Interview with Julie Ann Emery from "Better Call Saul" on AMC - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Julie Ann Emery

Interview with Julie Ann Emery of "Better Call Saul" on AMC 6/9/15

I really enjoyed this interview. It's always nice to talk to a fellow scifi fan. We had a fun geek time. I didn't want to get off the phone! She's an amazing actress.  Check out all of the shows she's been on.

Make sure to check out this interview she did with IGN They chatted way more about "Better Call Saul" than we did.

Here is the audio of our interview. I hope you enjoy it!

If the audio is not streaming well, please right-click on this link and save it to your computer. It should work better that way!

Here's the transcript by Gisele

1. Your character in "Better Call Saul" was a little bit crazy. She went to extremes. How do you prepare for a role like that? How did you get in her head?

Oh, I think that Betsy would strongly object to being called crazy. [Chuckles] I think you can't judge a character like Betsy. You have to walk into her looking for why she is how she is -- why she does what she does. I think that, in her heart, she does those things for good reason for her family. She has big dreams and ambition for them. She's just used to going a lot further than most people for them. I spent a lot of time researching politicians and people in our society who have clearly done something wrong, but truly don't think they did. We have that walking around in our society. We have that. We are represented by a lot of those people in office. I researched a lot and did everything I could do to truly get into her head-space. I had a very different process than I normally do. I always build a full back-story for my character from when they were a small child. I think the best tool I had on this one was finding documentary-style videos of people who seemed very pleasant on the outside, but you sort of wonder who they have buried in the backyard. Also, Jeremy Shamos and I spent quite a lot of time rehearsing together, working together, sending each other documentaries, talking about the Kettlemans -- who they were and why they are who they are. In the first episode, Vince Gilligan directed, and he encouraged that sort of Robert Altman-style dialogue with us, where you finish each other's sentences; and I think that went a long way toward finding who they are in their head and sort of cementing their relationship without there having to be exposition.

2. You've been in a lot of great TV shows that I've enjoyed! Aside from "Better Call Saul," which was your favorite?

I don't know. I don't think I have favorite shows. I love certain characters, like I loved Aida on "Fargo" for very different reasons, just because she was so simple and salt-of-the-earth, and she was such a ray of goodness in a very dark world on that show. I will always love the very first series I ever did called "Line of Fire" with Rod Lurie. I played a CIA agent who had kids, and I got to do things on television that people didn't get to do on television at that time. That was, gosh, almost 10 years ago now. I loved "October Road." At the same time I was working on "October Road," [in 2008] I also recurred on a show called "The Riches" with Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard. I played GiGi, Gregg Henry's wife, who was a stripper from Vegas that married the boss, and she was very smart and sweet and wonderful and surprising. I think any time a character is surprising, I really latch on to it. Not getting typecast can hurt and help you in a career. I think it helps artistically. I guess I went from "Line of Fire" playing this sort of very tough FBI agent to doing "Hitch" with Will Smith and Eva Mendes where I was a very hapless lovelorn romantic. I think I'm always going to be attracted to something that's the opposite of what I just did.

3. You're a huge Sci-Fi fan, but most of your roles have not been in Sci-Fi shows. Why is that?

I don't know. I mean, I'm a journeyman actor, so sometimes I have a choice on things, but I generally do whatever comes across my plate that I think is good. I have auditioned for a lot of Sci-Fi. I just haven't quite been their girl. I did "Taken" for the Sci-Fi channel years ago [in 2002] that Steven Spielberg produced. I think that's my only big Sci-Fi credit. I love Sci-Fi. Part of me really thinks that I should go do some great Sci-Fi and part of me thinks I'm such a fan of that world, I love sort of having my fandom protected from having to do all that stuff from the bridge of the Enterprise.

4. You're a huge Star Wars fan, but you were born two years before the first SW movie came out. When did you first see the SW movies and what are your earliest SW memories?

I was really little. I think I saw "Return of the Jedi" in the theaters, but my stepdad had a gigantic VHS player, and he also had a laser disc player, and he brought home the first "Star Wars" movie and "Empire Strikes Back" when they came out, and we watched them on snow days when I was a kid. And I loved them. I loved that there was someone called the Princess who shot at the bad guys. I mean, Princess Leia was my first example of a female character being really strong and tough and being a leader, and I really liked that. It was very empowering to me as a kid, and I was in love with Han Solo, obviously, but Princess Leia was a very empowered woman and I think that really inspired me. You have a lot more empowerment for girls now happening, and I hope that continues, but "Star Wars" -- I believe that I became a Sci-Fi fan, because girls weren't so limited in that world. Like, there were examples of great women. I think Princess Leia had almost everything to do with that for me.

5. Which is your favorite SW movie? SW character?

Okay, I'm supposed to say "Empire Strikes Back" because that's what everybody says, right? And it's probably the best one historically, but I, as a child, loved "Return of the Jedi." Maybe it's because it's the first one I saw in theaters, but I wanted an Ewok so badly, I couldn't stand it. I loved to watch the good guys win. I loved "Return of the Jedi." And, you know, the new Battlefront 3 is coming out, and the trailer is all on the forest moon Endor -- it looks amazing!

6. I'm so jealous that you went to the SW Celebration. What was that like?

It was -- it was amazing! I went a little crazy on Instagram that day. I had the best time! I mean, they had the Mos Eisley Cantina set up, and they had everything there. I was like a little kid in a candy store. I could not contain myself. Also, my husband and I do a lot of roadtripping, and we listen to the "Star Wars" book on tape, 'cause they have like the John Williams music and these great leaders and all of the rock star audiobook readers did this iambic pentameter Shakespeare "Star Wars" -- like the first three movies in Shakespeare verse. It was incredible! It was really amazing!

7. Did you wear a costume when you went to the "Star Wars" celebration?

I didn't wear one there, but I wore my red team ?? T-shirt, but I got hooked up with -- You know "Better Call Saul" fans are the best. A Kettleman fan hooked me up with tickets, because they were sold out already, and another fan hooked me up with the guys who were doing the live feed on YouTube, and I went over to say "Hi" to them. We met on Twitter, and I went over to say "Hi" to them, and they put me in costume. It was great. I was a moisture ?? farmer. I loved it. It was amazing, and my husband was a Jedi. It was great! Yeah, we walked around the Mos Eisley Cantina and took pictures, and it was so much fun. We had the best time. It was wonderful!

8. Do you usually go to Sci-Fi or comic book conventions like Comic-Con?

It was my first convention, but I'm dying to go to Comic-Con.

9. You like video games. What is the first one you played?

I played Battlefront -- it was my first grown-up video game. I played Atari and Nintendo as a kid, and I was way into Donkey Kong and Super Mario Brothers. We all played a lot of Pacman, even Tetris. I want to know how they came up with something where kids would just stare at the television and try to fit blocks into a row. We played a lot of video games as kids. My adult gaming started with the original XBox, and I was obsessed with Battlefront.

10. Which ones do you play now?

My husband and I are always looking for games that we can play split screen at the same time without having to be in different locations, 'cause we like to play for date night. So we play a lot of Halo. I love Halo Reach, because I can play as a woman without having to look like a hooker. I can play as a badass chick. I'm really excited that the new Battlefront is coming out. I've played Lord of the Rings, a few fantasy games, and I've just gotten into Call of Duty Ghost Brigade.

11. Is your husband also into gaming?

He does. We'll play in on date night, and make nachos, and play video games for six hours. TV actresses aren't supposed to eat nachos and play video games, so I'm breaking all the rules. I don't know if you can be married and be a hardcore gamer without your spouse being a gamer. Not that I'm hardcore. We just enjoy playing. I think everybody has to be down with it in the household. Everything is sort of going co-op play online, so that means we have to be in different rooms on different television, so I wish they would go back to more split screen games. I really like the group activity of it. Like I love to even play with my nieces and nephews, but together in the same room. I like that communal activity.

12. Do you go to gaming conventions?

I have not yet been to a gaming convention, although I'm going to East Reed for the first time on Monday. There's a showcase party on Monday night, and they're doing a demo of Halo 5. My husband was in Seattle last year when the big convention was there, and I could very easily get into it. I have to curb myself. On Twitter, I have lots of fans asking me what my handle is online, and I am online, so my husband and I can play when he's out of town, but I can't start playing with people. If I start playing with strangers, I'll never get anything done again. I'll never shoot another movie. I'll never do a TV series. I'll never write anything. I'll never send another email. I'll get very obsessed very quickly with that.

13. Have you done voices for video games?

I have not done voices for video games. I used to audition for some voices for video games. I mean can you imagine? I would freak out so badly over that. That would be amazing. That would be amazing. Nathan Fillion cropped up on Halo Reach. That was fun! Really cool!

14. Do you know yet whether Betsy will be back for future seasons of "Better Call Saul?"

I mean, I don't. If I did, I wouldn't be able to talk about it. It would be a big spoiler. Peter Gould said on Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter that they would like to have us back, but it has to make sense for the show, and it has to make sense in the story of Jimmy McGill becoming Saul Goodman, so I would love to see that happen, if there's a way that really makes sense for the show. I love playing Betsy. I hope I'm not done playing Betsy. Season 2 starts filming at the end of this month.

15. If Betsy were in the SW universe, what would she be?

[Laughs] Well, she would definitely be on the dark side. I think Betsy would like to think that she would be Emperor Palpatine, but I'm sure she's probably not quite that high up. In the books, there's a female general that I think will probably be in the upcoming movies that probably aligns most closely with Betsy. She'd have to be an alien of some kind, right? I mean, her mind works so differently from a normal human. Or maybe an android or maybe a crossover android, you know. The first three I didn't quite get into as much. Maybe like a General Grievous character: part robot, part human. Evil Jedi robot with four light sabers, yeah.

16. Do you watch any of the Sci-Fi or comic book TV shows? Which ones?

I do. I do. I was a giant Stargate fan. I'm searching for something right now to really love. I watch "Defiance." I've been watching "Lost Girls." I just caught up on it on Netflix, actually. And I haven't started Sense8, the Wachowski project on Netflix, but I'm very excited to see that. I'm into space in my sci-fi. I'm a huge "Star Trek" fan, which I know is supposed to run counter. You're supposed to be a "Star Wars" fan or "Star Trek" fan, but I don't care. I caught up again on "Next Generation" on Netflix, and I've been reaching back for that and "Voyager" but I'm waiting for another great Sci-Fi series in outer space. I do like "Stargate," I do. I actually just did a podcast with one of the guys on "Stargate Universe." My favorite thing about "Stargate" was that it had a sense of humor to it. I think some of the Sci-Fi now makes fun of it, but the characters have a sense of humor about themselves. I read an interview once where Richard Dean Anderson really sort of insisted on that. I think he was really smart.

17. Do you have any other TV or movie projects coming out soon that we should look for?

I just finished two episodes of "Masters of Sex." I really hate spoilers, so I don't want to say too much about my character, Jo, except that I'm in a very unusual relationship, and I got to work with actors that I had been big admirers of for a long time. And I just finished an episode of a new HBO show that will be out later in the summer.

18. They haven't yet announced a release date for "Better Call Saul" DVDs. Have you heard anything about that?

I did some commentary for it. I think it's the end of July, but I don't know -- another couple of months. There are going to be some great extras on the DVD. Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have gotten into there being DVD extras, so there's a reason to buy the box set. There's gonna be some really, really cool extras on the DVD box set. Someone made me promise not to tell. I think you have to make it worth it now, because you can buy everything episode-by-episode on iTunes already. I mean, there's so much you can get digitally now. You have to make it really worth your while to own something in hard copy.

19. Anything else you'd like to tell us about?

I think that's it. This has been a really thorough interview. Thank you for the Sci-Fi chat. I'll check out "Dark Matter."


Julie Ann playing with Han SoloJulie Ann is a huge Stars Wars fan and recently attending a fan convention to feed her addiction. Julie loves Sci Fi in general and is also a huge gamer. She finds that playing video games, is the best stress reliever. Julie Ann will debate for hours on her favorite games.

“Better Call Saul” revolves around Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk), the shady lawyer of Walter White, the hero of “Breaking Bad,” and is set roughly six years before the two men meet. As you may know, Julie Ann Emery currently plays the role of Betsy Kettleman, one of the most mysterious characters in the series, who at first glance appears to be an average wife and mother, but has much more going on underneath.

Best known for the feature film Hitch (“…a sweet turn by Julie Ann Emery as Eva Mendes’ best friend”…USA TODAY), Julie Ann Emery made her big screen debut in the hit romantic comedy alongside Will Smith and Kevin James. Building on that momentum, she went on to star as Holly in the hit indie-comedy History of Future Folk and as Annie Cayne in the family film Dakota’s Summer with Keith Carradine.

No stranger to the small screen, you may also recognize Emery as “Ida Thurman” from the Emmy and Golden Globe winning mini-series “Fargo,” with Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Freeman, Oliver Platt, and Bob Odenkirk, She starred as Special Agent Jennifer Sampson in Rod Lurie’s critically acclaimed series “Line of Fire (“an agent so fiery and confident…she’s reminiscent of Jodie Foster in The Silence of The Lambs”...NY Daily News). Emery also worked with Lurie as Secret Service Agent Joan Greer on ABC’s political drama series “Commander in Chief” alongside Golden Globe winner Geena Davis and Emmy winner Donald Sutherland. Emery appeared as Amelia Keyes in Stephen Spielberg’s Emmy nominated mini-series, “Taken,” and in recurring roles on USA’s “Suits,” DirecTV’s “Damages,” “The Riches” for FX, Showtime’s Emmy-nominated drama series “Dexter," and “NCIS.”

Recently, Julie Ann booked a 2 episode arc in Showtime’s hit show, “Masters Of Sex” and a guest starring role in HBO’s new show called "Videosyncrasy”.

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