'Better Call Saul' Cast: Rhea Seehorn Talks AMC Show's Characters & Differences From 'Breaking Bad' [EXCLUSIVE, TRAILER]
To the excitement of Breaking Bad loyalists, the franchise is on the heels of airing its highly anticipated spin-off, Better Call Saul, which wrapped its Albuquerque production in November.
While the AMC TV series will serve as a prequel, it will "very much be its own thing," stated actress Rhea Seehorn (Kim Wexler), whose successfully transitioned from trading comedic blows with Whitney Cummings in Whitney to getting hot and heavy with Bob Odenkirk's pre-Saul Goodman character, Jimmy McGill.
The well-versed thespian took the opportunity to speak to Enstars about the highly anticipated one-hour drama.
"It's not Breaking Bad season six, but Better Call Saul season one. It's absolutely its own ship that's going to set sail," she said, driving the point across that the latter program's DNA won't be as similar to the former as one would be inclined to think.
"It's an anti-hero's journey and transformation story. In this case, it's Saul's origin story," Seehorn added.
With big shoes to fill, Better Call Saul will attempt to do so with a slew of brand new characters. Seehorn aside, audiences will meet Saul Goodman's equally down-and-out older brother, Chuck, who's played by Curb Your Enthusiasm's Michael McKean as well as an all-too-familiar TV face in Patrick Fabian, who'll don the role of lawyer nemesis, Howard Hamlin.
Actor Jonathan Banks, who killed it, literally, in Breaking Bad as a hitman-for-hire PI, will reprise his role as the tough-as-nails Mike Ehrmantraut.
With a surfeit of talented troupers on board and the opportunities that delivering a high-caliber spin-off to the small screen provide, Seehorn felt, from the get-go, that Better Call Saul's creative landscape was a blueprint for success.
"With the DNA of people from Breaking Bad, I knew this was going to be rich storytelling, with very complex characters, lots of surprises and twists and turns within the plot," she said.
Seehorn, also known for her role as Ellen Swatello on the recently-axed TNT crime comedy, Franklin & Bash, praised the Better Call Saul creative brass for their ability to keep a tight lid on any spoilers from leaking out.
Case in point: The decision made by co-showrunners Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould to abruptly change her character's name from Beth to Kim.
"That's all part of how protective they [Gilligan and Gold] are of the storylines because they do write these characters and stories for an onion layer-like feel." she explained. "I think they really owe it to their fans to do everything they can to not have leaks and spoilers come out."
One of the fascinating things about Gilligan's programming is his innate ability to persuade viewers to vehemently side with the antagonist; exactly what he accomplished with Breaking Bad's cancer-plagued chemistry teacher-turned-meth kingpin, Walter White (Bryan Cranston), and now again with corrupt lawyer, Goodman.
As Seehorn sees it, Gilligan and Gould have constructed a TV show formula that provides the perfect balance between darkness and humor.
"The show is 75% drama-25% comedy. It's very dark when it's comedic," she said.
In terms of comedy, Seehorn was quick to point out the similarities between her current co-star Odenkirk and her former one, Cummings.
"Very funny, very witty, very intelligent, and a ton of fun. They are very different people, but have one similarity; they are far more serious about their craft and meticulous and precise then people might think," she said.
In an industry where most talents are competing for principal roles, Seehorn appreciates the humility that both of her counterparts have brought to each of the respective film sets she's worked on.
"Both are just as happy to let you have the moment or joke or punch line or beat as to have it themselves," she said.
If Odenkirk's humor doesn't do the program suffice justice, fans will be delighted to know that the cast themselves were overzealous when it came to finding out just how their characters' storylines would unfold.
"Me and all the cast members waited with bated breath when we got the scripts, which was usually about three days before you started shooting," Seehorn passionately explained. "We're all texting and calling each other saying, 'What page are you on. Are you up to page 50, can you believe it, can you believe it?'"
Seehorn also dished on the pros of not being confined to a studio or the Broadway stage; something else she knows more than a thing or two about with performances in plays such as 45 Seconds from Broadway and The World Over.
"There's a lot of subtleties and nuances you get to have as tools in your bag, that you wouldn't have on a sitcom or on the stage," she said. "The Better Call Saul producers are crafting this entire three-dimensional world. It has to be a cinematic experience," she said.
While Seehorn is no stranger to working on location for a TV Series, she did have to drastically alter her sleeping patterns to accommodate Better Call Saul's late-night filming schedule.
"You have to learn to stay up a lot later," she quipped.
Although the prequel's story begins five years prior to the launch of Walt and Jesse's (Aaron Paul) crank-cooking business, Seehorn doesn't think that the limited time gap would handcuff the creative team from churning out additional installments beyond it.
"I would be in heaven if the show went five or more seasons just because I'm in love with the way these guys tell stories," she said. They've been smart to create a flexible timeline that it (story) could go forwards or backwards. You could jump ahead to scenes during Breaking Bad or after it, even within the first or second season, it doesn't have to be a five-year show"
Although Seehorn has yet to meet her well-known predecessors, Cranston and Paul, she would certainly fancy the opportunity to pick either of their brains on the embodiment of their work.
"I haven't ever spoken to them, but would gladly take their calls if they feel like giving me some advice," she said.
Better Call Saul will debut on the AMC network on Sunday, Feb 8 at 10/9 CST. Please be sure to check back with Enstars for more information on the highly anticipated program.