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Bob Odenkirk and David Cross talk success and failure

David Cross' and Bob Odenkirk's new book with Brian Posehn called "Hollywood Said No!"

Actor David Cross at the premiere of Netflix's 'Arrested Development' Season 4 held on April 29, 2013 in Hollywood, Calif.

Actor Bob Odenkirk at The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theatre on July 31, 2013 in New York City.

We cover a whole lot of Hollywood around here -- usually about creative successes and big box office blowouts. But, like any other business, the movie and television world is littered with stories of failure.

Bob Odenkirk and David Cross -- who you might know from their successful portrayal of characters in the TV shows "Breaking Bad" and "Arrested Development," respectively -- have a new book out called "Hollywood Said No!" about scripts that didn't quite make the cut.

"It's kind of a public record of our failures that we're proudly putting out there," Odenkirk jokes. "These were written for fun. These were definitely written in the same way we wrote 'Mr. Show' -- which was let's make ourselves laugh."

"Mr. Show With Bob and David" was Cross and Odenkirk's first joint venture, a sketch comedy show that aired on HBO roughly 15 years ago. The pair worked together for three years until the show folded, after which they went their separate but equally successful ways. They agree that comedy can be a notoriously tough business, but it's not much significantly harder than other entertainment.

"There's challenges on all fronts, and I don't think there's more in comedy," argues Odenkirk. "I just think when it comes to the big screen and anything that's got satire in it, that's where they aren't sure audiences want to see that. They're always looking for their 'four-quadrant movie.'" He pointed to "March of the Penguins" -- a movie with appeal in all kinds of demographics.

Cross points out that the entertainment business today is much more open to smaller movies than it was back in the days of "Mr. Show" -- just take the example of "Arrested Development"'s resuscitation by Netflix.

"You're talking about two very distinct worlds with different business models when you talk about studio films and anything else," he says. "If you went to somebody [at a big studio] and said, 'Hey we have a movie that if you put everything into it, you will make $1 million -- net, profit.' They just don't care. They don't want to make a million dollars -- they want to make 40, 50, 60, 100, 200 million dollars."

He says there's more potential for working outside the system today. "Back when we were writing these scripts there was much less opportunity to fund a project where somebody would be delighted to make a million dollars. And now there's a lot more of those, so the world has kind of opened up and changed quite a bit."

The inside scoop on 'Breaking Bad,' 'Arrested Development' Bob Odenkirk and David Cross offer some teases about their other projects. Is a Saul Goodman spinoff in the works? Will there be another season of "Arrested Development"? Read more

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

Actor David Cross at the premiere of Netflix's 'Arrested Development' Season 4 held on April 29, 2013 in Hollywood, Calif.

Actor Bob Odenkirk at The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theatre on July 31, 2013 in New York City.

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