‘It’s all good, man.’ – Some interesting facts about Breaking Bad character Saul Goodman and Bob Odenkirk, the actor who plays him.
DUI? Paternity Charge? Trouble with a couple of revenge-hungry assassins from a Mexican drug cartel hunting you? Then you better call Saul!
As all you Breaking Bad-ers out there will know, when you’re in trouble no man can help like Saul Goodman.
And, of course, we all know that Saul can be the center of certain troubles, with his very shady off-the-book dealings and the fingers he has in multiple illicit pies.
You might not be surprised to finding that Saul Goodman’s name is derived from the saying ‘It’s all good, man’ – although it rarely is when you need to call Saul!
But what do we know about the man behind the role, Bob Odenkirk?
Well there are many things that we know about him.
His full name is Robert John Odenkirk, his birthday is the 22nd of October 1962. Odenkirk was born in Illinois, although his career was birthed through his work in a number of improv and comedy clubs in Chicago during the eighties.
In 1987, Saturday Night Live asked Odenkirk to come and be one of the writers for the show. Although prosperous for Odenkirk, Saturday Night Live proved to be the cause of some frustration for the then-young comic when he found himself behind the cameras more than he did in front of them.
In 1991, Odenkirk left Saturday Night Live, thus establishing himself as one of the more well-known names in TV-Comedy throughout the 1990’s.
Two of Bob Odenkirk’s TV appearances in the 1990s both feature him in parodies of Metallica‘s Enter Sandman video!
He also featured in a cameo for Seinfeld. Odenkirk is one among six other Breaking Bad actors (some big and some small) who have had cameos or larger roles in Sienfeld including: Bryan Cranston (Walter/Heisenberg), Anna Gunn (Skyler), Jessica Hecht (Gretchen), Larry Hankin (Old Joe), Nigel Gibbs (Detective Tim Roberts) and Mark Harelik (Doctor).
In 1995 Odenkirk teamed with comedy friend David Cross to co-create critically acclaimed HBO sketch-show Mr. Show with Bob and Dave. Odenkirk also went on to have several guest appearances on the TV shows Curb Your Enthusiasm, How I Met Your Mother and Arrested Development, before being cast by Vince Gilligan as Saul Goodman in 2009 on AMC’s award-winning show Breaking Bad.
In an interview with Terry Gross of Fresh Air, Bob Odenkirk revealed how he came to be Saul Goodman and a few things about the character he helped bring to Breaking Bad.
In the interview Odenkirk says how when Vince Gilligan first told him the character’s name he protested, ‘I’m not Jewish. There are a lot of Jewish actors, I’m sure you could find one.’ Vince Gilligan laughed at this, telling Odenkirk (as Saul does to the viewer) how he is not Jewish but Irish, and uses this pseudonym to feel like a Jewish-lawyer extraordinaire, and not just some normal white guy.
In the interview with Gross, Odenkirk also revealed it was him who came up with the idea for Saul’s haircut! ‘It’s a comb-over that’s pretty clearly a comb-over, with a growing bald spot and yet at the same time somehow a mullet in back.’ Odenkirk then went on to describe why he thought this haircut suited Saul’s character so much: ‘Cleaned up on the sides, because he’s all business, and the comb-over is to try look younger, and the mullet is to try to look like a relaxed dude, but who’s also capable of focusing and being serious’.
What do you think about this? Does Saul’s hair envisage all of these qualities to you? I’d say it definitely does!
Bob Odenkirk also told Fresh Air that he tried to base his performance on the Hollywood agents Robert Evans and Ari Emmanuel.
Ari Emmanuel was also the inspiration for Jeremy Piven’s character Ari Gold in TV Show Entourage, as well as the inspiration for another Bob Odenkirk character called Stevie Grant on The Larry Sanders Show.
Ari Emmanuel is not only Bob Odenkirk’s acting inspiration, however, he is also Odenkirk’s actual agent!
Since Breaking Bad has ended, Odenkirk has written some sketches for a couple of TV shows including Adult Swim.
In September 2013, it was announced that AMC had given the go ahead for a Saul Goodman spin-off Better Call Saul. Vince Gilligan said ‘I like the idea of a lawyer show in which the main lawyer will do anything it takes to stay out of a court of law.
He’ll settle on the courthouse steps, whatever it takes to stay out of the courtroom. That would be fun – I would like that.’
So what do you think? Will the Saul spin-off be a success? Will he be able to stay out of the courtroom?
For now we’ll have to wait, but one thing is certain. Soon enough we’ll all be calling Saul!