Better Call Saul fans, and the world, followed the saga of Bob Odenkirk’s heart attack. Fortunately, he recovered. He also went back to work and finished Better Call Saul Season 6. Now that it’s aired, co-creator Vince Gilligan and co-star Tony Dalton can talk about the scene in which it happened, and how they finished it after Odenkirk recovered.
[Warning: This article contains spoilers for Better Call Saul Season 6.]
Gilligan and Dalton were guests on the Better Call Saul Insider podcast which aired on July 12, the day after the midseason premiere aired. They revealed which scene they were filming when Odenkirk collapsed, and how they had to resume it months later. Better Call Saul Season 6 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
The ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6 scene everyone will remember for Bob Odenkirk’s heart attack
In the Better Call Saul Season 6 midseason premiere, Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) has just arrived at Jimmy (Odenkirk) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn)’s home. He wants to send Jimmy on a mission to kill Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) but Jimmy convinces him to send Kim instead. That was the scene during which Odenkirk collapsed.
“We did the coverage of Bob and Rhea first before he had the heart attack,” Gilligan said on Better Call Saul Insider. “That was the first day of shooting on the episode. We basically got them onto the sofa. Typically we start with the wide stuff and work closer. When it’s a really emotional scene like this, I’ve started doing it where we start with the closeups and work backwards. So most of the really heavy emotional stuff of Bob and Rhea on the couch was done. And we hadn’t done Tony’s side.”
Tony Dalton filmed his scenes 2 months later
After Odenkirk recovered, they returned to complete the Better Call Saul Season 6 scene. It was time to turn the cameras around on Dalton. Odenkirk and Seehorn returned to the sofa to perform their side of the scene for him. Dalton said he put the downtime to use.
“Like you said, it was two months later after the incident,” Dalton said. “So I had two months to learn my lines really well. I said it every single way you can possibly imagine. Usually, you get a week to learn your lines. We’ve got two months. I’m going to Mexico, I’m going to learn my lines.”
Dalton shared some of the Lalo-isms he added on the day they finally shot his portion of the scene.
“Came back and that kind of repetition sometimes, especially if you already know the character, is always something that helps a lot,” Dalton said. “It’s finding certain little things, and we find them on set. When I rested on the television, yeah, let’s do that. Make it even more casual than anything else. You just start finding all these little things that make the scene work better.”
You wouldn’t notice Bob Odenkirk’s heart attack just watching ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6
Better Call Saul fans are interested in Odenkirk’s health and the production of the show. However, if they didn’t tell us, you’d never notice they filmed that scene two months apart.
“It’s amazing that it does cut together as well as it does but that’s just the cherry on top,” Gilligan said. “We’re lucky that our friend didn’t die. It’s a miracle. Chris [McCaleb], you did stellar work editing this episode from start to finish. So big thanks to you, big thanks to our wonderful makeup people, our wonderful hair people, our wonderful wardrobe people, our wonderful lighting people. Within a gap of two months, they matched previously shot stuff with stuff after our wonderful friend had a heart attack.”
Patrick Fabian also returned two months later to play the corpse of Howard Hamlin lying on the floor.
“We had a nice young man who stood in for Patrick, but a lot of those shots, that’s really Patrick lying there,” Gilligan said. “That’s kind of an unsung bit of heroism, having to lie there for hours and hours on end.”