"I fully expected that we might be resented for trying to follow up 'Breaking Bad' with anything," says Bob Odenkirk over the phone, admitting that despite his deep-seated fear, he decided to give the nod to this solo outing since few could be more protective about the celebrated crime-drama than producer Vince Gilligan.
That Gilligan would approach Odenkirk for his own show as Saul Goodman, the shady criminal lawyer from Breaking Bad, was often made light of on the latter's set. Yet, with Better Call Saul, the actor found himself commanding a record-breaking audience on satellite television. The show's popularity in India amazes him, but credits the digital platform for melting borders.
Odenkirk acknowledges the audience is now opening its heart to characters with shades of grey. "Nearly every show is focused on an anti-hero and some of us are archly drawn, almost comically, in their stature or the character's creation. Clearly, people are fascinated by antiheroes now," he says, insisting that such morally-ambiguous characters seek him out. "I don't have a ton of scripts crossing my desk, but, I've got some kind of corner on the market of duplicitous characters, who are in some way earnest."
The Breaking Bad spin-off, which airs on Colours Infinity, is now in its third season, and Odenkirk admits reconnecting with the character season after season is "intimidating". "We had a lot of freedom [in creating the character] in season 1. In the second season, it was intimidating to reconnect and stay true to what we'd established. I struggled with that and hoped it would come together. In the third season, we had more confidence in every aspect of it. We have more comedy in the third season. We feel safe now with doing a scene or two that is purely comic."
Ask him if he's willing to represent himself in case of legal trouble, given the tricks he's mastered through his stint on the show, and he says a firm 'no'. "You have to have a real lawyer. The first thing I would do is get a real lawyer."