Better Call Saul Season 6 enlisted a Parks and Recreation fan favorite. Jim O’Heir played Frank, the security guard to whom Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), as Gene Takovic, delivers free Cinnabons. O’Heir eats a lot of Cinnabons on camera, but filming in quick succession, he couldn’t eat them all. They had some tricks to help him dispose of Cinnabons without ingesting them.
Director Michelle MacLaren was a guest on the Better Call Saul Insider podcast on July 26. MacLaren discussed directing the episode “Nippy,” including O’Heir’s Cinnabon smorgasbord and also Odenkirk’s role in the scene. Better Call Saul Season 6 airs Mondays at 6 p.m. on AMC.
How ‘Better Call Saul’ fed Jim O’Heir Cinnabons without killing him
Gene timed Frank eating the Cinnabons. He knew Jeff (Pat Healy) would have three minutes to rob the mall’s department store while Frank wasn’t looking. Between the first delivery and the ultimate heist, O’Heir filmed a lot of scenes of Frank enjoying the Cinnabon.
“Jim had to eat so many Cinnabons,” McLaren said on Better Call Saul Insider. “It was insane and we had all these tricks and everything. At one point, it would go up to his mouth and he would pass it off to somebody who would grab it behind his head with a fork or he’d spit it out but he did have to eat some. Each of these guys had a marathon of some sort that they had to do and they were relentless and phenomenal at executing it.”
Bob Odenkirk had a lot to do while Jim O’Heir ate Cinnabons
Meanwhile, Gene is sidling up to Frank to make him let his guard down. In the end, Gene has to improvise to distract Frank a little longer. MacLaren came up with code to help direct Odenkirk.
“Bob also had to do things over and over and over again,” MacLaren said. “He had to do the same thing at different phases. So Bob and I came up with a shorthand. Each phase was a different emotion so we had phase 1, phase 2, phase 3, phase 4. We’d repeat the action while the camera’s rolling and I would call out okay, phase 2, phase 3. When we got to phase 3 and 4 we had a song because he had a skip to his walk. We wanted a progression in his emotion and we turned the song on off camera. It was really fun and Bob would do this over and over again. Pat and Bob, what a marathon.”
A lot of planning went into this ‘Better Call Saul’ heist
Gene and Jeff’s planning was nothing compared to what MacLaren had to do to prepare the episode, which she filmed entirely in black and white.
Hours, over days and days and hours and hours. I can’t do it all at once because you’ve got to go scout, you’ve got to do casting, you’ve got to have your different department meetings. So you’re figuring it out as you go. It used to take me a really long time. It doesn’t mean I do it really fast now but you learn to, I don’t want to say shortcuts, you become more efficient with your time. In television, the demands on us are so quick so you try to think of stuff really quickly that you’re going to want or need. What are the big things you need to break down and communicate with the production designer, the props people, all those kinds of things. It happens continuously through prep and sometimes when you’re shooting too.Michelle MacLaren, Better Call Saul Insider, 7/26/22