In the lore of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Bob Odenkirk plays three characters: Jimmy McGill, Saul Goodman, and Gene Takavic. Find out why playing Saul Goodman is the actor’s favorite and the one piece of Saul’s wardrobe that makes becoming the character easy.
Jimmy McGill fully embraces Saul Goodman in ‘Better Call Saul’ Season 6 Episode 9
“Fun and Games” shows a pivotal moment in Jimmy McGill’s life – the moment his wife Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) ends their relationship. “Kim was the last person connecting Jimmy to some hope,” Odenkirk told Entertainment Weekly. “A legitimate, straightforward connection that’s balanced to the world, to life, to other people.”
In the episode, Jimmy points out how much they love each other, to which Kim replies, “So what?” The people around them will continue getting hurt if they remain the powerful conning couple they’ve become.
Saul Goodman has ‘turned off his human dimensions’ making him easier for Bob Odenkirk to play
Saul Goodman, however slimy he might seem, is the easier role for Odenkirk to play. “The Breaking Bad Saul is much easier to play than Jimmy McGill and the kind of depth,” Odenkirk says.
“Basically as Saul, he’s turned off a lot of his human dimensions. He’s just shut them down and compartmentalized so that he’s facing the world in this persona, and literally only asking, ‘What do I want right now and how do I get it?'”Bob Odenkirk, Entertainment Weekly
The bluetooth earpiece transforms Jimmy McGill (and Bob Odenkirk) into Saul Goodman
Odenkirk calls Saul the “easier … thinner character to play.” Part of that has to do with the wardrobe Saul dons every day. “Putting his ear[piece] in when he wakes up,” Odenkirk said of the moment Jimmy permanently becomes Saul in Better Call Saul Season 6.
“That is like, ‘Let’s go, let’s go! Let’s be this guy!” Odenkirk added. For a brief moment in that scene, Odenkirk says Jimmy has a shot at “… 15 seconds of humanity.” But the second he grabs the bluetooth earpiece and presses “go … he’s on.”
“I say it’s easier for me to play, and I would argue it’s easier for Jimmy to play,” the actor added. It might seem like a simple accessory, but it’s one that allows Jimmy to ignore questions like “What’s the best thing I should be doing?” and “How could I be better?” and fully embrace Saul Goodman.
“He doesn’t have to ask any of those questions and life gets simple,” says Odenkirk. “And I think he’s at peace with that. And then it goes haywire with Walter White [Bryan Cranston].”
The Saul Goodman persona helps Jimmy McGill cope with the loss of Kim Wexler
The earpiece might be a tool that helps Jimmy embrace the Saul persona. But overall, the Saul persona is a coping mechanism for the character.
“He was trying to make [Kim] love him and make her respect him and keep her appreciation,” Odenkirk tells the outlet. “He lost Chuck [Michael McKean] and he felt like he pushed away the legal community with his Saul Goodman persona: ‘I’m not going to pursue that. I’m not going to want your respect or to be included in your country clubs and your legal associations. So f*** you.'”
Kim was the last person Jimmy felt a connection with — one that made him feel like he was contributing to the world in a meaningful way. “Once she says, ‘Goodbye, I don’t want any more of this and this isn’t good for us, and I’m going to make a choice for us both,’ then he’s like, ‘F*** this world,'” Odenkirk concluded. “And then he’s Saul.”
Watch the final four episodes of Better Call Saul on AMC Mondays beginning at 9 p.m. ET.