Bob Odenkirk gets to have all the great fight scenes in action-thriller Nobody, but don’t discount his lovely co-star Connie Nielsen.
“Believe me, if we get a sequel, I am definitely getting my revenge,” laughs the Danish actress.
Produced by the same team behind John Wick and helmed by Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller, Nobody was inspired by Odenkirk’s own real-life home invasion which left him feeling helpless, wondering if he could have done more to protect his family.
“My home has been broken into twice, both times with my wife and kids and myself at home,” Odenkirk tells us.
“The first time was particularly traumatic. As a dad, I felt the right thing to do was… nothing. I believe we made it through with minimum damage, but still, the experience has never left me, and I have always wondered if I should have been more proactive,” reveals the actor best known for playing mild-mannered Jimmy McGill in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.
Nielsen believes those themes will resonate with most men.
“I always knew this would be a great John Wick-style action movie. But it’s also a family story and I thought it was interesting in the ways that it asks, ‘What is masculinity?’ and even ‘What is toxic masculinity?’” suggests the actress, whose films include Wonder Woman and Gladiator.
“There’s a moment when Bob’s character, Hutch, is jeered at by his neighbor, and even his own son feels he’s not living up to the masculinity that is expected. And I think that a lot of guys must be wrestling with those kinds of feelings whether consciously or not.”
Nielsen herself has been the victim of a burglary.
“It happened when I was living in Paris, but I wasn’t home. Like everybody else, I would probably be terrified if something like that happened. As women, I think we’re always double-checking doors and windows. We are naturally cautious.”
She’s not sure if she would keep a specific weapon in the house, but says, “I’m a woman and most women know how to turn a few keys into a weapon inside of your fist – when you’re out walking or going back to the parking lot at night, you’re ready to knock somebody’s teeth out if necessary.
“So, I think there’s an everyday-ness to that fear that audiences will respond to,” says the actress who nevertheless is in fighting shape thanks to her role as Amazonian Queen Hippolyta in Wonder Woman.
Odenkirk’s Hutch is triggered, more than anything, by the theft of his daughter’s Kitty-cat bracelet. The cheap plastic trinket is worthless, but it pains him to see his daughter sad.
“As parents, we hate to see our children unhappy,” says Nielsen, a mother-of-two. “And it goes right back to the time they’re in the sandbox. There’s always those few kids who are out to see how much they can get away with.
“There’s research on children, as young as nine months even, showing how they react to something that is unfair. That, to me, shows there is a comic connection to what we think of as justified or not justified.
“There is something about watching your children being exposed to something that is unfair that makes us feel sad. And it’s the innocence which is broken when you see them having to confront that first thing in the sandbox, where you want to apologise and say, ‘I’m sorry, this is the place we have delivered you into’.”
Through his own harsh personal experience, Odenkirk understands his character of Hutch Mansell well – a man forced to make a reckoning after his family is threatened.
“The feelings of frustration and the pain of those experiences are what propels Hutch, and I can relate to those feelings strongly,” he says.
In a non-stop, uber-violent thrill-ride – also featuring RZA, Christopher Lloyd and Michael Ironside – Nielsen is one of the few actors who doesn’t get to pick up a gun.
“I wasn’t on set on the days they did all those scenes, but had I been there, I probably would have looked at the producers and said, ‘Hold on a minute. What’s going on here?’” she says.