WATCH: Better Call Saul's Bob Odenkirk talks Irish roots, and teases return of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman
Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk sat down with Independent.ie to chat Irish roots, the possibility of the return of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, and why he wants to film in Ireland.
Better Call Saul opened with 6.9m viewers on AMC in the US (Netflix don't release viewing figures), making it the highest rated cable TV debut ever.
Whilst this is music to the ears of star Bob Odenkirk, who plays Saul Goodman, he says it’s also pretty “intimidating”.
“Breaking Bad is so well liked and when things are liked that strongly they become precious about it,” he tells Independent.ie.
“People have been very open to seeing Better Call Saul and giving it a chance so I’m thankful for that but of course you worry about if you get that many people to watch your first episode you worry about keeping a good chunk of them.”
He adds, “There’s a lot of fun in the show and I think that’s what’s going to keep people coming back, that the character is funny and he’s often getting his ass kicked around the block and that’s fun to watch.”
Of the character’s Irish origins, he says, “I wish we were learning more about his Irish side. I wish he would go visit Ireland because it’d be a good excuse to go and hang out there! I will pitch that!
“It’s interesting because when I got the phonecall to do the part, I said to Vince Gilligan, ‘Who is this guy?’ and he said, ‘His name’s Saul Good man.’ And right away I said, ‘Hold up I’m not Jewish.’ My wife is Jewish, my kids went to a Jewish school. But he said, ‘He’s Irish, he just took that name because it’s a presentation.’ I said, ‘Oh that’s good. I’m half Irish so I can do it.’
Bob reveals that both his grandmothers have Irish origins.
“There’s Dooley from Cork and McCormack and I don’t know where she was from but she’s Scotch Irish I believe, but Chicago Irish – both grandmas,” he says.
“The one from Cork was the most closely related. Her parents came from Cork and she had a bit of a brogue and she grew up in a pub.”
He also revealed that he worried Irish people might be “insulted” by his Better Call Saul promo in which he encouraged everyone to drink up their pints of Guinness.
Bob reveals that Breaking Bad stars Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) will not appear in the first season of Better Call Saul.
He adds, “I’ve been told by the writers there’s a chance we’ll see some of them as the seasons go on. They really wanted to establish the show on its own and build its own world and live on its own and not because we dangled more Walter White in front of them.”
Better Call Saul new episodes are available from 7am on Tuesday mornings in Ireland & the UK.