My autobiography should be called ‘I’m a mess’: Bob Odenkirk’s take on his life
The Better Call Saul actor Bob Odenkirk talks about how his life is a “mess” and his thoughts on drama actors doing comedy and vice versa.hollywood Updated: May 29, 2017 18:01 IST
Bob Odenkirk, who stars in the Breaking Bad spin off, Better Call Saul, has not only proved his mettle as an actor but is also one of the finest writers on TV right now.
He started as a writer in 1987 for the popular show, Saturday Night Live and later wrote for many other internationally acclaimed shows.
Usually, people feel it would be natural for comic actors to attempt drama than drama actors attempting comedy. Does he think that’s true? Bob says, “Well, I wrote on Saturday Night Live, and as a writer, the biggest challenge we had was straight drama actors coming in to host the show. Some of them have such an arch presence, that it gives you something fun to work with. I don’t want to name names, but very often a good dramatic actor is impossible to work with in comedy. There’s just nothing to play against. Often times, they’re very sympathetic and have a softer character persona. They’re very mutable, but there’s nothing heightened about them, which makes them great in films as an everyman.”
Bob praises Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, calling him “a great host”. “Somehow, he was the exception. He is incredibly likable and mutable and relatable. I think drama actors sometimes interpret comedy as- be loud and stupid. There’s a lot of humour to be found in being broad and loud, but it’s kind of a clumsy way of looking at it. So, that seems to be a harder transition to me. Comedy actors surprise people by playing a quieter dramatic moment that no one expected out of them. But, I think, most comic actors are very capable of doing drama,” he says.
Bob adds, “I was kind of dismissive of the challenge of it all—maybe because I didn’t want to intimidate myself. Now, after three seasons of Better Call Saul, I have a little more respect for drama actors than I did. Beyond the challenge of finding a moment and playing it honestly and modulating your performance so that it plays real, there’s another challenge that I discovered over time, which is kind of staying inside of a different person for a long period of time. There’s a lot of personal turmoil in Jimmy’s life. I’m not saying there isn’t in my own life— I’m a mess! That should be the title of my autobiography- I’m a mess. But just diving into another person’s life and staying there is kind of hard after a while,” says the 54-year-old actor.
Bob adds that one of the things that he “loves about this show is that it has comedy”. “Those days are a big joy and relief for me, because that’s closer to what I spent my life doing. And it’s lighter. I just hope I don’t push that. Sometimes when I’m doing the comedy I can get a little light in the loafers,” he says.
Talking about the show that airs on Colors Infinity in India, he says, “I love this character and all the places that he gets to go. I used to read these articles about James Gandolfini and how difficult it was for him to play this character in The Sopranos. And Bryan Cranston has also said that he couldn’t wait to be done playing Walter White. I remember thinking- What’s the big deal? But then you deal with a couple years of someone’s turmoil—especially these tortured characters—and it’s a little rough.”
Is he looking forward to season 4? “I am. I think the confidence we all feel with these characters and the writing is really good. It makes you enjoy it more. Our writers set a lot up in the first three seasons. It’s a lot of setting the dominoes up, so that when they start to fall it goes faster and faster. Season 3 and 4 will be the dominoes falling fast. It has to be and it will.”
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