The Hardest Part Of Playing Saul Goodman, According To Better Call Saul's Bob Odenkirk

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman on Better Call Saul (2020)

Bob Odenkirk has been playing Saul Goodman for over a decade now, and he’s settled into the role quite nicely. While Goodman served as more of a comedic force on Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul has allowed Odenkirk (and co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould) to add layers to the man who will become Walter White and Jesse Pinkman’s lawyer. Despite being so perfect for the role though, Odenkirk has revealed that playing Goodman still isn’t totally easy at this point, as there’s one aspect of the character that makes him hard to portray.

Although Saul Goodman is a character that Bob Odenkirk loves, he cites the character’s immaturity as the hardest thing to play, especially since a part of him wants nothing more than for the lawyer to make good choices:

The hardest thing to play is the immaturity of the character. It's weird, but you start to become a champion of your character, no matter who they are, and you want them to make the right, the best and healthiest choice. (Laughs.) That doesn't work out with Saul. The idea of calling Peter [Gould] and Vince [Gilligan] — and I've done this and it's embarrassing — and saying, ‘Can he just be a good guy or can he make a better choice?’ You start to like the guy, and you want him to learn the right lessons from his experience, but that's not the story that they are telling. For me, playing the character has been a chance to think about my own short-sightedness in life and immaturity and impetuousness that is really a big part of who that character is. I don't think that's as big a part of me, but it's been something to try to revisit those feelings inside me and see where they still are a part of me and try to vanquish them.

It's easy to understand Bob Odenkirk’s sentiments during THR’s Drama Actor Roundtable. When an actor plays a character for as long as he is, one is bound to gain affection for said character and, with that, comes a desire to see them make wise choices and be happy.

Unfortunately for Odenkirk, Saul Goodman (or Jimmy McGill) isn’t always known for doing the right thing, despite his best efforts. Season 5 of Better Call Saul actually saw McGill descend even deeper into his shady persona. Not only did he officially start practicing law under the name Saul Goodman, but he also began to adopt some of Goodman’s trademark business practices.

With the final season of Better Call Saul on its way and the events of Breaking Bad inching closer, one has to wonder what will cause Jimmy to make the complete switch to Saul during the final batch of episodes. But based on that season finale, what can be said, the conclusion to the character’s journey could very well end in tragedy.

Despite this, Bob Odenkirk will no doubt continue to play the character with all of his flaws and is sure to give us a memorable performance during Better Call Saul’s last hurrah. And let’s be honest, Saul Goodman’s mistakes and his means of dealing with them are part of what make him so interesting.

Better Call Saul Season 6 doesn’t have a release date yet, but you can currently stream past seasons on Netflix.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.