Breaking Bad methstermind Vince Gilligan is the subject of a lengthy cover-story profile in The Hollywood Reporter and is being asked NOW WHAT?, probably feeling like I dunno, man, maybe some naps, a glass of juice, a Leaves of Grass re-read? But he eventually gets down to speaking fairly extensively about Better Call Saul, that spin-off slash prequel we all know about but don’t know whether to be excited about. Here are the facts:
- Courtesy refresher: The show will star Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman, crooked lawyer, American patriot, local TV commercial superstar, and fashion maven of the Southwest. It’ll be on AMC. Peter Gould, the BrBa writer and executive producer who created Saul Goodman, will act as showrunner. The title is still not officially decided.
- It’ll be shot and set in Albuquerque.
- Vince Gilligan will direct the pilot and plans to be a full-time member of the writers’ room for the first season at the very least.
- Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have said they’re willing to make cameos, which obviously leads me to abuse my exclamation point key to the point of dysfunction. “Personally, I’d have a hard time resisting putting all these guys in for a cameo or two every now and then,” Gilligan says. AND HE SMILED WHEN HE SAID IT.
- Saul will probably be set in an office, and will aim to flip BrBa’s drama/comedy ratio on its head.
- Gilligan and Gould planned to make Saul a half-hour sitcom till they realized they didn’t love maintaining the usual x-number-of-jokes-per-page formula. Now the production style, and possibly the look and overall vibe, will hew closer to BrBa. “We’re both one-hour drama guys,” Gilligan says. “So we figured, ‘Why not shoot Saul in the same way? … 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.'” This is some glorious information.
- Gilligan knows the perils of working on a follow-up to a widely respected series. “There’s obviously a danger inherent in doing a spinoff, but I just love the character of Saul Goodman so much, and part of me doesn’t want to say no to this world.” Gilligan once worked on an X-Files offshoot called The Lone Gunmen, which aired for 13 episodes in 2001 before getting quickly buried.
- The plan is to have the show on the air as early as August 2014, or certainly by next fall. We have fewer than 365 restless nights of sleep to go, people.
So that’s Vince Gilligan’s life right now — still busy, and hopefully for a good cause. The man’s been in the No Bad Shows biz for almost two decades, so Better Call Saul has earned its share of “let’s wait and see” cred. It’s got a snowball’s chance in New Mexico of achieving Breaking Bad–worthy greatness, but these new factoids bring early Saul prognostication close to the “let’s get really invested really early” level.