like, Oh, it’s executed. That was what it was. It looks like there’s a lot great things coming. It makes me really feel like we’re incomes it for the following month. Next week’s episode goes to be a celebration of this.
Before “Saul,” you have been greatest often known as a comedic actor. Now you’re well-known for this dramatic position. What has the present executed on your profession?
The present has challenged me like nothing else in my life, definitely professionally. And it’s proven me the rewards of appearing, and of difficult appearing. Acting for me is rewarding when it’s arduous, once you actually should push your self and dig deep and lose your self within the position. That’s once you really feel such as you’ve executed one thing significant. So I need to keep up a correspondence with that. I’d additionally love to do some enjoyable comedy once more, however not solely. I positively need to maintain working within the enviornment that I’m in and that put me right here.
When you first thought of the present, did considering of your self as a number one man come naturally?
You know, I attempted not to consider it an excessive amount of. I kind of handled it like each different position however with extra strains. And I had rather a lot extra strains than in something I’d ever executed. But it was only a kind of compartmentalization mechanism to attempt to carry on doing it and not likely take that in. It wasn’t till the billboards went up after the primary season that it actually hit me that I’m the lead on this pretty massive present. And that’s after I began to sweat.
This season, we’re seeing the final levels of Jimmy’s transformation into Saul. What did you see within the character or attempt to deliver to the character that wasn’t there in earlier seasons?
One factor [the creators of “Better Call Saul”] Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have proven us is that all the pieces’s private. In the top, the factor that makes you select what you’ll do, the place you’ll go, who you’ll be, could be very deeply, deeply private. It’s not a plan you can also make. You observe your instincts and damage emotions as you select your path ahead.
I’ve all the time felt that Jimmy had a really excessive emotional intelligence, however he didn’t get to use that to himself. Who am I and what am I doing and why have I executed what I’ve executed? I really feel like he’s all the time hidden and run from that sort of considering. I believe my favourite factor about this season is that they grant him the chance to try this. In the finale, with out stepping into it in any respect particularly, he does get that self consciousness and I actually respect that. Playing him was arduous at instances as a result of of the best way he refused to look at his personal selections.
How are you feeling about saying goodbye to the present at this level?
I’ll have the ability to reply that query after I see the season finale. I believe I have to see that story come to some conclusion. Obviously, I do know what occurs. But I’ve been dwelling with this man for 12 years; I’ve been coming to and from Albuquerque enjoying Saul Goodman for 12 years. So it’s simply not actual in my head but that I’m strolling away from him.
The present has notably grown in estimation over time, to the purpose that some now debate whether or not “Saul” is definitely higher than “Breaking Bad.” Where do you come down on that query?
I believe “Breaking Bad” is a extra common form of story. It’s a midlife disaster and the hazards are extra placing — there’s extra weapons flying round and the primary character is interacting with drug sellers virtually instantly. That’s simply not the case in our present. Our present is extra inside. It’s an odder journey. It features a lot of the ins-and-outs of being a lawyer. It’s simply going to be much less relatable as a result of of the subject material. But, in a gorgeous stroke of arduous work and genius, the writers have discovered methods to get individuals to grasp some of the tensions and pressures these characters face and relate that to their very own private journeys.
The stunning factor is that Vince Gilligan and the writing crew from “Breaking Bad” confirmed an viewers the worth of watching one thing intently. And then they took that viewers they usually took that funding they usually mentioned, “Now we’re going to make a show that you have to watch very closely.” You couldn’t do this if you happen to didn’t first make “Breaking Bad.” A present like ours wouldn’t have been in a position to exist.