Bob Odenkirk Q and A

Matt: How much Bob is in Saul?

Bob: It’s all on the page.  I just find it and play it. I‘ve done a lot of writing and comedy, but I promise you every word I say is on the page.  Every word.

Matt: How was Saul described to you when you took the role?

Bob: I called Vince and he goes he’s a sleazy lawyer, and I go I can do that. And then he goes his name is Saul Goodman and I go whoa whoa whoa just so you know I’m not Jewish. My kids are Jewish, my wife is Jewish, but I’m not Jewish.  He goes he’s not Jewish; he just changed his name to appeal to the gangsters and homeboys.  He’s Irish.  I said oh good I’m half Irish I can do that.

Matt: How would you describe Saul’s style? 

Bob: He looks like a clown including the colors of his suits, clown colors. If a clown wore a suit, that’s what he’d wear. He knows how to manipulate the system and keep his clients out of court essentially.  They never go to court.

Matt: How has Saul’s relationship changed with Walter? Bob: Well, I had everything at arms length.  Saul Did.  This whole mysterious activity was kept at arms length and I was just the lawyer. I  didn’t want heat about what he was doing. As the show has progressed Saul has been dragged in to the dark end of this activity and he really doesn’t want to go there. The whole point of this was he was going to stand back and manipulate the situation and make a lot of money. But he is in it now and he wants out, but he’s past the point of getting out.  He’s scared of Walt and he should be. Walt is really transformed.  He’s a pretty awful guy now.  So Saul is not just out to make a lot of money, he’s out to stay a live.  His self-interest is a little more empathetic.  I guess watch him protect himself and watch him wheedle his way out of a straight jacket. And I hope he gets out by the way.

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Matt: There’s only 16 episodes of Breaking Bad left, are they all in the can?


Bob: We shot eight episodes that will start to play in two or three weeks and then we will shoot eight more starting in November and through March.  I don’t know when those will play but probably similar to a week or two after we stop shooting.


Matt: Why have two smaller seasons instead of one regular length season ? 


Bob: I think that Vince Gilligan didn’t want to stretch the show out more than what he envisioned. The arc of the characters are the core of the show, and for Walt  it’s the journey of Mr. Chips to Scarface.  The character’s tendencies are getting more evil.  He kind of warps and twerps and evolves.  You can really go so far.  You can’t keep backtracking and having him find his conscience again or be in touch with his inner self again.  Most series, the character doesn’t fundamentally change; that’s kind of like the core of TV, you get to watch the same people do the same thing.  He couldn’t go forever twisting and turning so I think he has this sixteen left in him and that’s’ what he wants.


Matt: What’s the biggest challenge of wrapping up the show?

The challenge is how to get everything in to the last eight because all these characters have to have some kind of comeuppance.  That’s a lot of people. I mean not so much Saul or Skylar or Walter White Jr.  These people, when everything blows up, however it blows, I can’t really tell you.


Matt: Do you know how it all ends?


Bob: Not only do I not know how it ends, I don’t know how this season ends. They redact the scripts and they blackout key passages in the dialogue and actions in the last three episodes for us as actors, so we don’t know what happens.


Matt: Were you a fan of the show when you joined the cast?


Bob: I started at the end of the second season and only signed up for three episodes. I ‘d  never seen it but my agent said “you got to say yes to this one it’s a great show.” The first guy I called I asked what do you know about the show Breaking Bad. He goes, “Oh My G-d! That’s my favorite show on television, that’s amazing.”  It was crazy that the first person I got. The awareness of the show really grew exponentially in the last five years because people watch it on DVD, so people watch all four season over a weekend.



Matt: Did you research any shady lawyers for the role?


Bob: You know what? I didn’t go to lawyers but I did go Hollywood agents.  Hollywood agents are  kind of chess players.  They’re arms length from the product, which in showbiz is TV or movies, but in breaking bad is meth.  They’re arms length from their product but they stand to gain a lot by manipulating it in the right way.  They’re kind of cavalier because they’re arms length. They can kind of sit back and be entertained by the whole imbroglio.  You shouldn’t use a word like imbroglio in this car.  They could get really intense about things, but in the end they just laugh it off because they never get the brunt of a bad choice they could just move on to the next product. And it’s like with Saul.  Saul isn’t going to go to jail, or at least that’s what he thought.  He’s like I’m not going to jail.  You’re the one who’s doing the activity all I got to do is manipulate you.  If you get caught and I can’t protect you, well, I’ll wish you luck. There’s a similarity there of gaining the system and having the consequences not applied directly to you. Either way I make money and  move on to the next one.


Matt: What’s the vibe on set with the show coming to an end?


Bob: People are sad.  People are already missing it and everyone has always treasured it from the beginning.  They’re all or most of them are veterans and they know how rare it is for them to have such a great show.  But they were already talking about how this is a high point of careers for all of us.  This is one of the high points.


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