'Better Call Saul' is one of the most consistently brilliant shows on television, but star Bob Odenkirk says starring in the show made him push himself and "dig deep".
Odenkirk is celebrating his 5th Emmy nomination for playing television's most famous lawyer, and with the show wrapping up, Odenkirk admits he will find it difficult to let go of the character he has given so much of his life towards.
Speaking to The New York Times' Reggie Ugwu, Odenkrk said "the show has challenged me like nothing else in my life, certainly professionally. And it’s shown me the rewards of acting, and of challenging acting."
"Acting for me is rewarding when it’s hard, when you really have to push yourself and dig deep and lose yourself in the role. That’s when you feel like you’ve done something meaningful."
Odenkirk admitted he will find it difficult to leave Saul Goodman behind, noting he has been playing the character for 12 years.
"I’ve been living with this guy for 12 years; I’ve been coming to and from Albuquerque playing Saul Goodman for 12 years. So it’s just not real in my head yet that I’m walking away from him," he said.
Prior to his scene-stealing turn as Saul Goodman on 'Breaking Bad', Odenkirk was known to a generation of comedy fans for his cult HBO sketch comedy 'Mr Show', and Odenkirk admits he has a fondness for dramatic roles.
"I’d also like to do some fun comedy again, but not solely. I definitely want to keep working in the arena that I’m in and that put me here."
'Better Call Saul' was Odenkirk's first leading role in a dramatic project, and said he "tried not to think too much" about the pressures that came with the role.
"I sort of treated it like every other role but with more lines. And I had a lot more lines than in anything I’d ever done. But it was just a sort of compartmentalisation mechanism to try to carry on doing it and not really take that in."
"It wasn’t until the billboards went up after the first season that it really hit me that I’m the lead in this fairly big show, and that’s when I started to sweat," he said.
Odenkirk was among the ensemble in Steven Spielberg's Oscar-nominated drama 'The Post' in 2017, and made a memorable appearance as Father March in Greta Gerwig's adaptation of 'Little Women' in 2019.
The star who brought Saul Goodman to life also turned his hand to being an action hero in the 2021 flick 'Nobody', which saw Odenkirk in action man mode.
Debate is raging among fans and critics alike whether 'Breaking Bad' or 'Better Call Saul' is the better show, and Odenkirk has weighed in on the debate.
"I think 'Breaking Bad' is a more universal kind of story. It’s a midlife crisis and the dangers are more striking — there are more guns flying around and the main character is interacting with drug dealers almost immediately."
"That’s just not the case in our show. Our show is more internal. It’s an odder journey. It includes a lot of the ins-and-outs of being a lawyer."
Odenkirk gave the edge to 'Breaking Bad', saying it laid the groundwork for what 'Better Call Saul' was going to become.
"The beautiful thing is that Vince Gilligan and the writing crew from 'Breaking Bad' showed an audience the value of watching something closely. And then they took that audience and they took that investment and they said, “Now we’re going to make a show that you have to watch very closely.”
"You couldn’t do that if you didn’t first make 'Breaking Bad' - a show like ours wouldn’t have been able to exist," he stated.