From Breaking Bad to Better Call Saul, Bob Odenkirk has been playing crooked lawyer Saul Goodman on TV series’ for over a decade. But as Better Call Saul finally comes to an end later on in 2022, Odenkirk has revealed in a new interview with the New York Times that he’s finally ready to leave the iconic character behind and move on to pastures new.
During the interview, Odenkirk said that while he had previously “scoffed” at actors who said that playing drama roles was difficult, he has a new-found understanding of the struggles involved after 6 seasons of work on Better Call Saul.
“The truth is that you use your emotions, and you use your memories, you use your hurt feelings and losses, and you manipulate them, dig into them, dwell on them,” he said. “A normal adult doesn’t walk around doing that, going, ‘What was the worst feeling of abandonment I’ve had in my life? Let me just gaze at that for the next week and a half, because that’s going to fuel me.'”
For Odenkirk, the intensity he experienced playing Saul Goodman gave him a new-found appreciation of how others playing iconic characters — like Tony Soprano from The Sopranos — felt. “It gave me great sympathy for someone like James Gandolfini, who talked about how he couldn’t wait to be done with that character,” he added.“[A]nd I think Bryan [Cranston] said similar things: ‘I can’t wait to leave this guy behind.’ I finally related to that attitude.”
The end of Better Call Saul may be near, but it wasn’t an easy journey to get there. In July 2021, while filming the Netflix series‘ final season, Odenkirk had a heart attack on set. Recalling the incident, Odenkirk said, “Luckily I didn’t go back to my trailer. I went to play the Cubs game and ride my workout bike, and I just went down.”
According to Odenkirk, he was hooked up to an automatic defibrillator, where it took them three tries to “get that rhythm back” in his heart. He was later hospitalised before returning to work two months later in September 2021.
According to Odenkirk, the show has been “the biggest thing” in his life. “It’s emotional to say goodbye to it, and to all these people I’ve been working with for so many years,” he said.
Season 6 of Better Call Saul is set to consist of 13 episodes instead of the usual ten, and will be split into two parts. The first part of Better Call Saul season 6 is expected to release on the streaming service Netflix in early 2022 for UK viewers, and on AMC in the US.