Bob Odenkirk discusses “Nobody,” upcoming John Wick-style action thriller

By Jason Flynn, Staff Reporter

“Nobody” is the joint vision of director Ilya Naishuller and writer Derek Kolstad, starring Bob Odenkirk, a Southern Illinois University alum.

Odenkirk has been involved with several well known television shows and films. Some of which being, “Breaking Bad”, “The Simpsons”, “Better Call Saul”, “Little Women”, “Dolemite Is My Name” and “Incredibles 2”.

The film opens with a tight shot on Odenkirk’s bloody face which pulls out to reveal the character in handcuffs, who then pulls out a cigarette, lighter, a can of cat food and eventually a cat pressing the audience to ask, ‘what the hell happened here’ as Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” plays over the opening. 

Advertisement

After the opening we’re taken back days, maybe weeks, to see Odenkirk’s character, Hutch Mansell, who clearly feels put-upon living out a quaint suburban life. 

He constantly misses trash day, his work clacking out office spreadsheets is a bore, and he’s resentful of his wife, Rebecca Mansell played by Connie Nielsen, whose successful real-estate career has put her face on bus stop posters all around town. 

In the first third of the movie about a third of Hutch’s lines are apologies.

Odenkirk said in a press roundtable over Zoom the movie is supposed to reflect, in a heightened way, how people can feel, “boxed in” by the stresses of every-day life. 

“20 years into your marriage you will have the thought, man or woman, ‘do you know who I used to be’,” Odenkrik said. “‘I used to have agency. I used to do shit without asking. I used to be considered a potent person.’”

The internal resentment flares up after armed thieves invade the Mansell home. 

Though Hutch has a chance to fight off the intruders, he holds back, and is tormented by remarks from an investigating police officer, his son, his wife, and his wife’s family members who, it turns out, are his employers. 

The rest of the movie is a parade of tightly choreographed violence that will feel familiar to fans of Kolstad’s “John Wick” franchise.

Odenkirk, best known for his role as Jimmy McGill in the AMC drama Better Call Saul, got his start working on comedies writing and acting in comedies including “Saturday Night Live,” “The Ben Stiller Show” and “Mr. Show With Bob and David.” 

“I come from sketch comedy, and it was my whole life,” Odenkirk said. “I didn’t want to make this movie as, like, a dilettante.”

Odenkirk said he trained for two and a half years to do his own stunt fighting in the film because he has been such a fan of action movies like Police Story and Oldboy.

“Daniel Bernhardt is the man who trained me, and he’s maybe the best stunt actor alive in the world right now,” Odenkirk said. “I wanted the full experience and I wanted to push myself and stretch myself.”

“Nobody” forgoes the point-of-view styling that drew attention to Naishuller’s music videos, and his previous feature film “Hardcore Henry.”

Instead, Naischuller favors more tight or medium moving shots to allow the carefully composed fight sequences to play out in full view.

Kolstad’s script touches on themes that are also consistent throughout his work, including a fringe member of society settling into family life, honor amongst thieves or an assassin’s code, and deep-state surveillance. 

“Nobody” adds addiction to that mix, as Hutch’s descent into violence is described as a relapse. 

The addiction trait makes Hutch a somewhat unreliable narrator. 

One scene has an operative identified only as “The Barber” relaying a list of crimes by Hutch’s Russian-mob adversary to which Hutch replies cheekily, “so he’s a bad guy.”

Hutch, we know, has been an assassin for the US government, shooting and bombing his way through foreign countries for years. 

The juxtaposition blurs the line between good and bad that was built up in old westerns which Hutch’s father, played by Christoper Lloyd, is always watching. 

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less of a utopian,” Odenkirk said. “We do have frontiers and they tend to be wilder, and maybe more dangerous than cities or other places that are quote-unquote civilized, but I just think this is part of being a human and it goes to every strata of society.”

“Nobody” premieres March 26.

 

Staff reporter Jason Flynn can be reached at jflynn@dailyegyptian.com, by phone at 872-222-7821 or on Twitter at @dejasonflynn.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisement