By Tim Molloy
“Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan says he and writer Peter Gould are moving “full speed ahead” on their potential spinoff of “Breaking Bad.”
With the final eight episodes of the AMC series set to begin airing Aug. 11, viewers can take comfort in the possibility of the spinoff, built around Bob Odenkirk’s scheming criminal attorney Saul Goodman.
The offshoot, which Gilligan and Gould would pitch to “Breaking Bad” studio Sony, isn’t a sure thing. But Gilligan, who began talking about the idea last year, told TheWrap on Tuesday that it is his only post-“Breaking Bad” project at the moment.
Gilligan and Gould — the “Breaking Bad” writer-producer who created Goodman in Season 2 — are still trying to work out the details of the project, including whether it would be a prequel or sequel.
As Gilligan noted, there’s no guarantee that Goodman will survive “Breaking Bad.” But a prequel would open up other possibilities — including the potential return of Giancarlo Esposito as Gus Fring.
Gilligan (above, between Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks) talked with us about how a Goodman spinoff could come to be, and why Esposito reminds him of Al Pacino.
Tim Molloy: Can you talk about the status of the possible spinoff?
Vince Gilligan: All my writers are wonderful writers. And they’re all ready to run their own shows. In this particular case, since Peter created the character, it felt more than right to be working with him on this, and we are plugging away coming up with a pitch and a take on it for the network and studio and hopefully everyone will agree that there’s a really fun show to be had here. And hopefully we’ll get it up and running, and then Peter will run it. I’d love to see that happen.
It’s not a done deal yet, but it’s definitely something we’re full speed ahead on trying to get going.
Will it be a half hour or an hour?
There’s a way to do both versions of the show. There’s a way to make it a half-hour show and make it a little more — I don’t want to say sitcom-y, but a little more traditionally half-hour comedic. Or there’s a way to do it where it fits more snuggly in with the “Breaking Bad” universe, in which it’s an hour-long show. As you can imagine with Saul Goodman as a character, a show like that would have to have plenty of humor to it. But also because he works for some pretty scary clientele sometimes, there’d be a bit of drama in it as well. We’re trying to nail that down. As of yet, we haven’t completely figured that out ourselves.
Any decision on whether it’s a prequel or the further adventures of Saul?
Those are the two big questions we ask ourselves — is it a half hour or an hour, is it a prequel or a sequel? But having said that, I have to be coy as to whether it even could be a sequel. Because you never know, when the dust settles at the end of our final eight episodes, where everybody’s gonna be and who’s gonna be left standing. I can’t even say for sure that it could be a sequel. It may be, it may not.
If it’s a prequel, Giancarlo Esposito says he’d love to do it.
Any chance I get to work with Giancarlo again, I would jump at the opportunity. He is a wonderful actor and such a sweet guy. … It’s kind of one of those “duh” moments where you think, ‘Of course he’s not Gus Fring, he’s an actor. He’s a very good actor.’ But I still get amazed even after doing this for so many years what a good actor can bring to a character, and how different a good actor can be in real life from the character they portray. Using Giancarlo as an example, this is a guy who is so sweet and kind and sort of tactile – as soon as he sees you he’ll bound across the room and give you a big hug. And he’s into yoga and he’s a very healthy guy. He wears his heart on his sleeve in the best possible way. And yet he can play a guy who’s as buttoned-down and cold and businesslike as Gus Fring.
It makes me think of — I’ve never met the man — but it makes me think of Al Pacino playing Michael Corleone. And yet in some of the other movies he can play kind of a wild man. Or he can play it really buttoned down. I think of Pacino a lot when I think of Giancarlo.