She may be a veteran at comedy but she’s brand new at portraying a politician.
Yet, not surprisingly, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is receiving strong notices for her latest comedic role as Vice President Selina Meyer, an ambitious yet frustrated understudy to the most powerful man in the world on HBO’s comedy series “Veep.”
Previously Louis-Dreyfus plied her trade on broadcast television, with her iconic role on “Seinfeld” and then showed additional longevity as the title character in CBS’ “The New Adventures of Old Christine.”
She took on the role in “Veep” before there was even a script after meeting with the creator Armando Iannucci, who had garnered an Oscar nod for co-writing the 2009 British political spoof “In the Loop.”
“We just had that instant connection,” says Iannucci. “Within 15 minutes, we were already thinking of ideas for other episodes, and further developing the character. She has that creative, comic sensibility and also that professional approach.”
Appearing on pay cable — as she did a few years ago in guest spots on Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — offers Louis-Dreyfus more creative latitude than before, not to mention the freedom to drop some unbeeped f-bombs as she navigates the political mine fields in Washington, D.C.
“It is a very powerful position, and yet at the same time, I don’t think there’s a politician out there that you would say that they aspire to be vice president. So it’s a strange paradox in that sense,” she told the Television Critics Assn. earlier this year.
“Veep” offers room for improv.
“For this season we had about a month and a half of rehearsal. And during that process everybody on the show was extremely capable at improvisation,” says Louis-Dreyfus. “There were scripts in place, and we worked with them and improv’d with them and without them. New scripts came along as a result, so it’s a very meshed process of the written word and the improv’d word.”