Nobody has been one of the first box office hits since movie theaters started getting lots of (hopefully vaccinated) patrons again, which means it’s given Bob Odenkirk yet another skill to put on his résumé: He’s an action star now. The Better Call Saul star and Mr. Show alum has already talked a lot about how much training he did to turn himself into an everybody who becomes a crime-fighting berserker. Now he’s telling GQ that his motivation wasn’t just to expand his repertoire: It was to channel some very real frustration he acquired through some dangerous brushes with real-life criminals.
“Making this movie was a great opportunity to let out some deep-seated frustration,” Odenkirk told the publication, adding, “And, you could say, vengeance.” What did he mean? He then revealed that his family has had two separate home break-ins. He only felt comfortable talking about one of them, which he still said was “disturbing,” though at least it ended relatively peacefully. “I didn’t do anything. I picked up the baseball bat, but I talked everyone out of it, and the police came and got the guy out of the house.”
But there was also another incident that stayed with him. Many years ago, when he was still a staff writer at SNL while also doing shows at Second City, he was held up with a gun in Chicago:
I was really out-of-my-mind tired. It was, like, 1am on a Thursday, and I’d been up since 10am on Tuesday. I’d started the day in New York, stayed up all night writing at SNL, did the SNL readthrough, flew to Chicago, did the show at Second City, and then drove home. I was with my girlfriend at the time. And I got out of the car, and a guy put a gun to my head and said, “Give me your money.”
So I got the money out, gave it to him, and then he said, “Get your girlfriend out of the car.” And I said, “No.” Now, admittedly, I was bleary-eyed, blinkered, and not thinking straight. Everyone says that you should do what they ask. But I was just exhausted. And I said, “No, get the f*ck out of here. Look at how much f*cking money I gave you.”
Incidents such as these left a lasting impression, he says:
I think about those things a lot. Just like we all think about traumatic moments in our lives. They kind of haunt us. But I do think, There’s not much I would do differently. I think the one thing I didn’t do right was that we should’ve had a therapist come over — that day — and sit with us and the kids and talk about what happened. Right away. Like, within hours. Instead of going on with our day, which is what we did. That was a mistake, because it didn’t acknowledge the impact that we’d all suffered. We pretended, to some degree. “Let’s just compartmentalize this. Everyone’s okay, let’s just go on with our lives.” And that’s really not okay.
And those are some reasons why Bob Odenkirk became an action star. He’s not done with the genre either. He says he’s kept at the training, hoping he can do another one, maybe in the style of his favorite action movie, Jackie Chan’s 1985 classic Police Story. “That’s just something you could watch with your whole family,” he says, “and also, the fighting is kind of clever. It makes you smile.”