Julia Louis-Dreyfus: "Selina Meyer Could Give Donald Trump a Run for His Money"

The 'Veep' star weighs in on the political landscape and the future of her Emmy-winning series.
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Like much of the country, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has been watching the presidential election unfold and is horrified in all the ways you'd expect her to be.

Although none of it will be reflected in her fictional HBO comedy series, she suggests it's made it harder for the writers of Veep to do what they do. "Originally, this show was meant to be a political satire," she says during a wide-ranging interview for this week's cover story. "And now, I feel as if it's more a somber documentary."

She takes no pains to hide her disgust as she continues, "It's just so outrageous what's happening. Certain candidates say things, and if you were to lift the language and put it into our show, we'd get notes back from HBO saying, 'It's too broad, too over-the-top.'"

Mere mention of Donald Trump's name has Louis-Dreyfus recoiling, though when pressed she suggests Selina Meyer, herself a reprehensible politician who's risen to the highest office, could hold her own in the current landscape. "I think Selina Meyer would have a shot at winning," she says. "She could give Donald Trump a run for his money."

Adding to Louis-Dreyfus' political frustrations, getting involved — which, as a longtime Democrat, she has every intention of doing, though when and with whom remains a tightly guarded secret — has grown trickier. It's important for Veep to remain nonpartisan, she explains, since the series is less about actual politics than it is the people involved in the political game.

In fact, Meyer's party affiliation has long been kept a secret for just that reason; though as perceptive fans have noted on message boards including Reddit, an electoral map in the season four finale had Meyer's election night wins in blue. "That was a huge f— up on our part," says the actress, who also serves as an executive producer on the series. "It never occurred to us in the moment, but we probably should have made those colors purple and white." She pauses. "Who knows? Maybe we'll switch them up again in the future."

Yes, Louis-Dreyfus does see a future for Veep. The seven-time Emmy winner (five of them for Veep) was heavily in favor of the series continuing when creator-showrunner Armando Iannucci announced he'd be stepping down after season four; and she personally recruited David Mandel, with whom she'd worked on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, to take over for the series' fifth season. ("I wasn't sitting at home thinking to myself, 'Boy are there any shows entering their fifth season that I can go work on or take over?'' jokes Mandel, aware of the sizable shoes he'd be filling. "This was an opportunity for me to work with Julia again.")

But just how much more of a future does Louis-Dreyfus foresee? "I'm not sure about years and years," she says of the recently renewed series, "but I definitely think we have stories still to tell, and you'll see why when [season five] ends."

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