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'Better Call Saul': Michael McKean joins the cast

On April 30 Variety revealed that actor Michael McKean was joined the cast of the upcoming television drama "Better Call Saul," which is a prequel to the critically acclaimed series "Breaking Bad" which aired on AMC. The series will follow Saul, the seedy lawyer on the original show, and will explore his beginnings as a lawyer. The series was first announced last year and actor Bob Odenkirk will return to play Saul.

Michael McKean
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris

McKean will co-star on the series, playing a character named Dr. Thurber, a top notch attorney with an unusual habit. McKean is well known for playing Leonard Kosnowski on the sitcom "Laverne & Shirley," as well as a member of the fictional rock band Spinal Tap. The series is expected to premiere in November with at least a seven episode season.

Jonathan Bank, who plays Mike Ehrmantraut on the original series will also return as a main character in the prequel. Ehrmantraut is a ruthless detective and fixer for Saul Goodman in the series and the prequel will explore how the two came to work together. "Breaking Bad" series creator Vince Gilligan will also serve as an executive producer on the new series.

On April 30 Deadline posted the news that McKean had been cast, making him the first new cast member on the series. McKean is a well established comedic actor, having created a comedy troupe in college at Carnegie Melon and in early career roles in film and television. The actor is also the oldest actor to join the cast of "Saturday Night Live" in 1994, the popular comedy sketch series, and was popular due to his Bill Clinton impression.

McKean most recently returned to the Broadway stage, playing J. Edgar Hoover in "All the Way," which also starred Bryan Cranston, who won awards for playing Walter White on "Breaking Bad." Born in New York City, the actor has been married to Annette O'Toole since 1999. He was nominated for an Academy Award with her in 2004 for Best Song and won a Grammy Award the same year for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture.

There is no other information available about McKean's character at this time, although it's possible he will serve as a mentor to Saul who is just starting out as a lawyer. The new series is highly anticipated due to the record breaking success of the original series, although it's unclear how many seasons the prequel will last. AMC is expected to debut the series in late 2014, so more casting announcements and information will be released int he coming weeks.

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