When opportunity calls you better be ready to answer. Bob Odenkirk was more than ready back in 2009 when he was called on to portray Saul Goodman, the criminal attorney (in more ways than one) who became one of the most memorable Breaking Bad characters. Odenkirk dialed in to the character’s despicable charms so well, in fact, that he consistently stole scenes on a show that many critics now routinely describe as television’s pinnacle achievement in episodic drama.
The legacy of that past and the tantalizing possibilities of the future were the primary topics of focus for the Better Call Saul panel at Deadline’s recent The Contenders Emmys awards-season event. The Q&A was the most intimate of the day – Odenkirk and Deadline’s Dominic Patten were the only two panelists – but it may have also ranked among the most raucous with fan-favorite Odenkirk in fine (and funny) form.
“He’s a guy trying to find his place in the world,” Odenkirk said. “I always felt like Breaking Bad was a bit more of a universal scenario. My friend Jeff Garlin says, ‘It’s a midlife crisis!’ He’s got financial and family pressures and stuff, and when Saul started I thought, ‘It’s such an odd guy and such an idiosyncratic world of needs and desires.’ But of course many people do take many years to find their place where they can be themselves in the fullest way they can contribute at work and in relationships and feel important and necessary. And that’s been his journey. And I think that is a universal experience.”
In the Better Call Saul clip that precedes the panel footage, the character has a moment of transformation by fully embracing his fabricated name and revealing its etymological origins (“Saul Goodman” = “S’all good, man”). Patten noted that with the embrace of the fake name, Odenkirk’s lawyer is almost to the point where it will “hand off” the narrative to Breaking Bad.
Odenkirk was coy about the details of the next iteration of the role, but he did repeat one emphatic sentiment several times: “I can’t wait.”
Check out the conversation in the video above.
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