Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Bob Odenkirk shows off the price you pay for being a 58-year-old action star

Bob Odenkirk
Bob Odenkirk
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

“Number one movie in the country!!,” boasted Nobody star Bob Odenkirk through a swollen jaw and presumably missing teeth on Tuesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. “81 percent on the Rotten Tomatoes!,” Odenkirk continued, after painfully and effortfully parking himself on Kimmel’s socially distanced settee, letting his single crutch fall aside and popping one recalcitrant shoulder back into its socket with a cartoonishly audible crack. Such are the costs of late-career action movie fame.

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At least, that’s the price when you’re a 58-year-old actor whose career has primarily been in sketch comedy, and nobody on the Nobody set clued you in on the existence of stunt people. Kimmel, who’s truly lousy at yes and-ing as rule, couldn’t wait to scuttle Odenkirk’s bit, but he did first gently ask his guest if he’d ever heard of the TV series The Fall Guy. “I loved it,” noted an uncomprehending and broken Odenkirk about the Lee Majors-starring action drama in which the former Six Million Dollar Man played a guy who professionally took punches, kicks, and plummets in place of the traditionally pampered and protected stars of over-the-top action pieces. Odenkirk, who’d earlier assured his host that three concussions, a missing kidney, and, most alarmingly, a lost pelvis (“I wasn’t using it,” states Odenkirk) are standard for all action heroes, broke once he put the pieces together, tearfully confessing, “I got my ass kicked, Jimmy.”

And scene. Odenkirk, who’s had his ass performatively handed to him for nine award-winning TV seasons as Saul Goodman over two separate series, no doubt sends his own personal stunt team some very nice holiday gifts. As for Nobody, the actor said that, no, this wasn’t a case of a standard action script being handed down through everybody in Hollywood until it fell all the way to the least-likely guy to portray a secretly badass, Death Wish-style bruiser. (While Nobody is a cheekier take on the white guy gets fed up genre, our own A.A. Dowd, in a positive review, notes aptly that Odenkirk’s turn is akin to a “nihilistic cartoon version of a Vince Gilligan arc.”) Still, who doesn’t want to see the former Mr. Show star bust out his inner John Wick (his long-abused male ego standing in for the murdered dog) and take unthinkable abuse while beating up the entire Russian mob?

Still, it’s not all cardio and kickboxing training at the Odenkirk house, as he told Kimmel that there’s officially a single episode of Better Call Saul in can at this point. He also confessed that, by his own choice, he has no idea how the upcoming sixth and final season will end for Jimmy McGill, both in the character’s pre-Breaking Bad past and post-Breaking Bad, Cinnabon-managing future. “They tried to tell me, I said shut up,” explains Better Call Saul co-producer Odenkirk of Vince Gilligan and the show’s creative team, who, understandably, wanted to run Saul’s arc by him. One thing is certain, if the past is any indication—Odenkirk’s stunt doubles will be absorbing a lot of realistic looking violence.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.