Movies

Better Call Saul, Star Wars, and More! – An Interview with JULIE ANN EMERY

We were lucky enough to chat with Better Call Saul star, Julie Ann Emery! We asked Julie all sorts of questions about her fan favorite role on the hit show, Better Call Saul, and, of course, about Star Wars. Check out the interview below to get all the details on Julie’s fun filled career!

AoG: So I thought I’d first start off by asking you how did it feel to join Better Call Saul, after seeing how Breaking Bad became this cult phenomenon?

Julie: Absolute elation that I would be working with this amazing group of writers, filmmakers, and artists that brought the Breaking Bad world to us so beautifully. And then, I am not gonna lie, nerves. I thought Breaking Bad was the absolute pinnacle of great television. They set the bar incredibly high.  t was important to me to live up to that Vince Gilligan/Peter Gould level.

AoG: As far as characters go, how did you get into the headspace and prepare for a role like Betsy each day? She’s not exactly the sweetest, haha.

Julie: Betsy thinks she is the sweetest!!  Betsy and I are pretty far apart as people.  That is why I relished playing her so much.  Her headspace was very specific and very challenging.  I watched a lot of youtube videos on people I thought had something pleasant going on on the outside but made me think “Holy cow who is buried in your back yard!”.  I followed the indictment of Governor McDonnell and his wife very closely.  The Bell County case in California.  Anything where people did something questionable but truly felt they did nothing wrong.

All that said, I never felt I was fully in Betsy’s head until Jeremy Shamos and I were on set and finishing each others sentences.  Something about the way our dialogue worked together put me in Betsy’s shoes very quickly.  That is both a compliment to Jeremy and to the entire Better Call Saul Writers Room.

AoG: (From a fan on Twitter) the character of Betsy Kettleman became an unlikely fan favorite; did the fan reaction surprise you?

Julie: It shocked me.  It still does.  You can not play a character like Betsy and expect to be liked.   You have to give over fully to backing who she is without judgement.  Some folks sort of love to hate Betsy.  That is fair.  But the amount of Kettlehead love on social media has been beyond wonderful.  Go #TeamKettleman!!

Aog: (From a fan on Twitter) In Better Call Saul, what was the process like balancing the Kettlemans’ believability with their unpredictable behavior?

Julie: That was the edge of the knife we walked with every single scene.  It is a very tricky balance with the Kettlemans.  They do such unbelievable things.  They respond to logic in such unbelievable ways.  The characterization and execution of them had to be absolutely believable.  From the guidance of Vince Gilligan in that very first episode, our priority was to make them as realistic as possible (while saying outrageous things).  To boil it down to the most believable behavior, to deliver the writing in the most natural way possible.

AoG: You’ve also starred on Fargo which was also a huge success. How has it been balancing this new found attention between the two? I’m sure it’s been a ride of a lifetime!

I have had the luckiest year!!!  It is funny, the industry and fan reaction to both shows could have gone in a wildly different direction.  There were skeptics prior to both projects premiering.  I think every person on both projects felt they were going out on a limb.  But with folks like Noah Hawley (Fargo) and Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould (BCS) at the helm, that limb looks more attractive.

Needless to say, I am thrilled to be part of both shows and the reaction to both shows is something I have not experienced in my career.  It is definitely a fun ride.

AoG: Now I do want to ask you about some of your geeky interests, if that’s okay because I have to ask, as a huge Star Wars fan myself, how much fun did you have at Star Wars Celebration?? I saw your picture with BB-8 and I must say, I am jealous at how close you got to the little droid.

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Julie: How cute is BB-8!  I do not want to call any bot the new R2D2, but R2 better watch out!  The Star Wars Celebration was AMAZING!  I have never been and was like a kid in a candy store.  I spent most of the day over-stimulated.  Tom Spina put us in costume and we got to walk around the Mos Eisley Cantina, the speeder bikes were there, the Rancor was INCREDIBLE, Han Solo in carbonite, and we attended the performance of Shakespeare Star Wars (SW rock star audio book readers doing the first 3 movies in iambic pentameter!).  We had the BEST day.  I highly recommend.  (I also made off with an awesome new Yoda tee)

AoG: What were your thoughts on the new trailer that debuted there and how do you feel about the new movie? It’s all too exciting, getting new Star Wars and the like.

I have high hopes for the new movies.  The trailers feel like they are honoring the vibe and feel of the original 3 (Eps IV, V, & VI).  I mean, the Millenium Falcon did the loop through the screen and I threw my fists in the air and shouted YES!  It feels like JJ Abrams is a fan as well as a brilliant director.  I can not wait!

AoG: I know our readers are very curious about this, but I hear you will be on Masters of Sex this upcoming season! Is there any info you can give us about your character or is it top secret till the new season premieres?

Julie: My character comes to the show looking for help with a very unusual relationship.  Especially unusual for the time period.  There is a great reveal for my character that I don’t want to spoil for anyone.  So the only other thing I will say is that I got to work with some actors and directors I have admired for a long time and I am so grateful.

[Cover photo by Nogen Beck]

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The Author

Travis Grimm

Travis Grimm

Travis has been a self-proclaimed geek ever since being introduced to Star Wars before he could speak. He spends most of his free time reading comics, watching TV, collecting toys, blogging, and traveling the US to attend all sorts of conventions. He also likes coffee quite a bit.