Thomas Schnauz Interview: ‘Better Call Saul’ writer/producer

“At the beginning, I don’t think any of us knew what this was,” confesses Emmy-nominated “Better Call Saul” writer Thomas Schnauz. He adds, “There’s nothing else like it on television — a prequel that dives into the psychological makeup of what was a comedic character on “Breaking Bad.” Very unusual.”

Before “Saul,” Schnauz worked on “Breaking Bad” where he shared two Emmy wins for Best Drama Series. The prequel series tells the story of how Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) became the criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. It just received it’s fifth nomination for Best Drama Series. He explains, “We have been going on separate tracks, and this was the season where story-lines really crossed over. I want to say it was difficult, but it really was energizing. And connecting it to “Breaking Bad.” Making these puzzle pieces fit together is a big challenge.”

This year Schnauz has scored his second writing nomination for “Saul,” penning the season’s penultimate episode, ‘Bad Choice Road.’ It was an episode he also directed and concludes with the most intense moment from the series; as Jimmy and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) are confronted by a dangerous drug cartel honcho Lalo (Tony Dalton). The scribe reveals, “That was a very long and complex scene with different stages. The most satisfying part of writing and directing the episode was when we rehearsed the scene. Seeing the crew reactions to just the rehearsal I thought, ‘thank God, this is probably gonna work.’”

The episode typifies a quality of “Saul” which he explains as, “writing ourselves into corners and busting our heads against the wall trying to figure out how we get these characters out. If it’s not easy then it will be surprising to the audience. As long as it makes sense, that hard work will pay off. That was part of the fun of writing ‘Bad Choice Road,’ Jimmy is at his weakest point ever and Kim steps up and saves the day.”

At the Emmys he will be competing against fellow “Saul” writer Gordon Smith. He reflects, “I’m very thankful that the writing members singled my script and Gordon’s out. And my good friend John Shiban who works on ‘Ozark.’ This is a lot of fun this year, I wish we could all be together going to the Emmys because I have two very good friends that are nominated in the same category. If you’d asked me 20 years ago if this would every happen, I’d say ‘what are you even talking about?’”

And what does the ‘Bad Choice Road’ writer think was the best choice “Better Call Saul” has made? Well, it is all about this year’s big Emmy snub Seehorn. He reveals, “The best choice we made was to make Kim Wexler a large character in the world of Jimmy McGill.”

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UPLOADED Aug 17, 2020 12:03 pm