You could say Bob Odenkirk’s dance card is pretty full.
On the heels of the series finale of his Emmy award-winning hit Better Call Saul, the 60-year-old actor has written a children’s book with his 22-year-old daughter Erin and is starring as a disillusioned college professor in AMC’s Lucky Hank. Yet the veteran performer is also ready to slow things down.
“Big life changes are happening,” Odenkirk tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I’m trying to be more present and to make some space in my life because when you race from one thing to the next you deprive yourself of the fun of the experience.”
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In July 2021, Odenkirk’s life was nearly cut short. While filming scenes for Saul, he experienced a serious heart attack. To this day he has no recollection of the incident, in which his heart stopped beating and he was rushed to an Albuquerque hospital.
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“I’m still coming to terms with it,” says Odenkirk. “Also, I’m still flabbergasted by how many people had such goodwill towards me and wanted me to be OK. I don’t know quite what to chalk it up to — Saul isn’t a particularly good person! But it was extremely touching. And I can only be appreciative of it and try to make something good come from it.”
That means more time to read (he’s currently engrossed in eight books) and with his family, which also includes his wife of 25 years, comedy manager Naomi Odenkirk and their son Nate, 24.
“My kids are very capable young people, but I’m still kind of up their asses,” Odenkirk says with a laugh. “I’m really happy right now.”
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It’s fitting then that Odenkirk’s newest role resonates with the actor himself.
“This guy, Hank Devereaux Jr., he loves his daughter, he loves his wife and he’s got an attitude about life and just lets it rip,” Odenkirk says. “He’s a lot like me.”
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Lucky Hank premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.