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Even Bob Odenkirk is surprised by how quickly he bounced back after his heart attack in July 2021.
“Weirdly, it didn’t affect me much for a long time. I had a strange kind of upbeat energy literally the next day, and every day,” the actor, 60, star told Yahoo! Life on Monday, October 9.
Odenkirk noted that the reason for his upbeat attitude was memory loss. “It was because I had, like, a mind wipe every night,” he explained.
The actor collapsed while filming the final season of Better Call Saul in July 2021. He received CPR and was defibrillated three times on the set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before being rushed to a local hospital.
“My ability to even think about what had happened to me [was compromised] — I needed to hear about it from people who’d been there, and I needed my brain to get back on a normal state,” Odenkirk shared on Monday.
He added, “It’s something I think about every day.”
The Breaking Bad alum initially opened up to Sunday Today about the health scare in March 2022. “It was [deadly serious] and my widow-maker artery was completely blocked,” Odenkirk revealed at the time. “That’s why it’s called the widow-maker ’cause you die when that happens. But I went down. And I was very lucky that my co-stars, Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian, were right nearby and they rushed over to me and set off the alarm, screaming.”
He acknowledged that the incident left his cast and crew shaken. “I was not present for any of it,” he shared. “But I’m told it was a pretty shocking day on set. And traumatizing for all my costars and crew members and people I love very much who love me and stood by my side and then went to the hospital with me.”
Between Odenkirk’s heart attack, the COVID-19 pandemic and the dual Hollywood strikes (the Writers Guild of America has ratified their contract on Monday while the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is still on strike), the actor has had a lot of time to consider what he wants out of life.
He worries about “going back to work too hard,” but is taking steps to avoid doing too much. “I don’t think I’ll ever do it,” he told Yahoo on Monday. “I’ll never agree to working as much as I did for so many years. I’ll never do it. If I see that coming down the pike, I’ll avoid it. If you’re not able to collect memories because you’re just hustling exhaustedly from one project to the next, then you’re not really able to enjoy the work you’re doing and it’s not worth it. You don’t get to live forever. It’s gonna end. And in order for it to feel like something, you have to have the time to take it in.”
That’s part of why his latest project is a family affair. He has written a children’s book titled Zilot & Other Important Poems, a reworking of poems he wrote with his kids during their childhood years. His daughter, Erin Odenkirk, illustrated the picture book, which was released soon Tuesday, October 10. (He shares Erin and son Nate, 24, with wife Naomi Odenkirk.) The book came together when his adult children were living at home amid the pandemic.
“We tried to make the most of the limitations, the situation. But you know, that was a hard time for everyone in the country,” Odenkirk told AP on Tuesday. “And I thought, ‘Let’s just get to work on that book.’”