Better Call Saul‘s Bob Odenkirk found himself “giddy” and “very proud” on Wednesday morning, as his lauded Breaking Bad prequel landed its final set of seven Emmy nominations, including one for his lead turn, speaking with Deadline about what his character Slippin’ Jimmy McGill might be up to post-finale, his memorable recent guest appearance on FX’s The Bear, his new AMC show Lucky Hank and more.
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Noting that it was co-star Rhea Seehorn’s nom alongside him that made the morning “complete,” not to mention recognition for the show’s writers, Odenkirk shared that as the time since Saul‘s finale stretches out, he sees the opportunity he had with the series as even “bigger” than he did at the beginning, “which is to say it seems like the role of a lifetime, for real.
“I can’t imagine a role as well written, that goes to as many places, that I would ever get again, so I’m just super thankful that I got it, super thankful that I was able to deliver on it,” continued the actor, who has won two Emmys in the past and garnered 19 nominations in total. “Because it’s not like I had training. I mean, it was elbow grease, man, and sweat, and I gave it everything I had.”
Odenkirk’s impression is that his con man character McGill will almost certainly stay in prison, where we last encountered him, following his involvement with too many criminal activities to count. “He’d obviously be an important person [in prison] because he knows the law and he’s pretty good at manipulating situations. So, I would imagine he either runs the prison or is the consigliere of whoever runs the prison,” the actor said. “He’s probably a pretty important guy in there, and he’ll have to make do with that.”
Odenkirk referred to his time on the zeitgeist-hitting culinary drama The Bear as “the greatest experience since” Better Call Saul. His guest appearance in a Season 2 holiday episode has him playing Lee, the uncle of Jeremy Allen White’s chef Carmy, and he was notably just one major name to make their debut on the show in the extended piece, appearing alongside recent Oscar winner Jamie Lee Curtis, Gillian Jacobs, John Mulaney and Sarah Paulson. “Everybody was there to kick ass, to play,” Odenkirk shared of his experience on The Bear. “Everyone respected each other, every one of those actors, and [creator] Chris Storer runs a set that allows for freedom to discover, and invent, and bring things to life.”
Continued the BCS alum, “Jeremy Allen White just sets a tone of professionalism and respect between everyone, and it’s that great thing of, we all want the other person to kick ass. Our greatest dream is that everybody else in the scene looks f**king awesome, and that was just such a joy to do.”
Odenkirk expressed excitement as far as Lucky Hank and the opportunity it’s provided him to play a character totally unlike Better Call Saul‘s McGill (or Saul Goodman, as he was best known). He’s not sure at this point whether the dramedy following his English department chairman, Professor Hank Devereaux, will get a second season. But as he looks ahead, he intends to keep looking for opportunities to take risks and go toward the “opposite side of the map.”
Notching a total of seven nominations for the back half of its sixth and final season, which aired last year, Better Call Saul is looking this final time around for its first win, having in previous years scored a whopping 46 noms. This year’s Emmy ceremony is scheduled to take place on September 18th.
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