Bob Odenkirk Praises Tracy Letts' "Poetry" at 'Linda Vista' L.A. Premiere

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Tracy Letts

“This guy is like, ‘How do you be that good at two things?’” the 'Better Call Saul' actor said of the playwright and actor.

A wet and stormy night wasn’t enough to keep stars like James Franco, Bob Odenkirk and Eric McCormack from filling the Mark Taper Forum on Wednesday for the Los Angeles premiere of Linda Vista, the newest production by acclaimed playwright and actor Tracy Letts.

The play follows the life of Dick Wheeler (played by veteran theater actor Ian Barford), a 50-year-old divorced dad who is trying to rebuild his life in the San Diego suburb of Linda Vista and is better at wreaking havoc on the lives of those attempting to support him than he is at examining his own shortcomings. The adult comedy alternates between acid humor and pathos, and had the audience laughing for much of its almost three-hour running time.

Odenkirk spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about why he was such a fan of Letts as both a writer and actor: “Tracy is outstanding as a writer. There’s clarity, there’s poetry in his writing and as a performer, he’s as good as you can be. This guy is like, ‘How do you be that good at two things?’”

Letts is perhaps most famous for his play August: Osage County, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award and which was later adapted into the 2013 film of the same name starring Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.

Bradley Whitford also was in attendance, and he chatted with THR about why he thought the playwright was a "national treasure."

“I’m here because Tracy is a really good friend," said the actor. "He’s got incredible range. August was a titanic work of national brilliance, so I want to see whatever comes out of his brain.”

The script held nothing back, with its cutting takedown of toxic masculinity and graphic sex scenes. Women in the audience could be seen nodding knowingly as they observed the intense dissection of Wheeler, who considers himself to be an enlightened and self-aware person and yet is incredibly harmful to the women in his life.

Suzanne Cryer told THR why she thought it was important to support live theater: “I really like coming to all of the things at the Taper or the Ahmanson or the Kirk Douglas Theater. I feel like we’re so missing community events, particularly in Los Angeles where we’re driving around in our cars isolated from each other, and we need a place where we can come together and laugh and cry.”

Linda Vista had its world premiere at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, and is set to run at the Mark Taper Forum through Feb. 17.