“Let me ask you something. When you saw this movie, did you start by thinking, ‘Holy shit, is that Bob Odenkirk?’” Bob Odenkirk is a little nervous about his latest project, and with good reason. Over a career that spans more than 30 years, appearances on everything from Seinfeld to The Office to How I Met Your Mother, and a standout performance on Breaking Bad that led to his current hit spinoff, Better
Call Saul, Bob Odenkirk has done just about everything he’s ever wanted to do in show business. He has, however, never starred in an action movie. Until now, that is.
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Odenkirk’s first foray into the genre, Nobody, is a dark and blood-spattered revenge flick penned by John Wick creator Derek Kolstad. It tells the story of Hutch Mansell, a glum suburban dad who is revealed to have (in the parlance of the genre) “a very particular set of skills acquired over a very long career.” In the proud tradition of Liam Neeson, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, and a handful of others, Odenkirk plays an aging everyman turned vigilante who’s pulled into a war against a bunch of central-casting Russian gangsters. Punches are thrown, muscle cars are crashed, bullets are dodged, and a kitten is saved from the rubble.
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Combining elements from classic revenge thrillers like Taken and The Equalizer with the neo-noir sensibility of the John Wick movies, plus an unexpected boost of supporting talent from RZA and Christopher Lloyd (who, at 82, has lost none of his oddball magnetism), Nobody has all of the elements of a well-spent 90 minutes. The least-proven factor, Odenkirk readily admits, was himself.
“I knew it was out of my wheelhouse,” says the 58-year-old, who trained for two years with a top-tier martial arts coach to do his own fight scenes in the film. “But when you get a little older, you start to feel like the options for doing something wildly different are really diminishing fast. There’s a sense that if you ever wanted to do anything different from who you are, you’re losing that prep time.”
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At first, it feels like a stretch to see the guy you may remember as “Porno Gil” on Curb Your Enthusiasm brutally laying waste to half a dozen thugs on a city bus in Nobody. Over the course of the movie, however, Odenkirk, proves himself a surprisingly adept one-man wrecking crew. It was a calculated risk, he admits, but it was one he relished the chance to take. “I could be in for a massive roasting,” he says. “But after all these years and all of the opportunities I’ve had, I’m just up for risking a lot. I wanted to see if I could pull it off.”
So, to answer the question you may be asking, yes that is indeed Bob Odenkirk. And it turns out he can kick some serious ass.