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April 30, 2012 2PM EST

Q&A with Julia Louis-Dreyfus

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  • Q

    Thanks to Julia Louis-Dreyfus for joining us today. How do you feel about the response to Veep so far?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    So far so good. I'm kind of going out of my mind a little bit. It's lovely and thrilling.

  • Q

    So, I love all your work; but I gotta ask, is Margo from Christmas Vacation your favorite role? It was epic.

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    Thank you so much, and no it's not my favorite role. No offense to Margo or Christmas Vacation.

  • Q

    Who were your favorite actors growing up?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    The obvious answer is of course Lucille Ball and Mary Tyler Moore, but in addition to that I adored Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Gene Wilder, Charles Grodin, Terry Garr, Carol O'Conner, Jane Curtain and even Gene Hackman - we think of him as a dramtic actor but he's really funny too.

  • Q

    You seem to dig into subtlety and broad comedy with equal glee and success. What is key, in your mind, to maintaining a character and humor consistently while shifting between these extremes?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    At the risk of sounding simplistic, keeping it truthful. Keeping the performance honest and real will work whether its broad or subtle comedy just as long as it has truth behind it.

  • Q

    Did you shadow any politicians in preparation for Veep?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    I didn't shadow any, I would have liked to do that. I spent time with a few, but I didn't shadow any. If we're lucky enough to have another season, I would like to.

  • Q

    You will go down as one of the great comedic actors of all time. Did you have a favorite Seinfeld show?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    There were so many of them, tons and tons that I loved - I can't even begin to pick one.

  • Q

    has joe biden called to congratulate you on getting it right?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    Not yet, check back in 15 minutes.

  • Q

    HBO seems to fit you perfectly... your appearances on Curb were fantastic. How much improv is done on Veep?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    A lot of improv is done on Veep, but it is also a scripted show. It's a marriage between scripted material and improvised material. A great deal of the script is born out of improvised rehearsals, but the genius behind all this insanity is Armando Iannucci and our crackerjack team of UK writers.

  • Q

    Where did you pull your inspiration from to develop your character?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    Everywhere. I've watched a lot of politicians in action and on C-Span and I pulled a lot from my own life as an ambitious actress. There are many similarities between politics and show business. Although I'd like to add to that by saying I don't think I'm quite so narcissistic as Selina Meyer is. I don't think.

  • Q

    What's on your ipod?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    Not much, I don't have an iPod.

  • Q

    Other than Veep, what TV shows do you currently watch?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    I watch Colbert, The Daily Show, Girls, The Killing, Homeland, Frozen Planet, True Blood - my sister's on that show, Lauren Bowles. She plays Holly Cleary.

  • Q

    Did you watch any of The Thick Of It - the BBC show Veep is sort-of-based-on - before signing on to the show? How, if at all, did it influence your performance?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    I was a fan of In the Loop and then I met Armando. I started watching The Thick of It after meeting him. Yes, I guess you could say it did influence my performance because it gave me a deeper understanding of what the tone of our show would be. That helped me figure out how to play certain subtleties.

  • Q

    Will the President ever call?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    What do you think?

  • Q

    I heard about your new film Picture Paris. Any chance we might see it in a theater or television?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    As a matter of fact yes, we're doing the festival circuit with Picture Paris which was just at the Tribeca Film Festival in NY and is going on to many other festivals. We're also in the middle of making a few deals for distribution, so sit tight while we finish making those deals. Follow @thepictureparis for updates.

  • Q

    Life must be hectic and crazy for you at times. What is your favorite way to relax and chill?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    I take Valium 24 hours a day. Haha, just kidding.

  • Q

    Any differences filming in MD vs NY and LA?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    Shooting in Maryland was incredibly film friendly. We had an amazing crew and all around Baltimore people were very accommodating and gracious. Also having the proximity to DC was phenomenal.

  • Q

    My dad used to tell me I was a lot like Elaine when I was growing up. Which character that you've played best represents you (and I think we can cancel out Margo from Xmas Vacation :)?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    Frankly, none of them. And, even if one of them did represent me the best, I think it would be better I didn't admit it. No offense to you and your dad.

  • Q

    Hello Julia! Thank you very much for taking the time to answer questions from your fans! You are a big inspiration and motivation to me, as an aspiring entertainment career seeker. On that note, what motivates you to continue after so much success?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    I just like to work. I think I would be bored out of my mind if I didn't have a project I was working on. I really, really love to perform.

  • Q

    You've cropped up on so many beloved projects -- what catches your eye (or ear) when it comes to comedy?

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    A
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    I guess its an intuitive thing for me, and trying to truly follow my instincts.

  • Q

    I love the intro to the show! It shows a lot of backstory of the VPs campaign in 5 seconds... Will there ever be any flashbacks as to why the campaign went so far south?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    In the first and second episodes we allude to two different moments that went wrong. One was that she was wearing a hat, there was something wrong with the hat. The other was that she was eating a corn dog in a way that was not flattering. There's a lot to be told of her history. Stay tuned.

  • Q

    would you like to do karaoke with me? i love your voice!

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    A
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    Sure, when do you want to go?

  • Q

    What's your favorite part of creating a character?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    I guess a quick answer is what isn't my favorite part? I like thinking about every aspect from wardrobe, back story, the needs, the wants, hair. All of it. The whole process is delicious.

  • Q

    How much do you LOVE cursing haha?!

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    I f**king love it! All joking aside, the freedom to use all language is wonderul, but it really is emblematic of the creative freedom we have on HBO. I also thing that another thing that it particularly wonderful about the swearing is that it helps support the notion of behavior in front of and behind the curtain. There's a way Selina presents herself to the public and behind closed doors and it helps to define that line.

  • Q

    I attended my brother’s graduation from Northwestern University several years ago and you gave a very entertaining address. Do you do those often?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    No, I don't do them often, and that was a thrilling day for me because I went to Northwestern, so I felt very honored to be asked to be the commencement speaker. We gave away compact fluorescent light bulbs to the graduating class as a symbol of progress, change and activism.

  • Q

    What's your favourite curse?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    You can't beat, f**k. It's perfect.

  • Q

    Since you are from Maryland, which is your favorite part.... besides Chevy Chase and Baltimore?

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    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    There are many things about Maryland that I love. There's great food, we frequented a place called Salt, a great chocolate place called the Velvet Chocolatier. We ate real good there.

  • Q

    That’s it for our live chat with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Thanks again for joining us today, Julia. Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans before we sign off?

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    A
    Julia Louis-Dreyfus says:

    This is such an exciting way to connect with all the lovely people who seem to be enjoying Veep, and I look forward to doing this very soon. Thanks for making it so fun and easy.

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