In Better Call Saul’s second season, Rhea Seehorn really came into her own as Kim Wexler, fellow attorney and love interest to Jimmy McGill (AKA Saul Goodman), as her character explored a morality minefield. “Good and bad is not the same as legal and illegal all the time,” Seehorn says. “Unfortunately, they don’t always line up that way. All the characters are just sort of struggling with dealing with the fact that life just isn’t black and white.”
Initially the role of Kim was not immediately clear. “I actually auditioned as two other characters that had element character traits of Kim,” Seehorn says, “but they were trying to see these character traits in other ways and then they’d get put onto the final Kim character.”
Of the upcoming Season 3, Seehorn says, “There’s a lot of leeway with where they could go. I can only presume that it’s also on the table for them to do scenes that happen during Breaking Bad years in some fashion.”
Kim is a complicated woman–what’s your take on her and how do you get into her head?
Well, it’s definitely in the text, I mean, first and foremost. And Bob and all of my co-actors have said the same thing. But there is a foundation they’re giving you to build on that’s unmistakable. We do not have rewrites. We do not ad lib. We do not improv. And instead of that being restrictive, it’s very free. You have this tone, this foundation to build on where everything is there in the text and that includes what you don’t say. We all work really hard to memorize all of these lines pretty much before we get there. My whole cast rehearse with each other even if you’re not the actual scene partner. You do it just to be there for each other as actors. Certainly for characters like Kim and Jimmy there’s a lot going on between the lines as well. A lot of their relationship and the sense that these people have know each other for 10 plus years, I think, happens with all the stuff that doesn’t need to be said. So, primarily it’s the text and it takes me there every time without much need for anything else.
Did you have to become well-versed on the law?
When I first found out she was a lawyer, I knew they weren’t going to be doing a procedural and they told me they weren’t going to be doing a procedural where we’re solving a case every day and in court. And I also knew that just timewise, I couldn’t hurry up and go to law school so I needed to figure out another way in. My manager actually went to law school, and she suggested Scott Turow’s book One L, which is about the first year of Harvard Law and it’s a memoir. There’s a lot of legalese in it that was helpful. Just starting to hear the strange syntax that you get when you speak legalese stuff, and we do have scenes like that on our show. They’d have law consultants helping write it and then they’d have law consultants on set as well at your disposal to ask questions. When we do those types of scenes they do want it to be correct and they want to not pull you out of a scene having somebody say, “That’s not what we would say. We would never do that.” It was really interesting to me that it’s sort of an exploration of how it affects your thoughts about ethics and morals. The book kind of addresses that, and that became my jumping off point really for the character.
Of course we know what happens to Jimmy. What would you like to see happen for Kim?
Well, I’m of course very curious about where Kim goes and what she does from the entire timeline to the us we see right now. But I don’t know anything and I really think that they are in the writer’s room, working out what Season 3 will look like in every way. What part of the timeline is it on? Because as we’ve seen already in season one and season two, they’ve gone past Breaking Bad years as well as seeing flashbacks from prequel years. Back to when Jimmy was in the mailroom, or they’ve even done scenes of him and Chuck as children. I don’t know what they’re doing. I really don’t. I’m just excited that I know that however they fashion Kim’s trajectory and her timeline that it will be authentic to this character they’ve created.
Have you been enjoying some time off or have you been working on other projects?
I’ve been doing a lot of different stuff. Most recently I was just shadowing a director, Scott Winant, just because I’d like to learn more about direction and it also informs me as an actor. It was really a very enlightening experience. I’ve always been curious about directing and storytelling as a whole. My first love for me remains performing but I think that I would like to direct other projects some day. I’d also like to write or produce. It’s kind of like every part that goes into storytelling I’m endlessly curious about. It actually was very informative as an actor because I’ve certainly got my hands full playing Kim on my show. They just give you so much to work with, it’s a dream come true as an actor that even when you are not speaking, as my character tends to be very observant and poker-faced, there’s a thousand things going through her head.