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Interview with Julie Ann Emery of "Better
Call Saul" on
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
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
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
2. You've been in a lot of great TV shows that I've
enjoyed! Aside from "Better Call Saul," which was your
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
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
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
It was my first convention, but I'm dying to go to
9. You like video games. What is the first one you
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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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