Q: You’ve mentioned being a huge fan of Bob Odenkirk since his days on Mr. Show. How did you react when you found out you were going to have the opportunity to work with him?
A: I auditioned with him with the scene in Episode 103 where he wakes me up in the middle of the night. It was exciting. I was certainly nervous at first, but everybody in the room had an energy of “we can’t wait for you to be great.” I was overjoyed to get to work with him. I’ve been a huge fan of his, and I just think he’s one of the funniest, smartest writers and, at that time, sketch performers. I started to see more and more of the depth and breadth of his work. That guy is amazing!
Q: How did you and Bob approach developing the rapport between Jimmy and Kim? There’s obviously chemistry and a shared history between them, but that history is being revealed very slowly — does that make portraying their relationship harder?
A: It’s a joy to play, because all of our amazing writers and directors are writing this relationship with deep intimacy, love and history. They’re not making it this thing that you can label. It’s not black and white, and I don’t think the most interesting relationships are. I find that great. It’s not hard to play what’s there. Kim is very much a character where what she doesn’t say is also what she says. I’m given space, and Bob is so great to rehearse with. We do the scenes a ton of different ways to find that organic roller coaster ride to take to all the places the scene will go.
Q: Kim also has an unusual relationship with her boss, Howard. He seems to view her as a protégée, but is also quick to give her the cold shoulder when she loses the Kettlemans as a client in Episode 107. How would you describe their relationship?
A: I was very surprised when I got that script. That was one of the moments I was excited to explore. Howard quickly just throws me under the bus and dismisses me to, as Jimmy calls it, the cornfield. I know Howard lost a client, but I absolutely believe what he later tells Jimmy, which is, she worked her ass off. The Kettlemans are crazy and guilty, there’s no way around it, and getting them any kind of deal is something she was proud of doing for them. I think it’s a seed of information that Kim has to take in about the sure ground she thought she was on — she’s not.
A: It’s a pleasure to be in the space with the person that Jennifer is. She’s creative, amazing and brilliant. There was no sitting down with me, but I do remember being in a lot of blues — how they are used in respect to the character symbolically I’m not sure yet, but Jennifer is so in tune with helping to tell a story. It’s all about the storytelling for her. I personally wear a lot of earth tones — does that make me boring? I don’t know. [Laughs] I do like a pop of color, like red shoes or a bright orange jacket.
Q: Who would you want to represent you in court, Jimmy or Kim? Why?
A: It depends on what I got in trouble for! It would definitely depend on the case. If I can choose whomever I want, then I pick both of them. They would fill in each other’s holes.
Q: When fans recognize you in public, how often do they speak to you in Jimmy’s “sex robot” voice from Episode 103?
A: [Laughs] I do get a lot of tweets about it. People on the street like Kim’s character, and they’ve been incredibly gracious and complimentary of the whole show.
Q: In Episode 104, Jimmy and Kim have a conversation at the nail salon while Jimmy paints Kim’s toes. Were there enough takes for you to end up with a full pedicure? How did it come out?
A: After so many takes, our lovely makeup artist had to try to remove all this paint that was being built up. It was getting pretty sloppy. He did pretty well, though! But he should keep his day job.
Read an interview with Julie Ann Emery, who plays Betsy Kettleman on AMC’s Better Call Saul.Read More