Bob Odenkirk Is Looking to Get Some More Action
When Bob Odenkirk starred in the 2021 revenge film Nobody, part of the novelty—and appeal—was seeing an actor most widely known for Saul Goodman’s verbal dexterity and cheesy suits transforming into a man of few words and many brutal throat punches. The film’s critical and box office success left moviegoers and the actor wanting more: He told an audience at his masterclass at the Venice Film Festival that he’s looking to do more action roles in the near future.
“I was very surprised by Nobody,” he said, per reporting in Deadline. “I had initiated that project because I had a feeling that the character I was developing in Better Call Saul was the kind of character you see in an action film. He has earnest desires and he was willing to sacrifice himself…. I still train multiple times a week and if I get my way you’re going to see me doing more action.” Fans of Odenkirk’s since his hilarious Mr. Show days will be heartened by his explanation of why he likes the genre: “I found the action sequences a great deal of fun, and close to doing sketch comedy…I love the early Jackie Chan films, which had humor in them. I’d like to get that in, in the future.” (In April 2021 he told GQ that Chan’s Police Story is his “favorite action film of all time,” and the final credits of his 2002 Mr. Show movie Run Ronnie Run! featured a take-off of Chan’s famous stunts-gone-wrong outtakes.)
In Nobody, Odenkirk plays a mild-mannered office worker with a violent past as a government-backed assassin. Now 59, Odenkirk told the Venice audience he’s aware moviegoers enjoy watching veteran actors in action roles: Think Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman in RED, a mid-50s Keanu Reeves starring in the John Wick sequels, or just about everything Liam Neeson has done since Taken.
“It’s almost like people like to see older people lose their shit. Why does that seem to make sense to everyone? It’s funny,” Odenkirk said.
Back in April of last year, Odenkirk told GQ that he wanted to take the Nobody role entirely seriously, and not rely on his comedic chops as a “safety valve.” He also said he channeled three harrowing real-life experiences: His home was broken into twice, and he was robbed at gunpoint late one night in Chicago.
Nobody producer David Leitch told Collider in early August that a sequel was in the works, with most of the principals likely to return. “I think all of us want to go back and play in that universe, and we want to see Bob bring that character to life again,” Leitch said. (Shortly after the original Nobody was released, writer Derek Kosltad told Collider that he had already planned the opening scene for the sequel.)
With Better Call Saul now finished, Odenkirk has already begun filling his schedule with new projects. He’s starring in a TV adaptation of Richard Russo’s novel, Straight Man (a decidedly non-action-packed story about a cynical, late-career college professor), and he has a new film debuting at Venice called Worlds Apart, which was shot remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown. He also told the Venice attendees that he wanted to get back in the director’s chair, and potentially make a Los Angeles-set take on Robert Rossellini’s 1945 classic, Rome, Open City.
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