“Honestly, I didn’t know it would work,” Bob Odenkirk admits as we chat via webcam (watch above) about whether his supporting character from “Breaking Bad” could anchor his own show on AMC with “Better Call Saul.” In this acclaimed prequel, he reprises the role of Jimmy McGill, a slick lawyer struggling to earn the respect of his brother Chuck (Michael McKean). In the second season Jimmy develops a personal and professional relationship with former colleague Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn).
As he recalls, “I just went down there and did my best. I surrendered to the amount of work and the complexity of the character. Somewhere around the middle of the first season I got the feeling that people were liking this guy a lot. Everything was a big gamble. It was great the pilot got such a warm response. But I still didn’t trust it. We’ve now established a rhythm. Now we’re on solid ground.”
With the show now revealing more dramatic layers to his character, the actor admits, “I love getting to play honestly. It’s a new thing and I love it. ” However, he concedes, “whenever there’s a pure comic scene, I can exhale. I can just be comfortable and have a good time.”
As he reflects, “Jimmy McGill is tortured in a lot of ways. With Kim Weller we can assume it probably doesn’t go well. His endeavor to win his brother’s respect is not going to happen. Playing a guy who’s fighting a losing battle can wear you down. The comedy scenes are great fun for me. I love them when I see them. They show him, in a weird way, winning for a little bit.”
It is unclear how Jimmy’s story will be resolved in this pre-“Breaking Bad” era. “Whether it has a happy, sad or bittersweet ending, nobody knows. I do think that ‘Breaking Bad’’s ending was just an explosion and everything died. So it was really sad. Maybe they want to have a different tone here for variety.”
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