Fans of “Breaking Bad” know that killing off major characters is nothing new to the series. Anyone who thought Bob Odenkirk’s character, the sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman, would get axed before the final eight episodes is in good company.
"I kept waiting for them to fit me for a severed head," Odenkirk tells us from L.A., where he’s promoting "Breaking Bad" at the Television Critics Association. "But they never did — they just didn’t want to spend money on that much wax for the size head that I have," he jokes (we think).
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Odenkirk has made it to at least this point in the series, and there’s talk about a possible spinoff for his character after the show draws to a close. But we’ll let the man himself tell you more about that, as well as the end of the series.
Everyone’s got high expectations about this last season. How do you feel leading up to it?
I am going to get excited when it starts to play, and I’m gonna feel just like a fan feels, just like you or anyone who loves the show. I have not read the final episode … I stuffed it through my trash so I wouldn’t be tempted. Once I finish shooting it I feel just like you do, where I can’t wait to see it. Even though the script has everything in it — all the visuals, all the moments — it’s still always a surprise when I watch it. It still gets me just like it gets any audience member. … I know I’m gonna be going crazy every week, waiting for the next one. … It’s a tribute to [creator] Vince Gilligan and the writers’ ability to weave a spell.
Do you know how Saul’s story ends?
Well, I like to think it doesn’t end, but … I would say I pretty much know how Saul’s story ends. I don’t know ultimately how Walter White’s story ends. That’s what I avoided and even though I know everything that leads up to it, I just don’t know the choices he makes in the final episode.
So if Saul’s story doesn’t end, what’s all this talk of a spinoff?
Yeah, you’re onto something. [Laughs] You know, look, for some reason people feel great affection toward Saul Goodman. They like him and they want him to carry on. I don’t know, Vince Gilligan should answer that question, or Peter Gould maybe — Peter’s one of the writers who wrote the first episode Saul appeared on, and whenever Vince talks about it with people he always talks about working with Peter on that. But you know, in his defense, he’s been completely 100 percent focused on finishing this show and making it satisfying for the fans, and from what I think he hasn’t had a lot of time to flesh out any idea he has for a Saul Goodman spinoff. But I do believe that when he says he has an idea for it, I think he’s a pretty serious guy when it comes to that kinda talk, unlike a lot of people in show business. If he says he’s thinking about it, that’s a more real thing than 90 percent of the stuff you’re hearing.
So you would be down for a spinoff?
If Vince writes it I will show up on Day 1.
Is it hard for you to interject bits of humor into such a dark show like "Breaking Bad"?
I don’t feel like I intentionally funny it up at all, I just play the guy with total commitment and hopefully I try to achieve the levels of integrity that Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris and Betsy Brandt bring to their roles. I’m just trying to match the actors around me. You know, it’s all in the writing: Vince and Peter and the other writers write the funny stuff Saul says. I don’t improvise it.
How many people pick up on the pun in your name, “It’s all good, man”?
You know what’s crazy? It seems to take people quite a long while to crack that. … I got it right away, but I think it does take most people a few years before they come around to seeing it. It’s Vince. He’s clever.
Follow Meredith Engel on Twitter @MeredithAtMetro.