Last week, The Badger Herald joined a group of college publications from across the country in sittin down to a virtual roundtable with Bob Odenkirk from NBCUniversal’s upcoming film “Nobody.”
Odenkirk offered terrific insight into what went into making this film, how he prepared for an action role and how he embodied the depth of this film.
Q: For you watching the film now, are there any new perspectives or wrinkles that you’re getting from the movie because it’s coming out in a really different time than maybe when you shot it, or it was produced?
Odenkirk: “Obviously the pandemic is this thing that you can’t hit, you can’t punch, you can’t take it apart physically, you can’t shoot it, you just have to patiently follow the rules and wait and wait and wait … If there’s something a movie like this can do, it can let you fantasize the feelings inside you and sort of let them go, or play them out and feel cleansed of those feelings. A lot of people maybe are feeling that similar drudgery and frustration, from what is fortuitous and unplanned.”
Q: I read that you said that Hutch shares some DNA with your character Jimmy from Better Call Saul, so I was just wondering if you could elaborate on what you see as their similarities and differences and how you navigated those in your approach to Hutch.
Odenkirk: “They really pursue their heart, kind of cut open and they pursue those things, those intense deep feelings … they make wisecracks and stuff, there’s a bit of a distance there in some of these movies, but most of them it’s not that. Jason Bourne is totally like a baby, confused by his world and just desperately trying to find out what the hell is going on and how to fix things. So, I thought I played that as Saul. And that’s how people knew me. And if I could build off that, it would be a neat trick, and a f—ed up crazy magic trick to do action and pull it off. So, I went on a long journey that somehow played out almost the way I dreamed. That never happens.”
Q: As an actor who seems to play increasingly rebellious and renegade roles, how do you think this film explores agency throughout an entire lifetime?
Odenkirk: “This goes back to what I was saying earlier, everyone wants to feel that they have more agency. I think it’s hard. We need to work and live together and we need to do things in groups, and there’s a strong individual streak in each of us too and it’s encouraged here. A lot of good things come from it, but it can be very challenging to balance that desire to stand up for yourself and yet, do the right thing for the group … We all want to be effective in our world and strike back if we get hurt or attacked or victimized at all. But again, oftentimes, you can only see that in a movie. And it’s one reason we like seeing movies that play out violence and fighting and fighting back. We like those because we don’t get to do that in life.”
Q: I’d like to talk a little bit about your role as a producer for this movie, specifically whether or not you had a hand in crafting some of the film’s lighter, more comedic moments.
Odenkirk: “I’m thankful, there’s so many funny moments in the movie, but I very much, right from the start, wanted to not be ironic or have the character be self-aware of whatever he was doing in a funny way. And so, what’s funny is that it’s so audacious, I think, when he says I’m gonna f— you up, you just gotta laugh, when he misses the garbage truck for the umpteenth time. It is a funny movie with a lot of things, but it’s funny because it’s kind of relatable moments, but they’re so outsized that you have no choice but to laugh at them. So, thank you for observing that it is funny and I do think it is. It’s just not funny in a “Die Hard” way, you know, In “Die Hard,” he’s aware that he’s in so much trouble and he’s making wisecracks. He’s almost watching himself, like you’re watching him, kind of aware that he’ll be okay. But in my case, he’s not aware he’ll be okay. Not at all.”
Nobody is available on demand on Friday, March 26th.