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Better Call Saul Goes Beyond Breaking Bad in Season 6, Episode 10 – The Hollywood Reporter

[This story contains spoilers for Better Call Saul‘s “Nippy.”]

When It’s better to call SaulWith the final season kicking off in April, fans were immediately surprised when the sixth season premiere didn’t begin with the life and times of Cinnabon coach Gene Takovic. Before season six, every season of Saul begins with Jimmy McGill / Saul Goodman living in a tuk-tock as Gene in Omaha, Nebraska, but thanks to the assistance of writer Alison Tatlock and the episode of director Michelle MacLaren’s “Nippy,” viewers have now had the full experience. their first episode in the sequel-Break timeline. Monday night’s black and white episode also confirms the fact that Gene’s adventures take place about five weeks after Walter White (Bryan Cranston) massacred his last enemy in the series. Breakseries finale.

According to Tatlock, delaying the Gene story until the second half of season six feels like the perfect turning point after last week’s game-changing episode, “Fun and Games.”

“After the emotional ending of 609 and the leap into all-Saul territory, we feel it will be exciting and surprising and hopefully it will be fun, finally shifting gears and entering the future. our black and white hybrid,” shared Tatlock.

Gene’s teasers for seasons four and five also introduce Jeff (now played by Pat Healy), the menacing taxi driver who has recognized Saul Goodman from his Albuquerque days. So, to level the playing field, Gene devised a plan to get close to Jeff’s mother, Marion, who is portrayed by beloved Carol Burnett.

“We know that she is a fan of [Better Call Saul] and Break, so we just pass our fingers. There’s a lot of people working behind the scenes that don’t just stop there, but me personally, beyond my fingers,” Tatlock said with a laugh.

In a recent spoiler chat with CHEAPTatlock – who joined the series in season four and is now an executive producer – also discussed the episode’s climactic moment, where Gene confessed how he really felt about his post. –Break life.

So you broke the convention in season six by not starting with Gene. You saved him for tonight’s “Nippy” instead, episode four through the last. What makes this the right time to deploy Mr. Takovic?

After the emotional ending of 609 and the leap into all-Saul territory, we feel that it will be fun and surprising in the end and will hopefully delight as we shift gears and step into the dark future. our white. We don’t know for sure that it will be a 610 event, but when we got there, it felt like the right time.

The episode’s title, “Nippy,” also broke with the season-long title pattern, but it makes a lot of sense since it’s a different episode from the rest. Is that the reason?

Exactly. We almost felt like we were starting something new. The scores are different, the cast is somewhat different, and we’ve never had a completely black and white episode before. So there are a lot of new elements in this episode so it feels right to mix it up as this is the second half of the final season.

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Bob Odenkirk as Gene, Carol Burnett as Marion in It’s better to call Saul season 6, episode 10.

Courtesy of Greg Lewis / AMC / Sony Pictures Television

You cast Carol Burnett as Jeffie’s mother, Marion, and Carol was actually mentioned in Ann Cherkis ‘205. Chuck (Michael McKean) and Rebecca (Ann Cusack) are discussing a signal to each other if Jimmy gets too unruly at dinner, and they have chosen to pull on Carol’s earlobes. Anyway, how did this selection go?

Well, we’re huge fans of her, and we’re excited about the possibility of her playing a role. We didn’t specifically plan a role for her, but once the role was born, we quickly realized that she would be incredible in it. And she was perfect for it. We couldn’t ask for more than to have her, and we’re very fortunate that it all worked out. We know that she is a fan of [Better Call Saul] and Break, so we just pass our fingers. There’s a lot of people working behind the scenes that don’t just stop there, but me personally, beyond my fingers. (Laugh.)

So it was great to work with Carol Burnett. She has great chemistry with Bob, and she gives off a great burst of energy every time she shows up. She is super game. And because Bob is the remaining star of the show without our custom [series regulars]. It’s a pretty strong roster, and it’s really exciting and gratifying to see them in action.

I know they went out of business in 1985, but did the writers’ room ever consider resurrecting Hinky Dinky for Marion’s grocery store? [Writer’s note: Kim referenced that grocery store chain in Gordon Smith’s 207 as she was describing her best case scenario had she not left her tiny town on the “Kansas-Nebraska border” for bigger and better things.]

(Laugh.) We talked about Hinky Dinky quite a bit in the writers’ room, but I don’t know if we talked about it specifically for that grocery store. That grocery store, Hansen’s, was finally named in honor of our distinguished property owner, Mark Hansen. So there are different nods in the episode for those who have worked really hard behind the scenes. You may also notice Schnauz Farms Cheese [in honor of writer-EP Tom Schnauz].

I will ask you about this! Since Marion has fallen in love with the taste of Schnauz Farms’ Cheddar Wisconsin Extra Sharp, are you prepared for an onslaught of angry letters from Wisconsin cheese surrenderers?

(Laugh.) Yes, there can be many people who can get excited for one reason or another, but it’s all done in relation to [cheeseheads] of Wisconsin.

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Pat Healy as Jeff in It’s better to call Saul season 6, episode 10.

Courtesy of Greg Lewis / AMC / Sony Pictures Television

The schedule has changed, understandably, and as a result, Don Harvey can no longer play the part of Jeff. So you replay the role with Pat Healy. Did you have to rewrite the character to account for what Pat brought to this part?

We don’t write to Pat at all. As I wrote, we didn’t know that the cast would change, so we didn’t know enough about the differences between the two actors or who we were supposed to have. So it was written with the original Jeffie in mind, and what Pat then brought to it, we found really compelling. He took exactly what he wrote and made it his own.

Director returns to Michelle MacLaren as royalty in Break The universe. Was it the first moment on set that you realized why she had such a stellar reputation?

First of all, I’m excited to be working with Michelle. Peter [Gould]Vince [Gilligan] and others told me in advance that Michelle was going to direct this hell, so I knew she was a great fit for the complex cinematography of the episode with all those screens and movies in movies and montages and lots of shots and lots of math. When we started filming the shopping mall montages, she let Bob, as Gene, walk down the hallway several times and dial that number as his confidence built and built. It’s a delicate build and it makes for an incredible collaboration between the director and the actors. Bob, in a very nuanced and quiet way, boosted my own confidence levels, and that’s when I said to myself, “I get it. I am in good hands. ”

So the episode climaxes in a scene where Gene uses truth to distract Frank (Jim O’Heir), and in doing so, we learn how Jimmy really feels about life right now. his. He is lonely and full of regrets. What can you tell me about writing down that moment and then capturing it on set?

It was fun to write, and I enjoyed writing all of the Frank-Gene scenes, including the emotional climax of all of them. The duality of what Gene/Saul/Jimmy was doing in that moment was only psychologically interesting. One of Jimmy’s tricks or skills – even if he didn’t mean to think of it that way – is to use his own emotions as a manipulation device, while simultaneously experiencing his true feelings. this moment. There are moments on set where the stakes are pretty high and you wonder how the actors will deliver the content on the page, but this is definitely a place where we all feel in sync. You can see Bob recognizes exactly what we were talking about.

In 201, the mall janitor heard Rich Eisen Show from October 21, 2010 and into 610, Jim O’Heir’s character made reference to a college football game the night before, that was between Texas and Nebraska on October 16. 2010. This detail reaffirms that we’ve been tracking Gene for about five weeks after Walter White’s M60 massacre on September 7, 2010. We’ll finally find out why you kept Gene. in handle Breakconclusion?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

The Albuquerque Cinnabon that you used for the location set up by Omaha is no longer active. So is it quite a process to get that location up and running again to some extent?

We had incredible help from amazing, talented Cinnabons who not only got up and running, but also showed the actors how to do their job.

Marion mentioned the “bad crowd” Jeffie ran with in Albuquerque. Do you know who that evil mob is?

We don’t, but we hope it evokes because we, of course, know a lot about the Albuquerque world. But we don’t know specifically.

In a word, how would you describe the rest of the season?

Attract.

***
It’s better to call Saul Now streaming on AMC. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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