Bob Odenkirk, who plays the scheming lawyer Jimmy McGill (aka Saul Goodman) on AMC’s hit drama Better Call Saul, is getting a well-deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s only fitting that his star will be located next to actor Bryan Cranston’s star, as Odenkirk rose to fame playing Saul Goodman on Cranston’s Emmy-winning drama Breaking Bad. He’ll get his star on the Walk of Fame on April 18, the same day the final season of Better Call Saul premieres on AMC.
In a new interview with Variety, Bob Odenkirk discussed his career and his improbable rise to fame as Saul Goodman. The 59-year-old never dreamed of playing dramatic roles like the one he plays on Better Call Saul. He grew up wanting to be a comedian, and his career up until Breaking Bad was almost exclusively comedic roles and comedy writing. It was a career path similar to the one taken by Bryan Cranston, who made his name in comedy roles on Malcolm in the Middle, The King of Queens, and Seinfeld.
Bob Odenkirk’s role as Saul Goodman seems destined to be iconic, despite the circumstances. It was never supposed to be as significant a role as it turned out to be, and along the way, twists of fate ended up paying off in a big way. Odenkirk revealed that when he was hired, it was supposed to be for four episodes. However, he had already booked a role in the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother, so he could only do three episodes. As a result, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan created the role of Mike Ehrmantraut to cover for his absence in the fourth episode. Jonathan Banks took the role, and he also became an iconic, pivotal character. Those two secondary characters are now at the core of Better Call Saul, a show that has earned 39 Emmy nominations, including four Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role nominations for Bob Odenkirk.
It’s not a bad turn for Bob Odenkrik, who admits he had never watched Breaking Bad before accepting the role of Saul Goodman. It also led to more dramatic roles, including a surprisingly entertaining lead role in the 2021 action flick Nobody, in which he plays a former government operative who wages a personal war against the Russian mafia. The film, from the team who produced John Wick, was a pandemic hit, earning over $55 million worldwide despite thousands of closed theaters.
Still, with the end of Better Call Saul on the horizon, Bob Odenkirk is ready to return to his first love of comedy. “I loved writing comedy so much that I figured I’d stay in that corner. I loved it and I still do love it,” he told Variety. His comedy career, though notable, mostly involved writing. In fact, he became a writer for Saturday Night Live in 1991 and wrote the iconic “Matt Foley” sketch for Chris Farley, where he memorably lectured about living “in a van down by the river.”
The relationships he formed at SNL led to his work on The Ben Stiller Show, which he wrote and acted in. He later had his own HBO show with David Cross, Mr. Show with Bob and David. When he was offered the role of Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad, Bob Odenkirk asked star Bryan Cranston for advice on being in a high-profile role. Cranston advised to spend his energy embracing the responsibility rather than fighting it, and the actor has nothing but praise for his former co-star.
“It was fun to see him go from a nervous cat to a mountain lion of confidence and be able to pull it off on such a high level,” Cranston said. “I’m so impressed by his ability and as a leader.” As for being a neighbor to Bob Odenkirk on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1725 Vine St, Cranston says, “Primarily, it’s to share the rent and expenses of the cleanup, and I hope he’s a good roommate because we’re gonna have problems if he doesn’t hold up his end of the sidewalk.”
Bob Odenkirk almost wasn’t here to see the final season come to fruition. In the summer of 2021, Bob Odenkirk suffered a heart attack in New Mexico on the Better Call Saul set. He recovered but admits the event changed his outlook on life. He doesn’t consider himself as driven, and has a more mature view of the life he should live.