The character played by Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman), both in Breaking Bad and in Better Call Saul, his way of being, his scenes, his essence was decisive for the success of both productions, in an interview with this actor he commented on what which he considers to be the fundamental reason why they achieved fame with these shows on the Netflix platform.
Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul are a couple of series that have become unstoppable hits since their respective launches. Both feature actor Bob Odenkirk who came from the world of comedy and never thought he would be better known as a dramatic actor. We saw him on the prestigious show Saturday Night Live and on the comedy sketch show Mr. Show, to now become one of the most sought after artists in the dramatic genre.
For Odenkirk, what helped make Breaking Bad a massive audience, critical success, and worthy of a prequel series was definitely the bittersweet character he got to play with Saul Goodman. Odenkirk recounted in an interview that he was inspired by the memoirs of famous Hollywood producer Robert Evans, especially the voice he used, which influenced the tonality that has made Saul Goodman such a special character.
In an interview he recounted how his agent called him on the phone and told him: “They are going to offer you a role in Breaking Bad. Do not say no. It’s the kind of role for which someone wins an Emmy.” Still somewhat incredulous, he had to call a friend to ask him if he knew about the series and he told him that it was the best television program and that was when he decided to accept the role that catapulted to current fame, thanks to the series.
However, Bob Odenkirk was a bit surprised that he was being cast in a dramatic role, having been in comedy for years. According to the producers of the series such as Peter Gould, precisely the character that Odenkirk would finally play came from comedy. The idea for the character of Saul Goodman came about early in Season 2 when the writers wanted Jesse and Walt to go to a lawyer, and for co-creator/executive producer Vince Gilligan this boiled down to a very specific figure.
“One day, Vince walks in and says, ‘What if the lawyer they go to is a guy named ‘Saul Good’ and he’s some kind of con man himself?’ And then one of the other writers was like, ‘Well, Saul Goodman.’ And then someone else was like, ‘Well, what if I had a ‘LWYRUP’ plaque?'” Peter told The Ringer. “And we started having fun talking about this character. Pretty soon the idea of the bus benches and all the different things he gets into started to materialize, but they were all in service of the Walter White story. We weren’t adding him .because we thought it would be a fun spin-off character.”
The thing to always remember is that even in the darkest of dramas, there is comedy. This component was decisive in choosing Bob. They found the exact and necessary balance between the drama and comedy genres that were sought to give Breaking Bad a very specific tone that continues in Better Call Saul.
“There’s always a comedic element to both shows,” said Peter Gould “And we always say it’s a bit like peanut butter and chocolate. They make each other taste better. And I think, if there’s a secret recipe for both shows I think that’s part of it. Because the drama makes the comedy funnier. I don’t think the comedy on either show stands as comedy on its own, but the comedy certainly makes the drama more dramatic.”