Breaking Bad star Bob Odenkirk discusses how the show helped him avoid bankruptcy
Bob Odenkirk’s career has been one of the most exciting in Hollywood. The actor began his career in comedy and is best known for the sketch series Mr. Show, which he co-created with David Cross in the 1990s. When Odenkirk began playing Saul Goodman in the award-winning series Breaking Bad, he rose to new levels of stardom, which led to a spin-off starring Odenkirk, You Better Call Saul, which recently concluded production on its last season. In a recent interview with Howard Stern, Odenkirk stated that Breaking Bad saved him from bankruptcy.
“I spent a lot of time working on feature films.” They weren’t spectacular, I wasn’t well compensated for them, I enjoyed directing them, and I generally lacked guidance. I had no vision for these things or for my career as a director. As a result, I found myself in a money pit. My business manager called me one morning and said, “You have to sign this loan to stay afloat.” Howard, that was an odd phone call. I had small children and a happy life, and I was working and inventing new products when I got this phone call at this Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases.”
Odenkirk went on to explain that he was unaware of the loan, which prompted him to seek advice from another business owner, who advised him to continue working in order to generate money, so he “stopped being fussy” and his “arrogant self.” “I told them, ‘Work is work,’ and they replied, ‘Let’s do it,'” Odenkirk told Stern.
He got the offer for Breaking Bad after roughly a year and a half of taking any work that came his way. “I double-checked anyhow.” I was nevertheless curious about the show.” Reid Harrison, the actor’s friend, informed him, “Oh, this is the best program on TV, you have to do this.” And the rest, as they say, is history!
Last month, Odenkirk praised “the extraordinary band of people” behind You Better Call Saul’s two-part, 13-episode finale, which will premiere this year on AMC and AMC+.
On Instagram, Odenkirk posted, “An great team of folks concluded filming ‘Better Call Saul’ in Albuquerque, NM yesterday.” “It all began in 2014, with brilliant writing leading the way, and despite numerous hurdles, our energy and focus never faltered. It has been an honor to be a part of it.”
The first seven episodes of Better Call Saul: The Final Season Part 1 will broadcast on April 18 on AMC. When The Last Season Part 2 begins on July 11, the series will return with its final six episodes.
The Long Road to Serious Success for Bob Odenkirk
When Bob Odenkirk’s agent initially approached him about portraying an oily bus-stop ad lawyer named Saul Goodman on “Breaking Bad” — a little-watched cable program in its second season at the time — Odenkirk hadn’t seen a minute of it, let alone heard about it. He, on the other hand, gladly accepted the job.
He couldn’t say no to good job, even if it was a little part that would only last a few episodes. He exclaimed, “I needed money!” Odenkirk’s background was in comedy, where he achieved a dual status of fame and obscurity. He studied improv with Del Close, a visionary teacher, and performed in front of sold-out crowds at Second City with friends like Chris Farley. He contributed to the creation of sketches that helped define the “Saturday Night Live” era in the 1990s. He did both for “The Ben Stiller Show” (excellent and canceled even more quickly) and for “Mr. Show,” a cult hit that he created for HBO in 1995 with his friend David Cross. He acted on “The Larry Sanders Show” (excellent and underseen), wrote for “Get a Life” (excellent and canceled swiftly), and did both for “The Ben Stiller Show” (excellent and canceled even more swiftly). When it ended after four seasons, Odenkirk tried directing feature films with mixed results, failed to get a slew of other projects off the ground, and shifted his focus to coaching younger comedians who shared his passion for sketch comedy.
When the offer came in 2009, he flew from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, watching “Breaking Bad” for the first time on the plane — about a mild-mannered New Mexico chemistry teacher named Walter White who receives a terminal cancer diagnosis and, in the midlife crisis that follows, becomes a coldly calculating meth kingpin — “I didn’t even see the whole show, but I didn’t need to,” Odenkirk said. He also didn’t bother memorizing the reams of cascading, hucksterish language that writer Peter Gould had written for him, knowing that by the time he was on set, these lines would have been drastically reduced.
That was not the case. And, 12 years later, Odenkirk was still in Albuquerque, still playing Saul Goodman, on a Friday night in December. The role had not only changed his life, but had also commandeered it in a substantial and not-unwelcome way.