‘Better Call Saul’ Cast News: Julie Ann Emery Talks Playing ‘Delicious’ Betsy Kettleman, Set Life & More [EXCLUSIVE, VIDEO]
Julie Ann Emery first gained notice playing Eva Mendes' best friend in the 2005 romantic comedy Hitch, but the Tennessee native has since gone on to play a handful of colorful characters over the years on both the big and small screen. Most recently, viewers saw her on the first season of AMC's Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul AND the FX crime series Fargo (based on the Academy Award winning movie of the same name).
Enstars recently got to chat with Emery about preparing for her role on the Breaking Bad spin-off, what her favorite scenes to shoot were, how she likes to disconnect from the world and more.
ENSTARS: So, you've had a diverse amount of roles throughout your career, do you have a favorite?
Julie Ann Emery: I don't think you can choose a favorite role since I think that's like choosing a favorite kid. I feel like I have to love them all. I would have to say characters like Betsy Kettleman are very delicious to play. But then there's something really sweet about Ida Thurman on Fargo. There's something wonderful about playing such goodness. I've loved a wide range of characters. Jennifer Sampson on Line of Fire years ago. Gi Gi on The Riches with Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver. I loved portraying her so much! I love playing something the opposite of what I should play. I love going from Line of Fire, like a FBI agent on Line of Fire to sort of the hapless lover of Casey on Hitch. And I love going from the sweet, grounded, salt of the Earth Ida in Fargo to Betsy Kettleman in Better Call Saul. That's a real sweet spot for me!
What drew you to audition for the role of Betsy Kettleman on Better Call Saul?
"Breaking Bad spin-off" was all anybody needed to say. I think Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould and just everyone there are some of the best filmmakers we have on television. I was a huge Breaking Bad fan so I didn't even have to read [the script] to know that I wanted to audition. I would have been anything on this show quite frankly, but the fact that Betsy is so, so, so delicious and wonderful is icing on the cake.
We know originally your role was meant to be a guest spot of two episodes, but it grew into much more. How did that end up happening?
Vince directed our first episode and while we were shooting we spent a lot of time exploring the Kettlemans. The fact that they are guilty and they don't believe that they are; so we spent a lot of time talking about real-life politician couples that feel that way. The McDonnells from Virginia were just being indicted at that time. The Bell scandal had just happened in California. So I think by the end of that first day of shooting, everyone knew that they wanted more.
How did you prepare for this role?
I prepare for every role by doing a lot of character work with backstory...Betsy's thought process is very different from any other character I've ever played. Jeremy Shamos [Craig Kettleman] is a wonderful theater actor and he and I spent a lot of time together talking about the Kettlemans...We were sending each other YouTube videos of people we would find who seemed oddly pleasant on the outside, but made you wonder who they had buried in their backyards...I think this process was more codependent for me compared to normal...Bob Odenkirk [Jimmy McGill otherwise known as Saul Goodman] would rehearse with us outside of the set...
What was it about working on this show that differed from others?
I think with both Fargo and Better Call Saul, they were both filled with casts that were excited to be there and were really dedicated to the material...I worked with Bob on Fargo and through that we became friendly. And something about showing up to film the Breaking Bad spin-off is a lot of pressure...You want to be really, really great and Betsy was definitely walking out on a limb for me and having Bob there was so comforting...Bob really created an atmosphere where people could run lines and rehearse and work together before we'd get to the shoot day...
Now is there any chance your character will return for the next season?
I'm not allowed to talk about spoilers, but Peter has said in Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter that they would like to bring us back. So I will hold out hope that I'm not finished with Betsy. They have spoken publicly about wanting to bring us back so I hope so. I'll hope so with all the Kettleheads.
In terms of upcoming projects we know you recently filmed your two-episode arc for Masters of Sex so is there anything you can tease about it?
My character is in a very unusual relationship especially for the time period. I think there's a big reveal with my character in my first episode so I don't want to spoil anything...I will say that I got to work with some actors that I've admired for such a long time. Oh and Adam Arkin directed one of my episodes and he's such a wonderful actor and director. It was really a pleasure to be on that set.
With summer approaching do you have any other plans involving your career or outside of it?
I'm hoping since my husband is doing City of Angels at Marriott Theatre in Chicago over the summer that I'll get to spend some time with him there and we're hoping to take another big camping trip this summer...We do a lot of hiking. I like to climb to places where my cellphone won't work. I would very much like to do more of [writing and directing]...I've only done it on a very low budget level up to this point, which I even enjoy since I like the challenge of finding creative ways to make up for lack of money...I'm working on a pilot right now for a production company...
Season 2 of Better Call Saul is due to return in early 2016 hopefully with Emery's character included!