Bob Odenkirk on Playing Saul Goodman, Quitting McDonald's as a Teen - Rolling Stone
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The First Time: Bob Odenkirk

Actor discusses playing Saul Goodman, quitting McDonald’s, and feeling Catholic guilt

On the cusp of the Season 5 premiere of Better Caul Saul, Bob Odenkirk stopped by the Rolling Stone offices to discuss playing Saul Goodman, directing Mr. Show with Bob and David, quitting McDonald’s, and share more personal stories in the latest installment of “The First Time.”

The clip kicks off with Odenkirk describing the first time he met Vince Gilligan, when the showrunner approached him over the phone to play Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad. “Vince, of course, is one of the nicest people alive,” he says, admiringly. “I mean, there’s no one better. And a kind person and a thoughtful, good listener.” He listened to Odenkirk’s concerns and ideas for the character, which included a suggestion that the crooked lawyer have a comb-over and a mullet in back. “And Vince laughed and said, ‘That sounds like a good idea! Let’s do that!’ “

Odenkirk breaks down the first time he portrayed Goodman, on the eighth episode of Season Two. He appeared in a commercial that Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) watches on television. He describes his first big scene in the series, where he acted opposite Bryan Cranston. “The best actor in the business,” Odenkirk says of Cranston. “A whole other level of performance that I had never had in my life. And yet, I felt connected to it right away.”

He also mentions Janeane Garofalo introducing him to David Cross, with whom he’d star in the Nineties sketch-comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David. His first time directing was on an episode of Mr. Show: “It’s about a magazine that features a person’s taint,” he says with a straight face. “I’m very proud of it.”

Elsewhere in the video, Odenkirk recalls getting hired at McDonald’s as a teenager. Three months later, he quit the fast-food chain after realizing his arms kept getting greasy. The clip closes with Odenkirk reflecting on the first time he felt Catholic guilt. “I would have been very, very young,” he says. “And it remains with me till this day. Thank you, Mother. Thank you, priests and everyone. It’s very much a part of my life.”

Better Call Saul will return with a two-night premiere on February 23rd and 24th.


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