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Q&A – Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman)

Bob Odenkirk, who plays Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad, talks about fighting on set and his belief in the power of mullets.

Q: Were you fearful for Saul’s life this season?

A: All the time. Every time I picked up a script I felt certain it would happen — I was just looking for it.

Q: What was it like getting beaten up by Aaron Paul?

A: One of the most fun experiences I’ve had as an actor. I love pyrotechnics and fights; all the things that you can’t do in real life. I can’t believe I get to do this as a living! That was a great day; Aaron was just deeply in the moment and his character. His presence was so powerful that there were times that I had to remind myself not to be an audience to his excellence but to be involved myself. The scene where Walt threatens me in the beginning of Season 5, and the moment when both of them have me over an open grave in the desert; those are also great moments for me in this career.

Q: Saul has had to become more serious as the seasons have gone on. As a comedian, which do you prefer more serious moments or humorous ones?

A: Saul had more fun in the earlier seasons because he got to joke around more. Everything was a big laugh to him. He thought he could make a bunch of money with these people and it seemed to be true. Of course, it all went awry. People probably think I just want to play the jokey part, but that’s not true. As an actor, I love playing those moments of danger and fear. So I’ve had a couple of those scenes in every season. But when he realized that Walter White is a dangerous guy, that was a revelation for Saul. He thought he was getting into business with a level-headed guy.

Q: Everyone has their own favorite Saul line. What’s yours?

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A: “Congratulations. You are now officially the cute one of the group. Paul meet Ringo. Ringo, Paul.” That’s a great scene and a great scene for the character. I’ve had a lot of really funny lines. The other day we were watching the scene where I show Walt the card to the guy who disappears people, and the line, “What, did you expect ‘Hajji’s Quick Vanish’?” got a big laugh from the audience. Pretty much any monologue has a got a good line or two in it.

Q: Now that you’ve really owned Saul Goodman, what kind of discussion did you have with the writers and Vince for this season?

A: The most input I’ve ever had into the character, is the first thing that happened. Vince called me and told to me about the character for about two minutes. I said I have an idea for his hair; a combover with a mullet in the back. But it’s cleaned up, so he can go to the office as a lawyer. And he said, “Great, I love that.” That’s all I’ve ever pitched, by design.

Q: Saul and Walt are sort of the most scheming and manipulative of the characters on the show. If it [had?] came down to it, who do you think would win that final showdown?

A: Walt. Saul is a devious thinker and he can think on a couple levels and he knows human behavior. But Walter White is more intelligent than Saul. Bottom line, he can go deeper and further than Saul in that realm.  The hero in Breaking Bad is the audience for watching all this trauma and pain.

Click here to read an interview with Betsy Brandt, who plays Marie Schrader on Breaking Bad.

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