Better Call Saul: New photos, details from ‘Breaking Bad’ spin-off
Writer-producers Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould took questions from reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Beverly Hills on Friday. Here’s what we learned:
- The series regulars and their confirmed character names joining Bob Odenkirk: Jonathan Banks as Mike Erhmantraut, Michael McKean as Chuck, Rhea Seehorn as Kim, Patrick Fabian as Hamlin and Michael Mando as Nacho.
- Better Call Saul is set in 2002 — six years before Saul meets Walter White in Breaking Bad. Funny enough, that the events in Breaking Bad started in 2008 is also new information, Gilligan said, noting that the original show never specified what year it took place. “I hesitate to say it, but it is indeed a period piece,” Gilligan said.
- Yet the show will definitely jump around in time, as has been widely reported. “I think the best way to answer this and not get yelled at is you saw from Breaking Bad that we like non-linear storytelling and jumping around in time,” Gilligan said. “I would point you in the that direction, that anything that’s possible in Breaking Bad is possible in Better Call Saul.”
- Saul Goodman’s name in Better Call Saul is not yet Saul Goodman. When we meet Odenkirk’s character, he’s actually known as Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer hustling to make ends meet and working with Mike. The series will track Jimmy’s transformation into Saul Goodman.
- McKean (bottom photo) plays Goodman’s brother. “So we have these two comedy legends working together,” Gould noted.
- The show will not copy Breaking Bad’s neo-Western visual style. “Peter came with an idea book of frame grabs from classic movies, like The Conformist, we talked a lot about Kubrick,” Gilligan said. “We’re doing our damndest to make it as different as possible. It’s important that this not look like a carbon copy of Breaking Bad.”
- Walter White will only show up if it makes sense: “If it makes sense we’ll do it, if it doesn’t make sense we won’t,” Gilligan said. “I’d love to have him as a director … character wise, who knows? Maybe there’s a way to do it.”
- There’s a chance fan-favorite villain Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) could return: “There’s always a chance, yeah,” Gilligan said. Added Gould: “… there’s so much to be said about Gus — although in the series it always seemed to me that Saul didn’t know Gus directly. He knew a guy who knew a guy.”
- The reason Better Call Saul was pushed from fall to early 2015: “I am slow as mud as a TV writer,” Gilligan said. “We had a pace on Breaking Bad thanks to AMC that was deliciously stately … we have a way of doing things that’s slower than most tv shows … because we want to think everything through and we think that pays dividends.”
- Some Breaking Bad directors are returning: After Gilligan’s premiere, Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones) will direct episode 2, Terry McDonough (who directed the first Saul episode of BrBa) directs episode 3 and Colin Bucksey (four episodes of Breaking Bad) helms episode four and Adam Bernstein (Fargo) has episode 5.
Better Call Saul is set to premiere in early 2015. As previously announced, Gilligan directed the first episode of the first season, which will consist of 10 epiosdes. The second season will consist of 13 episodes.
– James Hibberd, Entertainment Weekly
Also see: Alan Sepinwall’s live blog coverage of this event. I particularly liked this part:
"Gould says the character you meet in Breaking Bad ”is the machine gun in the trunk, because we know that’s where the guy is going to end up. We’re going to bring him to that point.” They know that Saul isn’t the name he was born with, so they wondered “What problem does being Saul Goodman solve?” Gilligan says it’s a challenge, but they’re having fun. They are breaking episode 8 out of the 10-episode order for the first season now. “It’s like being really into this Rubik’s Cube we’re trying to solve.”
I’m very excited to see whatever they come up with.