Last summer, the world was on the edge when it was revealed that America’s treasure Bob Odenkirk had collapsed on the set of the final season of Better Call Saul after suffering a heart attack. Odenkirk later revealed that the heart attack was actually a lot more serious than originally reported (it also happened during one of the tensest moments in the series).
Odenkirk recently opened up about the ordeal on NPR, explaining how it was a life-saving coincidence that helped revive him from his heart attack which left his heart to stop beating for nearly 18 minutes. Actress Rosa Estrada happened to have a defibrillator in her car, which helped save the actor’s life. As he explained:
Odenkirk: Rosa Estrada — we were very lucky that this woman was nearby because she knew how to do CPR properly, and she had the AED [defibrillator] in her car, and she only had it in her car because she was returning it to somebody who she borrowed [it from]. It was a total crazy coincidence that she had put it in her car, and I guess she’d had tried to return it, but the friend wasn’t home. Otherwise she wouldn’t have had it either. And so it’s only because of that circumstance that it was in the trunk of her car. And I’m sure that helped me immensely. I mean, the CPR is number one, but the fact is, I didn’t get a heart rate for 18 minutes after this started, and that’s a long time. Please take a CPR class because the fact that it was done almost immediately — within a minute and minute and a half — and it was done so well, it was done properly — that’s what really saved me.
Despite the setback, Odenkirk returned to set nearly five weeks later and was ready to dive back into the final act of Saul/Jimmy/Gene. Odenkirk said that the heart attack put life back into perspective and gave him the energy jolt he needed to finish off the critically acclaimed series.
Odenkirk: It made it even easier, much easier to be in the moment … of looking at the world almost like you just woke up and don’t remember anything. … My wife straggled in after a day of not sleeping and getting phone calls and having a private jet that Sony was so good to send to get her in New York. And she came into the hospital room and I popped up after surgery that morning going, “Let’s go to work!”
And that energy carried through and it made it easier to be in the moment. Which is your job as an actor. That’s the weird mind game you play, is getting yourself in the moment of someone else’s life, but really feeling on the edge of, ‘I don’t know what happens next here.’ … And it was easier for me to do with this kind of weird, new-found POV on the world. … I really want to stay in touch with what happened there because it really was a great reconnection to being alive. And so I’d love to ruminate on it every day and try to reconnect.
And with that energy, Odenkirk secured an Emmy nomination and several dozen Cinnabon cinnamon rolls! The final episodes of Better Call Saul air Mondays at 9 pm on AMC. Hopefully, some familiar faces will pop up soon.