Only 10 days after Better Call Saul creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould revealed that in the Breaking Bad prequel series Bob Odenkirk‘s title character will actually be known as Jimmy McGill, here he is in the flesh. A photo of a billboard along I-25 in Albuquerque advertising the services of a younger-looking Odenkirk as attorney James M. McGill, was snapped by a commuter. I’ve learned the billboard is a prop put up for an episode of the AMC series, which films in the New Mexico town that also housed Breaking Bad. For maximum authenticity and a nod to the local community that had embraced the franchise, the number on the billboard also is real, greeting callers with a recorded message by Odenkirk as McGill. Slated for a 2015 premiere, Better Call Saul, from Sony TV, will track the transformation of McGill, a small-time lawyer hustling to make ends meet, into Saul Goodman.
When AMC first announced its Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul, it was called a prequel that would focus on the evolution of Bob Odenkirk‘s popular Saul Goodman character before Saul became Walter White’s lawyer. Today, answering TV critics’ questions about reports the sequel will jump around in time, as had Breaking Bad, exec producer Vince Gilligan responded: “I think the best way to answer this is that you saw, from Breaking Bad, we like nonlinear storytelling. I would definitely point you in the direction of anything that is possible on Breaking Bad is possible on Better Call Saul. It’s fun for us to be as nonlinear as possible.”
That said, the series will have as its base the start year of 2002, Gilligan said. “I hesitate to say it, but it is indeed a period piece,” he said. “I can’t believe it myself — it’s like it was yesterday, but it was 12 years ago.”
(UPDATE: Gilligan and fellow exec producer/writer Peter Gould also revealed that Goodman’s character won’t be called Saul Goodman: He will be known as Jimmy McGill as the series tracks his transformation from a small-time lawyer hustling to make ends meet into Saul Goodman.)
TV critics — major Breaking Bad fans — immediately began asking which characters from that beloved series they could expect to see brought back in the first season of Saul. Gilligan and Gould said they are now working on Episode 8 and have yet to bring back anyone. “We’re trying to make something that stands on its own, that has entertainment value not just as seeing a series of old favorites or “remember when” – not the series equivalent of a clip show,” Gould explained.
“We’re still feeling our way through this…figuring out if and when — when and if — to see some of these characters,” Gilligan added, ominously
As production on the 10-episode Better Call Saul is getting underway in Albuquerque, New Mexico, AMC has given the Breaking Bad prequel series a 13-episode second-season order, bringing the total to 23 episodes. In other Better Call Saul news, Breaking Bad creator and showrunner Vince Gilligan will direct the series premiere. He also will co-showrun along with fellow Breaking Bad alum Peter Gould, creator of the Saul Goodman character. (The conceived Better Call Saul together.) AMC also is making a scheduling change for Better Call Saul. The series, previously slated for a November launch, will now premiere Season 1 in early 2015 and Season 2 in early 2016. Here is a first-look photo from the Sony TV-produced series, which shows Gilligan and Gould from the set, with star Bob Odenkirk (Saul Goodman).
“Production on Better Call Saul is underway and we could not be more proud of nor more excited about the work to date,” said AMC president Charlie Collier.
Patrick Fabian, Rhea Seehorn & Michael Mando Cast In ‘Breaking Bad’ Prequel Series ‘Better Call Saul’
EXCLUSIVE: Patrick Fabian (The Last Exorcism), Rhea Seehorn (Franklin & Bash) and Michael Mando (Orphan Black) have joined the cast of AMC’s upcoming series Better Call Saul, joining Breaking Bad alums Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks and fellow new cast member Michael McKean. The prequel to the Emmy-winning Breaking Bad, from Sony TV, centers on Odenkirk‘s unflappable criminal lawyer Saul Goodman before he became Walter White’s lawyer. Banks reprises his role as Saul’s trusted private investigator/fixer Michael “Mike” Ehrmantraut. Details on the new Better Call Saul characters are sketchy and the network and studios are not commenting, but I hear Fabian, repped by The Kohner Agency and Don Spradlin, will play Burt, a Kennedy-type lawyer; Seehorn, repped by Randi Ross of Phoenix Artists and Untitled Entertainment, will play an attorney named Beth; and Mando will play Spanish-speaking career criminal Eddie.
I have learned that veteran actor Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap) is the first new cast member to join AMC’s upcoming series Better Call Saul, joining Breaking Bad alums Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks. The prequel to the Emmy-winning Breaking Bad, from Sony TV, centers on Odenkirk‘s unflappable criminal lawyer Saul Goodman before he became Walter White’s lawyer. Banks reprises his role as Saul’s trusted private investigator/fixer Michael “Mike” Ehrmantraut. McKean will play a new character, Dr. Thurber, a brilliant attorney who is now restricted by an unusual affliction. Better Call Saul is slated to debut in November. Dream On alum McKean is repped by APA and Harriet Sternberg.
EXCLUSIVE: Jonathan Banks has joined Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul, AMC/Sony TV’s upcoming prequel to Emmy-winning Breaking Bad that centers on Odenkirk‘s unflappable criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. Banks will be a series regular on the show conceived by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan and Breaking Bad writer-producer Peter Gould. The prequel series, slated to debut on AMC in November, will chronicle the evolution of Saul before he ever became Walter White’s lawyer. The deal with Banks means that Saul will have his trusted private investigator/fixer Michael “Mike” Ehrmantraut by his side. Banks was a regular on Breaking Bad and played Ehrmantraut for 2.5 seasons after being introduced in the drama series’ second-season finale. A former Philadelphia police officer, Mike worked as the Head of Corporate Security at Los Pollos Hermano and enforcer in Gustavo Fring’s crystal meth operation. He later became involved with Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul), ultimately getting shot and killed by Walt in the Season 5A finale while trying to quit the drug business. Banks’ performance in the 2012 portion of Season 5 earned him an Emmy nomination, one of two for the veteran actor. (The first was for his role on the 1987 drama series Wiseguy).
Odenkirk and Banks are the only actors set for Better Call Saul so far. There has been a lot of speculation about which characters from …
AMC‘s first two original scripted franchises, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, once again will be cornerstones of the network’s 2014 schedule – Mad Men with the first half of its final season, Breaking Bad with its spinoff Better Call Saul. At the beginning of its TCA presentation today, AMC announced its 2014 scheduling plans, which include an April 13 bow for Mad Men and a November launch for Better Call Saul, starring Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman — before meeting client Walter White. Additionally, Revolutionary War spy drama Turn will have a 90-minute premiere on April 6, and 1980s personal computer age series Halt will unspool in June. Western Hell On Wheels is expected to come back in the summer, and flagship The Walking Dead is once again looking at an October return. Given that Walking Dead had been renewed for a fifth season, a pickup of its companion talk show Talking Dead was considered a formality, and AMC today officially announced the renewal of the talker, which is coming off series highs. On the unscripted side, Game of Arms will premiere Feb. 25, followed by the May returns of Small Town Security and Freakshow. “We are extremely excited about the 2014 lineup,” AMC president Charlie Collier said while still acknowledging the network’s daunting task to rebuild a …
EXCLUSIVE: Breaking Bad co-executive producer Tom Schnauz is staying in business with the series’ studio, Sony Pictures TV, and creator Vince Gilligan. Schnauz has signed a two-year overall deal with Sony TV. Under the pact, he will join the upcoming Breaking Bad spinoff series, Better Call Saul, created by Gilligan and Breaking Bad’s Peter Gould. Schnauz spent the last 3 seasons on Breaking Bad where he wrote and directed a number of memorable episodes, including Season 5′s Say My Name, which earned him a writing Emmy nomination and landed him one of three individual WGA noms for his work on the show. He also shared in Breaking Bad’s best drama series Emmy this past year. Better Call Saul extends Schnauz’s relationship with Gilligan. Schnauz started his writing career in 2001 on Fox’s The X Files where he first worked with the Breaking Bad creator. He also did a stint on the X Files spinoff The Lone Gunmen, which was co-created by Gilligan. ICM Partners-repped Schnauz most recently worked on ABC/ABC Studios’ upcoming drama Resurrection and his resume also includes the CW’s Reaper.
Netflix is credited with helping Breaking Bad become a hit on TV, and the AMC drama became one of the first signature titles on the streaming service, helping introduce binge viewing. The pair’s successful symbiotic relationship is now being extended with the upcoming Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. Netflix and Breaking Bad producer Sony Pictures Television have closed a deal for the spinoff series for all of the streaming service’s territories. In the U.S. and Canada, the complete first season of Saul will be available to Netflix members after its season finale on AMC Networks in 2014.
Breaking Bad‘s Saul Goodman will live on at AMC. After lengthy negotiations, the cable network and Breaking Bad producer Sony Pictures TV have reached a licensing agreement for a spinoff from Vince Gilligan‘s acclaimed drama series. The spinoff series, tentatively titled Better Call Saul, had been in the works for months. It centers on one of Breaking Bad‘s most recognizable supporting characters, Bob Odenkirk‘s unflappable criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. Conceived by Breaking Bad creator Gilligan and series writer-producer Peter Gould — who created the Saul character together for a Season 2 episode written by Gould — the spinoff will be a one-hour prequel that will focus on the evolution of the Goodman character before he ever became Walter White’s lawyer, AMC said. The network wouldn’t elaborate on the project’s status, but I’ve learned Better Call Saul has a series order pending the complication of Sony TV’s deals with Gilligan, Gould and Odenkirk. The pact between AMC and Sony TV came after talks between the two sides came down to the wire, with other outlets, including Netflix, which has had huge success with Breaking Bad, very interested in snatching the spinoff series.