Three page interview with Vince Gilligan in The Hollywood Reporter. He talks about Better Call Saul on Page 3. Albuquerque should be happy. It's being filmed there. Oh and Breaking Bad fans should know that Cranston and Paul want to make appearances too.
Gilligan knows he could be setting up himself -- and his fans -- for the disappointment he so ably dodged by making his next project a continuation of his last one.
"There's obviously a danger inherent in doing a spinoff, but I just love the character of Saul Goodman [Bob Odenkirk] so much, and part of me doesn't want to say no to this world," he says of the prequel, acknowledging that he's familiar with the potential pitfalls of a follow-up, having worked on the X-Files spinoff, The Lone Gunmen, which was met with critical derision and a quick ax after 13 episodes back in 2001.
Better Call Saul initially was conceived as a half-hour sitcom until Gilligan and Gould, who created the character during season two, realized they weren't comfortable with a certain number of jokes-per-page format. "We're both one-hour drama guys," he says, but more to the point, they realized that so much of what they enjoyed about Breaking Bad was the show's visual elements. "So we figured, 'Why not shoot Saul in the same way?' Let's shoot it in Albuquerque, let's get as much of the crew back together as possible, and let's do it the way we did it before so that it will be of a piece with that pre-existing fictional universe that we had so much fun creating."
While they're still working through plot, they anticipate the series being set in an office with a much lighter tone than that of its predecessor. If Bad was 75 percent dramatic and 25 percent comedic, Saul will be the opposite. The challenge has been finding the dramatic tension in their lead character. Unlike Walter White, who was damaged and needy, Saul has been portrayed as happy-go-lucky until now. Says Gilligan, "We've had to find the ongoing itch that Saul needs to scratch, so to speak, or else we wouldn't have much of a show." The pair made a formal pitch this summer to AMC, which haggled with Sony over money for longer than expected before ultimately deciding to move forward at the eleventh hour. Others, led by Netflix, WGN America and FX, were ready to pounce had the flagship's network passed.
Both Cranston and Aaron Paul, in addition to some of Bad's other actors, have expressed interest in making appearances, which Gilligan intends to make happen. "Personally, I'd have a hard time resisting putting all these guys in for a cameo or two every now and then," he says, smiling at the very thought. He and Gould would like to lure at least a few of the other writers, too, with Bad writer's assistant Gordon Smith already on board. (They'll need to begin staffing up soon as the tentative plan is to have Saul on the air sometime between August and October.) Gilligan says he envisions being in the writers room full-time, at least for the first season, and already is slated to direct the pilot. Once Saul has found its footing, he'll turn his focus to other projects -- assuming he is able to detach.