Before Bob Odenkirk starred as Saul Goodman on AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” he was breaking his piggy bank just to stay afloat.
The Emmy-nominated “Better Call Saul” star has revealed that he actually went bankrupt before landing the acclaimed role on the award-winning Bryan Cranston drama.
“I get a phone call, ‘They’re gonna offer you a role on “Breaking Bad,” ‘ ” Odenkirk, 59, told veteran shock jock Howard Stern on his Sirius XM radio show
The father of two — who is currently promoting his new memoir “Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama” — recounted how “Breaking Bad” was “not a popular show or a big show at the time,” so his agent warned him “don’t say ‘no.’ ”
“And I was like, ‘Dude, I haven’t said “no” in a year and a half — but maybe you didn’t notice that,’ ” the former “Mr. Show” star continued.
The dramatic series premiered in 2008 on AMC and ended its five-season run in 2013. Before taking on “Breaking Bad,” Odenkirk had been trying his hand at directing, and he was working on several feature film projects that didn’t pan out financially.
He revealed to Stern, 68, that as a director, he had little creativity and was visionless. The films he was directing left him in a “financial hole” that ultimately led to him calling his business manager for help. His then-business manager surprised him by applying for a $900,000 loan so Odenkirk could “keep afloat.”
Odenkirk was skeptical about taking the role and disclosed to the radio show host that he contacted one of his friends for advice before accepting the part.
“I still checked it out, I still wanted to know what the hell the show was,” he said. “I called a friend, somebody I’d been writing with, Reid Harrison, and he goes, ‘Oh, that’s the best show on TV. You gotta do that. That’s the best thing there is.’ “
His success on “Breaking Bad” and the popularity of his character made way for the actor to star in his own spin-off. “Better Call Saul” premiered on AMC in 2015 and is set to end later this year.
The “Fargo” actor is currently on the mend after suffering from a “small” heart attack last year on the set of “Better Call Saul.” He also discussed his health with Stern and said CPR, a defibrillator and keeping in shape saved his life.
The characters of “Breaking Bad,” left to right: Mike Ehrmantraut (played by Jonathan Banks), Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), Walter White (Bryan Cranston), Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt), Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), Skyler White (Anna Gunn) and Walter White, Jr. (RJ Mitte).Frank Ockenfels/AMCSomeone on the New Mexico set started CPR following his collapse last July, which Odenkirk said, “saved my life.” A defibrillator was then used on the former “Saturday Night Live” sketch writer three times.
“Which is actually a lot, Howard,” Odenkirk explained. “When the defibrillator doesn’t work once, that’s not good. When it doesn’t work the second time, that is kind of like — forget it. But then they jacked it up a third time, and it got me back to a rhythm.”
Odenkirk added that he was in good physical form for his 2021 thriller “Nobody,” and that helped him stay alive.
“Because I was in good shape, you kind of enlarge other veins around your heart, if you work out a lot,” he said. “And I was told that more blood was able to go to my heart during CPR because these veins were just a little bit bigger from a lot of working out.”