Gordon Smith Interview: ‘Better Call Saul’ producer

“The show is a large scale morality play” declares Gordon Smith about “Better Call Saul.” For our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above), he continues,  “We ask the question, ‘What should you do in a given circumstance?’ It’s often not a question that you have the option of doing something good. It’s which bad thing do you choose that is slightly better. It’s a very grey morality.”

Smith is a producer and writer of the accomplished ABC drama series. He’s been Emmy-nominated twice for writing the episodes ‘Five-O’ (2015) and ‘Chicanery’ (2017). For the most recent fifth season he made his directorial debut with an episode he wrote, ‘Namaste.’ He confesses, “I don’t know what possessed me to ask to direct. I’ve been on set a lot with the directors. Being in that chair was a lot more than I expected. I described it as being slowly squeezed like a tube of toothpaste until you are empty.”

Smith also wrote the eighth episode of the season, ‘Bagman.’ In the episode Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Mike (Jonathan Banks) try to walk out of the desert, carrying millions of dollars, being chased by a gunman. It’s an intimate episode which explores the Jimmy and Mike relationship. But it also, has big action scenes, including a car flip. The writer explains, “When we got to episode eight that story drove out all the other pieces. Mike and Jimmy have a lot to do, and Lalo (Tony Dalton) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) also have big parts to play. It’s nice because all the pieces that are kind of running in parallel collide and don’t bounce off each other. They stick together. Also, after the rolling over of the car, our stunt man told us we were a couple of rotations away from the record. You think, ‘whoa! That’s amazing’ and also, ‘God! That’s terrifying.’”

“Better Call Saul” tells the story of how Jimmy McGill became Saul Goodman from “Breaking Bad.” Smith reflects, “In some ways we know the journey, but there are nuances that have been surprising. I don’t think any of us knew the important role of his brother, Chuck McGill (Michael McKean). The idea of the genesis of someone as facile and sleazy as Saul Goodman would come from a trauma and grief process, was not something we would have anticipated. That toxic melancholy is getting him into Saul Goodman mode. It’s been sad, but also fascinating. At he end of ‘Bagman,’ the aftermath of that crash was so moving. Bob’s performance, drinking very gross liquid and letting off that space blanket; letting go of his brother.”

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UPLOADED Jun 22, 2020 12:33 pm