According to Breaking Bad production designer Robb Wilson King, quoted by GQ, Saul Goodman’s original image was inspired by a real-life personal injury attorney named Ron Bell, whose advertisements at the time could be found pasted across the arid landscape of Albuquerque and broadcast on local TV channels. Like the fictional Goodman, Bell’s advertisements were colorful and slightly cartoonish, with one featuring the attorney banging gloves in a boxing ring and another describing signs of elder abuse in a nursing home. Like Goodman, Bell had his own catchphrase: “Ring the bell!”
When designing Goodman’s office, King actually arranged a meeting with Bell and described the meeting as a surreal experience. “On the billboard, Ron Bell looks like the biggest movie star in the world,” King said. “Well, the door to his huge office opens and I look at this big aircraft carrier-like desk in his office, but he’s not there. And as I get closer and closer to the table, I finally see him. : He is the smallest guy I have ever seen in my life sitting at this table. It’s Ron Bell!”
King’s experience with Bell helped him design Goodman’s ostentatious offices, most notably his inner sanctuary, distinguished by faux marble columns and an oversized writing desk. The look was perfect as Goodman goes to great lengths to create the illusion of grandeur for potential clients. The irony, of course, is that Jimmy McGill is riddled with insecurities behind the character he created, but looking at him, you never really notice.
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