'Better Call Saul': Bob Odenkirk Explains "Sad as Hell" Opening Scene

The star says he would like to explore Saul's story during the 'Breaking Bad' timeline: "What happens when he shuts the door? What happens when he goes home?"
 AMC

[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Sunday's series premiere of Better Call Saul, "Uno."]

Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk)  is back, but he's not the criminal lawyer Breaking Bad fans remember.

The surprising opening sequence, shot in stark black and white, showed Saul living incognito in Omaha, Nebraska — managing a Cinnabon. In a rare silent scene for Saul, he returned home to drink alone and watch VHS cassettes of his old lawyer ads.

Read more 'Better Call Saul' Bosses on Shocking Cameo, Going Beyond 'Breaking Bad' Timeline

The show cut to 2002, back when Saul was named Jimmy McGill and was struggling to make ends meet — and definitely didn't have a hand in the criminal underworld. For comparison: When viewers met Saul in Breaking Bad season two, he cleared more than $50,000 for one day's work. In the Saul premiere, he made $700.

In a chat with The Hollywood Reporter, Odenkirk shares his thoughts on that Cinnabon scene and the possibilities of exploring Saul's post-Breaking Bad future.

For more, check out THR's chat with creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould.

Are their opportunities to see more of Saul in Nebraska?

I think it could happen. I do. I've told Vince [Gilligan] and Peter [Gould] this. I love seeing him before, I'd love seeing him during. Saul is a facade. Saul Goodman is not his name. That's a facade of an office. What happens when he shuts the door? What happens when he goes home? What happens when he's offstage as Saul in his life? I'm curious what happens afterwards.

See more 'Breaking Bad': 20 Most Shocking Deaths

What did you think about Vince and Peter deciding to open the series with the Nebraska scenes?

Strong choices, and sad as hell. Vince saw he had a great deal of opportunity and leeway and trust and he's taking that trust, going as far out on a limb as he can and trying to deliver on it.

See more 'Breaking Bad': 25 Most Badass Quotes

Why isn't Jimmy successful when this series begins?

He's a square peg in a round hole. He needs to find a square hole. He's not in the right place. He's not being given the opportunity to be all that he can be.

Do you find that to be a relatable problem?

It's a real thing. Why didn't I do parts like this 10 years ago? I auditioned for a few of them, not many. I didn't pursue it. The fact is until someone gave me the chance, I couldn't show what I could do. Whatever skills I had or have, I couldn't show them.

We know Jimmy eventually does become a success. What is that journey for him?

Jimmy McGill is not being given a chance to show what he can do. He's trying to judge how much of this is him, how much is the world. He's asking, "Where do I belong?" It's a journey most people go through. Very few people come out of college, know exactly what they want to be, fit right in, shoot straight to the top. A few do. God bless 'em. The rest of us muddle around, get our ass kicked.

Better Call Saul's two-night premiere continues on AMC on Monday, 10 p.m. Stay tuned to The Live Feed following Monday's episode for more from Odenkirk, Gilligan and Gould.

 

Email: Aaron.Couch@THR.com
Twitter: @AaronCouch 

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