“Better Call Saul” co-creator and “Breaking Bad” veteran Peter Gould is one of the most successful writers in Hollywood, but it wasn’t always so. In the early 2000s, he tried unsuccessfully to get HBO to make his project about the Clinton-Lewinsky saga — with shadow puppets.
Gould told us that before he was hired on “Breaking Bad” — where he created criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, aka Jimmy McGill, the antihero of “Breaking Bad” spinoff “Better Call Saul” — he spent years writing projects that never got made. One of them was a Pam Grier story he also describes on the podcast. Another was the Clinton-Lewinsky story, which Gould wrote in both movie and miniseries form in the hopes that HBO would air it. The network unfortunately passed.
The scandal was still all-too-fresh in people’s minds in the early 2000s, and Gould was looking for a way to illustrate certain graphic details. That’s when he hit on the idea of shadow puppets — figures placed between a light and a screen to act out the drama.
Ever make a dog with your hands when your teacher turned on a film projector? Congratulations: You understand the basics of shadow puppets. Masters of the art form cut figures from paper and other materials to create characters who can walk, dance, and … do other stuff, as Gould explains.
Could the Clinton-Lewinsky story still work today? We think so. Earlier this year, Ryan Murphy abandoned plans for a season of “American Crime Story” that would have focused on the star-crossed relationship between President Clinton’s relationship and White House intern Lewinsky.
But interest in the case remains high: Donald Trump tried to make it an issue during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he ran against Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Gould also tells us about his interesting job interview for “Breaking Bad,” how he beats writer’s block, and what’s in store for “Better Call Saul” leads Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn). Things are about to get shadowy.