AMC loves Bob Odenkirk — and for good reason; he was part of the show that, alongside Mad Men, solidified the network’s status as a leader in post-HBO-reigning prestige cinema, and was so amusing as Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad as to bring about the current prequel — another of the best-received series of its time — Better Call Saul. So now, the actor/comedian will likely once again draw audiences to the network in the just-announced mini-series adaptation of The Night of the Gun, the best-selling memoir by New York Times journalist David Carr, who died of lung cancer in early 2015. He’ll be playing Carr.
Variety reports that the six-part mini-series is being written by The Shield creator/showrunner, Shawn Ryan. The memoir itself used a journalistic interviewing structure — seeing Carr questioning people from his past to fact-check his own memory from his life as an addict and journalist, with surprising revelations about the ways in which he managed to balance the two. He also dug through past medical and legal records in order to see what matched up with his own addiction-muddled recollections of self.
The president of original programming and development at AMC and Sundance, Joel Stillerman, said:
David Carr’s work as a journalist was uncompromising, enlightening, and most of all, always driven by a fundamental quest for the truth. When he turned those skills and values around to focus on his own life as an addict, the result was a stunningly original, compelling and important piece of journalism the likes of which the world had never seen — a simultaneously heartbreaking, funny, and inspirational account that redefined the idea of telling a personal story. Shawn Ryan, Bob Odenkirk, and the incredible team behind this have embraced all the things that David would have loved as a storyteller, and crafted a vision for ‘The Night of the Gun’ that we hope will be as timeless as David’s book.
I read David’s story, The Night of the Gun, when it came out and was wildly entertained by his saga. It’s a story of survival filled with pain, crack, journalistic righteousness, abandoned cars, crooks, lies, and then there’s the two little girls who saved his life; it’s overstuffed with humanity. Shawn Ryan is the man to explore this real anti-hero story. I hope to do justice to David’s intellect and his scrappy nature. It’s gonna be crazy… if we do it right.
Variety makes it clear that the project is still in development, but says nonetheless that it’s “likely to be greenlit.” Though it’s slow and emotionally nuanced, Odenkirk’s character in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul clearly draws from his comedy career. This, it seems, will require a slightly different set of skills.