Luck, good timing, hard work and—thank God—great scripts are on the side of Bob Odenkirk and Mireille Enos in Lucky Hank. The new AMC series stars Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul alum Odenkirk—hand this man an Emmy already, will you?—and Enos in a delightful turn. Odenkirk, never short of creativity and verve, may strike Emmy-worthy gold again here, but Enos, along with the exceptional cast surrounding her and her costar, truly stands out in this refreshing, inventive, fun—and funny—new outing.
Enos plays as Lily Devereaux. She’s the emotionally grounded and the unflappable wife of Hank (Odenkirk), the main focus of the series. The show, a compelling midlife crisis tale, tracks the existential angst of its protagonist, who narrates the endeavor. College life figures in prominently here. Hank is the cranky and unlikely chairman of an English department in a horribly underfunded college in working-class America. His discontent is rooted in unresolved daddy issues, a subpar, entitled student body, and the divisiveness permeating his department. Meanwhile, Enos’ Lily is vice principal of their rural Pennsylvania high school. When Hank begins to unravel, Lily finds herself questioning her own path and choices. Let the rumination begin.
Lucky Hank also features Suzanne Cryer (Silicon Valley, Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place), Olivia Scott Welch (Panic), Cedric Yarbrough (The Goldbergs, Reno 911!), Sara Amini, and Diedrich Bader with guest stars Shannon DeVido—a real standout!—Chris Diamantopoulos, Kyle Maclachlan, and others filtering in. The new series comes from Aaron Zelman and Paul Lieberstein, who adapted the project from the novel “Straight Man” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo. Odenkirk also serves as one of the producers. Enos opened to MovieWeb up about her role, in particular, in the exclusive clip below, and in the interview that follows.
A Hopeful Show
In the few episodes offered to press, it’s clear that the writing and talent stand out in Lucky Hank. Often you can feel the vibe of a show and Lucky Hank has that, “Yeah, this is good and I’m coming back for more” feel. Enos, who has turned heads playing darker roles in shows like The Killing and the film World War Z, felt that, too, when she read the scripts.
“For me, I just needed a little hope,” she said of wanting to star in Lucky Hank. “For a while now, we’ve moved further and further away from stories of humanity and hope. We have lots of the supernatural stories, lots of crime, lots of like things that are larger than life, but aren’t celebrating simple human action—to extend a hand or to try to move one’s life forward.”
She notes the pandemic and isolation that followed. “I just craved so badly stories about human connection. When you look at shows like Ted Lasso, which people just swarmed around and rallied around, that’s an example of a similar theme being celebrated in Lucky Hank. You know, how do we lift each other up?”
Surely, working with Odenkirk was a perk, too—the writer/actor/producer is a rare talent. But so is Enos. Anybody who tuned into The Killing saw that. Personally, I had hope for the upbeat series The Catch, in which Enos starred back in 2016 with Peter Krause (911), but even back then, networks felt the shifts in viewership. The series never went past 21 episodes.
Good news: AMC has given Lucky Hank ample room to find an audience as it will available across multi-platforms. Along with Odenkirk, this has to be one of the best ensemble casts to come around in some time.
“The embarrassment of riches we have in this cast is extraordinary,” Enos admitted. “Cedric Yarbrough, Suzanne Cryer, Olivia Welch. Everyone. It goes on and on. And on. This group of actors is so remarkable. It’s really been a love affair. We hope everyone feels that, and that we get to keep doing it for a while because it’s so rare to have a cast like this—it’s like lightning in a bottle.”
On Working with Bob Odenkirk
Enos credits her main star—Odenkirk—of course. Together, the actors showcase a unique marriage, one filled with candor, understanding, some grace, and depth. The two are believable as Hank and Lily.
“Bob is a very muscular actor,” Enos said of working with Odenkirk. “His brain just won’t stop. He comes from comedy, and he’s wildly intelligent, and he’s always looking to make it better. It’s hard for him to believe that, ‘Yeah, yeah, good enough.’ Like, ‘good enough’ isn’t part of his vocabulary. I’m pretty stubborn as well, and hardworking and muscular [in acting]. I love language and I love using your physical self. So, we’re both we’re coming at it like that, which is a very exciting way of working.”
She went on to say that it was engaging to find a creative partner who, “wants to mine it for everything that’s there as much as you do. I learned a lot from Bob just in terms of not judging yourself in the moment—letting your impulses fly. He’s so good at that. I don’t know, you’ll have to ask him if he’d learned anything from me, but we’re a really good team. On any given day, one or the other of us would come with an idea and say, ‘No, this is the key, the heart of it [the scene], then we would go from there. It’s a really exciting partnership.”
When asked what she wants audiences to walk away with from experiencing in Lucky Hank, Enos credits the writers and the show’s tone.
“I hope people laugh. I really hope they laugh,” she said. “And I hope they see their lives in it. Laughter is the gateway for that the biggest kind of emotional response, right? If you can lift people up and make them open and laugh, then those floodgates open to feel whatever else they are going to feel, whether they recognize themselves in it or something else. I hope people have a great time with Lucky Hank on a lot of different levels.”
On that note, this interviewer felt compelled to ask Enos what she finds most hopeful these days. To which she smiled, inhaled deeply, and offered: “That’s a hard question. But it would be my daughter. She’s 12. And every phase of life has sticky points, but 12 is hard. You know, 12 is that transition of going into teen years. And I’m watching her navigate it so gracefully, honestly, and authentically. I’m really inspired by her every day. And it makes me want to be my authentic self as well. And as honest as I can be. I think she’s incredible.”
Lucky Hank, debuts on AMC+ and across four of AMC Networks’ linear networks—BBC AMERICA, IFC, and Sundance—on Sunday, March 19.