Bob Odenkirk was almost the villain in Billy Madison

Adam Sandler eyed up Bob Odenkirk for the villain role in Billy Madison, even writing the part with him in mind — but it wasn't meant to be

billy madison

Bob Odenkirk might be famous these days for his TV series role as sleazy Saul Goodman — but if Adam Sandler had it his way, the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul star would have had a major role in the ‘90s movie Billy Madison.

In a live episode of David Spade and Dana Carvey’s Fly on the Wall podcast, the comedy movie actor revealed that the villain role in Billy Madison — devious, money-hungry Eric Gordon — was actually written with Odenkirk in mind. “Billy Madison, we wrote that for Bob Odenkirk,” Sandler revealed. “We wrote that for Bob Odenkirk — the bad guy in the movie.”

At the time, Odenkirk was an acclaimed comedy writer for Saturday Night Live. He was also known for his work on Mr. Show with Bob and David as well as The Ben Stiller Show.  However, despite Sandler’s faith in Odenkirk’s comedic prowess, he recalled how “the fucking studio wouldn’t allow” him to cast Bob.

“They were like, ‘You can’t just have your friends’ and we were like ‘No, he’s fucking great!'” Sandler added. As he headed to Toronto to prepare for Billy Madison, the role of Eric Gordon still wasn’t cast. With Universal insistent that Sandler auditioned people for the role, he revealed on the podcast that they ended up auditioning Hunger Games star Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Sandler said Hoffman’s audition had him “laughing [his] ass off,” and so with Universal’s blessing, they went to offer him the role. Only problem is that he didn’t want it. When pressed by Sandler for a reason, Hoffman said he “just didn’t really want to.” Awkward.

Bradley Whitford ended up taking on the role and doing a brilliant job, but given how big Bob Odenkirk is now, we bet Universal are kicking themselves. Find out more about Odenkirk in our Better Call Saul season 6 guide, and for more Adam Sandler content, check out our guide to the best Adam Sandler movies.