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Michael McKean knows the pain inside his spiteful 'Saul' character

Staff writer Glenn Whipp discusses the character Chuck McGill of "Better Call Saul" with the actor who plays him, Michael McKean.

"Better Call Saul's" second season pivoted on the sibling rivalry between morally compromised but lovable Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) and his respected, resentful older brother Chuck (Michael McKean).

The show's audience is, naturally, squarely on Jimmy's side. As Odenkirk puts it: "As much as I Iove Michael McKean, Chuck is an ..." (We can't print the observation, but it wasn't a compliment.)

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You will get no argument on this point from McKean.

"I say, 'Right on, Bob,'" McKean told The Envelope in a recent video interview. "But I know what it's made of inside there."

That knowledge, McKean says, came from his own speculation on the brothers, their past and the deep source of their antagonism. And it turns out that his guesses were right on the money.

Says McKean: "The very specific pain at the center of it has a lot to do with one simple fact, which is: I made my mom proud. But Jimmy made her laugh.

"I watch my wife knitting," McKean continues, "and it's like watching close-up magic to me. And I think that's what Chuck feels about Jimmy's ease with people. Chuck is a very, very smart man and is a very, very good lawyer, but there is something missing in Chuck and it drives him crazy."

How crazy? We get into the specifics of that with McKean, touching on Chuck's Mylar mania, his furtive tape recording and as a bonus  for you Spinal Tap fans, whether McKean has ever visited Stonehenge. (His answer is wrapped around the band's performance here.)

The full interview can be seen below.

Staff writer Glenn Whipp disucsses AMC's 'Better Call Saul' with Michael McKean, who plays Chuck McGill.

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glenn.whipp@latimes.com

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