Bob Odenkirk talks about which episode of Better Call Saul he had a heart attack while filming.
“If you want to see what a person was like before and after a heart attack, watch the scene with Kim and Jimmy when Lalo was talking to them,” the actor says.
People know that Bob Odenkirk had a serious heart attack while filming an episode for the last season of Better Call Saul. People also know that he got better very quickly and was back on set five weeks later to finish the last episodes of the AMC prequel to Breaking Bad that he leads. And just last week, the Emmy-nominated actor said that the heart attack happened in the ninth episode of the season, “Fun and Games.”
But it turns out that’s not exactly right, and Odenkirk wants to clear things up. The tragedy with a happy ending happened while the actor was filming episode 8, “Point and Shoot.” He was working on the key scene in Jimmy’s apartment where Tony Dalton’s character Lalo tells Jimmy and Kim about his scary plans (Rhea Seehorn). When Odenkirk went back to work, he didn’t finish that scene from “Point and Shoot.” Instead, he started working on scenes from “Fun and Games,” which is how he got confused. (It’s also understandable, since he says he doesn’t remember the time right before the heart attack. Some scenes of the show are also shot out of order.)
“All of Episode 9 was shot after my heart attack, and it was the first thing I shot after that,” he tells EW. “The pick-up scenes from episode 8 were not the first thing we shot. So I thought to myself, “Wait a minute, the first thing I shot after my heart attack was Episode 9.” That’s right. I was wrong when I said, “Of course, we didn’t just come back and shoot what we were shooting that day right away. We kept shooting.” We were led by a different person. Michael Morris was in charge. We started doing those things. We stopped shooting that stuff at some point, Vince [Gilligan, co-creator of Saul and director of “Point and Shoot”] came back, and we finished the scene with me, Lalo, and Kim. I just had a brain fart, and I’m sorry to everyone.
“But if you want to compare a person before and after a heart attack, look at the scene with Kim and Jimmy when Lalo was telling them about the plan,” he says with a laugh.
Odenkirk thinks that all the worry and attention about his close call can be used for something else. He laughs again and says, “I’ll just say for the hundredth time, but I’ll say it 500 more times in my life, it’s so nice that everyone cares so much.” “I’m glad people care about it, and if it does any good, it might make other people over 50 go to the doctor and maybe get a second look at their hearts.”
In last week’s Better Call Saul Insider Podcast, Gilligan talked about how Odenkirk passed out on set while filming “Point and Shoot.” “We watched him die. “I’d only seen something like that in a movie,” Gilligan said. “When we got back to the set with Bob, all we felt was happiness, gratitude, and thanks.”
Before the heart attack, the co-creator had just finished directing Odenkirk and Seehorn’s side of the conversation. Dalton’s side was filmed two months after the heart attack. “It was great to see Bob there,” Dalton said. “When we all saw him on the floor [after the heart attack], we were all like, “Oh my God, dude.” Don’t bother with the show. The worst thing that could happen to someone is this. [Laughs] When you mess with Lalo, this is what happens.”
So, how did Odenkirk feel about going back to the set to film these important scenes? “The effect that event had on my heart is something that has stayed with me and still does. Like today. Such as over time. I always think about it. I think about what’s important to me and how I can live my life to the fullest and make the most of each day. But the crew and cast were really upset because they were very aware of what was going on while I wasn’t. I was out of my mind. So it was a big deal for them for me to come back. Everyone was sad, sweet, and kind, but they were also a little too worried. [Laughs] I was very anxious about everything I did… It was funny, sweet, and sad at the same time. And everyone’s eyes told you so. Everyone was looking at me like, “Is he really all right? Is he going to be okay?’ The truth was that I was still getting better. Every week, a little more of my strength came back.
The person who was in most of Odenkirk’s scenes was very happy to see him again. Seehorn told EW, “You can’t get away from the joy and emotion you feel when you hear that one of your closest and dearest friends is still alive.” She says, “It’s like one of the worst days of my life was followed by one of the best days of my whole life: finding out that he was fine.” “But at the same time, both he and I care very much about the work we need to do and respect it a lot. He felt like he didn’t want to hold the crew back anymore when he got back. We had been filming for almost a year, and it was important to him to say, “Let’s do the work and take a break from the overwhelming feeling of what just happened.” Ignoring it wasn’t the point. It was great to get back to working on Kim and Jimmy, which is something that both he and I love doing.
Odenkirk had a lot more to say about the important episode “Fun and Games” over here, including his thoughts on what will happen after Kim’s terrible choices and in the last few episodes.