Better Call Saul’s Julie Ann Emery Explains Why Betsy Kettleman is ‘Terrifying’ to Play

Posted 2022/04/24 17 0

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One of the standout stars from Better Call Saul has been Julie Ann Emery in her memorable role as Betsy Kettleman. First introduced in the series in the pilot episode, Emery’s Betsy and husband Craig Kettleman (Jeremy Shamos) were a big part of season 1’s storylines when Craig was in need of legal services after embezzling $1.6 million. The couple showed back up in the second episode of season 6, now running Sweet Liberty Tax Services a couple of years later with Craig having since been released from prison.

For the fans, it was a fun moment to see the Kettlemans return, given how memorable the characters remain five seasons later. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Emery spoke about how “terrifying” it was to slip back into that role, in part due to the pressure of being a part of such an acclaimed franchise known for its strong acting. She also feels that the role is symbiotic with Shamos’ Craig Kettleman, as Emery can’t quite get into Betsy Kettleman mode until she’s with her co-star. Preparing to return to the role meant first spending time with Shamos.

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“I find Betsy terrifying to play as an actor because the pocket for her is about six inches wide. If you go outside that pocket, it’s just bad acting, and nobody wants to be bad in the Breaking BadBetter Call Saul universe because everyone is brilliant in it. I never feel I have her until I’m with Jeremy, and I think Jeremy has a similar experience. We created them very collaboratively, more so than any other thing I’ve ever done on screen. Until we’re behaving together as the Kettlemans, we don’t have them. So when we arrived in Albuquerque, the first thing we did was get together and run lines and talk until we slid back into things. So I don’t think she’s the easiest role to slide back into, but she is the most exciting.”

Originally, the Kettlemans weren’t envisioned to become such standout characters. It was after Emery and Shamos were cast in the roles that the Better Call Saul writers recognized what they had, resulting in some rewrites and a lot more screen time for Betsy and Craig.

“Jeremy and I really discovered these characters together and very symbiotically. No one quite knew what the Kettlemans were going to be in that first episode of Better Call Saul, and they did some rewriting for us after that episode. We did much more in season 1 than we were ever supposed to, which is such a compliment and such a luxury on television. It never really happens on TV.”

The Kettlemans Have Shined on Better Call Saul

For her part, Julie Ann Emery has been surprised every time she’s been asked to reprise that role, originally presuming she was finished with Betsy Kettleman after season 1. She later appeared in the short film No Picnic, which was made in promotion of season 3 and released online. In the short, which you can watch above, Betsy and the Kettleman children pay a visit to Craig while he’s picking up trash with other prisoners on the side of a highway.

Emery figured it was over after the final season of Better Call Saul wrapped, but she was recently called back to play Betsy Kettleman once again. To help promote the final season of Saul, a parody episode of American Greed was released, imagining how a true crime documentary series might tackle the story of Saul Goodman. The Kettlemans appeared in the video, which you’ll find at the bottom of this article, speaking about their interactions with Saul.

With so many appearances, does Emery have a favorite line? She admits that it’s hard to pick one that stands out above all the others, but she settles on a line of dialogue heard in the American Greed parody. It’s such a simple line, but for Emery, it perfectly encapsulates Betsy Kettleman.

“I have such a difficult time choosing a single favorite line, but one of my favorite lines might be in the [Valerie Chu-written] American Greed episode. It’s so Betsy-specific, but it’s when Craig says, ‘We’re victims.’ And then Betsy looks at the camera and says, ‘We’re survivors.’ That sounds weird because it’s not the most complicated line, but it is so at the core of Betsy.”

As the Kettlemans are responsible for introducing the inflatable Lady Liberty to Saul Goodman, we might be seeing more of them in the final season of Better Call Saul. New episodes premiere on Mondays on AMC and AMC+.


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