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Better Call Saul is “not” a Comedy
After much discussion as to what genre the Breaking Bad spin off, Better Call Saul, was going to fit into, most had decided that it would most probably be a 30 minute comedy. That rumour was mainly due to the fact that series co-creator, Vince Gilligan, was reported a couple of months ago as saying that Saul Goodman is not enough of a dramatic character to warrant being the main character in a drama series. However, now the actor who plays Saul, Bob Odenkirk, has stated that Better Call Saul is not the comedy most were expecting.
“Its total drama, man” said Odenkirk to THR “It’s 85 percent drama, 15 percent comedy.”
It’s an interesting choice for show runners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould to make, as Saul in Breaking Bad was a kind of comedic outlet and a character who was comfortable with his own image and job. He never showed any sign of mental struggling or weakness, even though we did get to see small glimpses of Saul’s more dramatic side towards the end of Breaking Bad’s run, but it just didn’t seem likely that Saul would be as dramatic as, say, a Walter White or Jesse Pinkman.
Nevertheless, if you give Saul a problem or weakness that the writers can explore, then we can have Saul heading down a path he is not comfortable with, and so you can get those deeper moments which can really flesh out his character. I think that is why the writers chose to make this series a prequel and sequel to Breaking Bad. The prequel, judging by the small doses we’ve gotten already from the teaser trailers, will show Saul Goodman wasn’t always a witty, all knowing criminal lawyer, but he was a struggling, young and naive lawyer, who wasn’t even called Saul Goodman – he was ‘Attorney at Law’ James M. McGill. So maybe his reputation as McGill was ruined and he had to change his name to Saul to even get a client. It leaves open many possibilities for the writers to show how Saul didn’t always live without fear, and that’s something that couldn’t happen in Breaking Bad.
“That doesn’t happen so much with secondary characters because they don’t need to have that depth,” explains Odenkirk. “One of the cool things about playing Saul now, is that I get to have those moments. I’ve certainly gotten a chance to dig deep in Better Call Saul.”
Bob Odenkirk’s acting career has certainly taken off in recent months, as playing the sleaze bag lawyer has scored him roles in the Oscar nominated drama, Nebraska, and the Golden Globe winning mini-series, Fargo. After all this success working with great actors, from the likes of Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Bruce Dern, and Bryan Cranston, Odenkirk has still not changed his approach to acting: he reveals he does not watch himself in Better Call Saul, as he thinks it is a “perfectly good way to approach acting to not know what the f*** is going on. I really don’t want to know what’s coming later and I don’t look back at what came before.”
Well, I guess that technique might help, especially while filming Better Call Saul, as there are set to be quite a few different time frames, so filming it might be quite confusing to try and keep up with what’s going on. “Perhaps some of it takes place before Breaking Bad, during Breaking Bad and after Breaking Bad,” reveals Odenkirk.
The bonus to using this technique is – one, you get to see what happened after the events of Breaking Bad’s finale, and two, you get the luxury of having returning characters from the Breaking Bad universe. We already know that Mike Ehrmantraut is set to return as the fan favourite grandpa hitman, but Aaron Paul, who played Jesse Pinkman, is also up for a return if it is possible, as he admitted recently that he is certainly jealous of everyone being back in Albuquerque. “I’d love to be a part of it” he told AMC in June; “I’m so jealous that everyone is back in Albuquerque, back in the same stages where we shot Breaking Bad.”
It’s an exciting time right now as we draw closer to Better Call Saul’s February release date on AMC, and to make things that much better, the new show has already confirmed for a season two, so fingers crossed.
Be sure to let me know below what you think of Better Call Saul being mainly a drama, and make sure you check it the interesting interviews with the Better Call Saul cast as well.