Better Call Saul, the hit spin-off series from its wildly popular predecessor Breaking Bad, wrapped its six-season run on August 15.
Witnessing the nuances they’ve brought to their iconic characters over the years, AMC has announced that Bob Odenkirk and Giancarlo Esposito will not be leaving the network’s fold just yet.
Odenkirk, who played lawyer Saul Goodman struggling with ethical issues in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul to perfection, is set to star in the network’s new series Straight Man, while Esposito, the man behind the character of Gustavo Fring, drug dealer, in both AMC shows, will star in The Driver.
Staying with AMC: Giancarlo Esposito (left) and Bob Odenkirk (right) have both landed the headlines for a new series with AMC, which will be their third with the network following their roles in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul
Based on Richard Russo’s novel of the same name, Straight Man tells the story of William Henry Devereaux Jr. (Odenkirk), the unlikely chairman of the English department at a badly underfunded college in Pennsylvania’s Rust Belt. , according Variety.
The show has been described as a midlife crisis tale set at Railton College in the midst of a fractured department, told in the first person by Devereaux, who is a born anarchist.
In the course of a single week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry co-worker, imagine his wife having an affair with his dean, wonder if a curvaceous deputy is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to perform a goose on local television, Deadline reports. And it all happens while coming to terms with her womanizing dad and his recurring physical issues.
Classic: Odenkirk played the ethically challenged lawyer Saul Goodman to perfection on the hit AMC series Breaking Bad, then again on the spin-off Better Call Saul
New role: Odenkirk will star as William Henry Devereaux Jr. (Odenkirk), an unlikely chairman of the English department at a badly underfunded college in Pennsylvania’s Rust Belt, in Straight Man for AMC, according to Variety
Aaron Zelman and Paul Lieberstein are adapting the novel for the screen and will serve as co-showrunners and executive producers on the series.
Peter Farrelly, who is known to many fans as one half of the Farrelly Brothers filmmaking duo, is also on board to direct and produce.
In addition to taking on the lead role, Odenkirk will also serve as executive producer.
“Bob Odenkirk is as good as it gets. We feel so lucky to be developing a new show that would keep him at AMC after Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad, two iconic series that have been loved by millions of fans and helped define AMC. and its reputation for unforgettable characters and high-quality storytelling for adults,” said Dan McDermott, president of AMC Entertainment and Studios for AMC Networks.
“I loved Paul and Aaron’s take on Richard’s excellent entertaining novel,” Odenkirk, 59, said. ‘Once again a project with AMC with an emphasis on character depth and sensitivity. This (academic) background seems very relevant to the conversations we all have. I’m drawn to the novel’s tone of humanity and humor and look forward to playing this role – something lighter than my recent projects but still closely watched and intelligent.
New role: Giancarlo Esposito, 64, is set to star in the new AMC series The Driver, which is already filming in New Orleans; he is pictured in April 2022
Deadline is among publications reporting that Esposito, 64, is starring in AMC’s remake of British drama The Driver.
The six-episode series, which began filming in New Orleans in early August, comes from creators Danny Brocklehurst and Sunu Gonera and showrunner Theo Travers.
Esposito stars as Vince, a taxi driver whose life is turned upside down after agreeing to drive The Horse, a New Orleans-based Zimbabwean mobster known for exploiting undocumented immigrants at ports in the southern United States , played by Zackary Momoh.
Skeet Ulrich will play the role of Colin, who is an old acquaintance of Vince, while Paula Malcomson will play Ros and Bonnie Mbuli will play the role of Shamiso Tongai.
The cast also includes Arica Himmel, Ivan Mbakop and Dax Rey.
Iconic: Esposito, a veteran actor since the 1970s, played fast food restaurant owner turned drug dealer in Breaking Bad (2009-2011) and Better Call Saul (2017-2022); he is pictured in a scene from Breaking Bad with stars Aaron Paul, Jonathan Banks and Bryan Cranston
Esposito, Gonera, Brocklehurst, Travers and David Morrissey, who played Vince in the original series, will serve as executive producers alongside Thruline’s Josh Kesselman and Danny Sherman and A+E Studios’ Barry Jossen and Tana Jamieson.
“I’m thrilled, excited and inspired to collaborate with AMC’s stellar network and creative team!” Esposito said Variety. ‘Thank you for believing in me. It’s great to be back home!
A veteran of film and television since the 1970s, Esposito is now best known to many fans for his unique take on Gustavo Fring, a fast-food restaurant owner-turned-drug dealer who demonstrates a equal business acumen and violent brutality to get what he wants. .
On the film side, Esposito is known for his collaborations with Spike Lee in feature films such as Do the Right Thing and Mo’ Better Blues, among others.
The pilot is expected to launch next year.
The Driver, starring Esposito in the lead role, is set for release in 2023; he is pictured playing Gustavo Fring in a scene from Better Call Saul with Jonathan Banks