Novelist Richard Russo is pictured in this 2007 file photo. Credit: Courtesy of Elena Seibert

A 1997 novel by Richard Russo, a New York-born Portland resident, has been picked up for a screen adaptation by the entertainment production company AMC.

The adaptation of “Straight Man,” which details the mid-life crisis of a college professor, will feature “Better Call Saul” star Bob Odenkirk, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Odenkirk has played the role of Saul Goodman in the “Breaking Bad” spin-off show since 2015, which details the life of Goodman before he became the defense attorney for notorious chemistry teacher and meth dealer Walter White.

Russo said that he was very pleased that “Straight Man” had been picked up for a screen adaptation, but was unavailable for further comment on Thursday.

The series is slated to premier in 2023, according to a statement posted by AMC on Wednesday.

Odenkirk called Russo’s novel “excellent” and “entertaining” in the release, noting that he was “drawn to the tone of humanity and humor in the novel and I look forward to playing this role — something lighter than my recent projects but still closely observed and smart.”

Russo has been active in Maine for a number of years, publishing “Interventions” through Down East Books in 2012. “Interventions”  is a collection of three short stories and a novella that are packaged in a slipcase, each work coming with a postcard-sized color print of a painting by Russo’s daughter, Kate. During interviews about the collection, Russo remained vocal about his support for locally owned and independently operated book stores and publishers.

He has also been a strong supporter of newcomers to the writing industry, and in 2015, hosted the Literary Introduction Series in Portland where he introduced and interviewed up-and-coming authors and their projects that he was interested in.

Russo won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel “Empire Falls,” a story set in a fictional Maine mill town, in 2002.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.