Rhea Seehorn Interview: ‘Better Call Saul’
“Kim feels naked when she shows emotion,” reveals Rhea Seehorn about the character she has played on “Better Call Saul” for five seasons. In our recent webchat she continues, “Kim wants to stand up for herself and be powerful but never have someone discount it as emotional. A lot of women, but men as well, understand that you are not taken seriously then. It’s 2000 and she’s a female in a practically all male legal world. She’s very careful of that. In my own mind and backstory that I’ve been jigsaw puzzling together over six years, there’s things that point towards why she needs to remain cool headed. What we saw in season five was losing calibration; a little bit of control about when to be emotional. It’s working but she’s smart enough to sense it’s getting quite dangerous.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Seehorn portrays Kim Wexler, a driven and committed attorney. She is in a relationship with Jimmy McGill, played by Bob Odenkirk, who has changed his name to ‘Saul Goodman.’ This season they got married in a courthouse civil ceremony. While it was largely unromantic, and at times humorous, there was one touching moment between the two. The actress explains, “We let those emotions sneak up on us, making sure it never got overly sentimental. It was nice. You’ve gotten to know these characters long enough. And Bob and I have thread together so many scenes not hinging on lovey gooey eyes. The scene could afford it, for just a second, when they have to say their vows.”
Over the series Seehorn has become a fan favorite, building up critical acclaim. Each year Kim’s role has expanded, and season five was no exception; with her most dramatic scene coming in episode nine (‘Bad Choice Road’). After Jimmy gets entangled with a Mexican drug cartel, Kim stands up to one of their most menacing members, Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton). It was a scene which showcased her character’s development and the refreshing gender dynamics at play in the show’s central relationship. Seehorn confesses that “getting to be in a scene where the power shift so drastically changes between Jimmy and Kim was fun. It was challenging and blissful to do a scene where I am virtually silent for the first half and then have to explosively come out of a canon. It’s really fun when I get to play Kim’s really observational scenes because I think she’s so astute. She knows Jimmy has a secret. She knows it’s something very troubling. Kim does not fit in messy emotional experiences very well. The gender stereotypes are reversed here. Jimmy is very emotional, heart on his sleeve, wanting to talk about feelings. Kim, even in extreme duress moments, switches to analytical, pragmatic and legal. I wanted to kick off my shoes because I wanted to be even shorter. It should be apparent there is no other tool that she has. In her mind, Lalo is going to shoot and kill them if they do not do something. There are no other choices.”
A turning point for the character was in episode six (‘Wexler vs. Goodman’), where in a big fight between herself and Jimmy, Kim decides to propose. Seehorn explains, “It was a beautiful scene and it was difficult. We shift in a moment. How Bob throws out a tone of his line and how I throw my line back. It’s a very quick intense volleyball game when you have to alter your next line reading 30 times and each time was slightly different. We had dueling coverage to catch all the overlaps and very tiny nuances that were flying fast and furious.”
The actress describes that “when Jimmy couldn’t lie to Kim. To me it felt like it was because there is something real here. She is not a compete idiot in thinking there’s something to save. In season two, she didn’t want to hear about Jimmy’s secrets. Now we are in a place where she needs to hear everything he’s doing to be in the relationship. You could call it blind love, but it’s also ego. She’s at this place where she thinks ‘as long as I know everybody’s hand, I’m going to win every poker game.’ And that is crazy dangerous! At this point I think she is as influential on Jimmy, in both negative and positive ways, as he is on her. As to who is leading who down a bad choice road? I think they both have pulled the other person’s hand along – and have both caught each other.”