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Julia Louis-Dreyfus began her comedic career on “Saturday Night Live,” but it was playing Elaine on “Seinfeld” in the ’90s that made her a household name. Now she stars as a recently divorced single mother in CBS’ “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” The Emmy winner, who receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today, recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter’s Jo Nelson.
The Hollywood Reporter: Are you always funny?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus: I’m naturally funny, but sometimes without knowing it. I’m a wee bit of an idiot.
THR: So what drew you to comedy?
Louis-Dreyfus: I come from a large family of women who are funny, brassy and opinionated — and a little bit dark. All of that played into my life.
THR: Do you ever long to play a dramatic role?
Louis-Dreyfus: Yes. I’ll take anything! I get comedy scripts; I’d love to do a good dramatic role. I love to act, period. As long as it’s a genuinely well-written part, my interest is always piqued.
THR: Do your character’s experiences mirror your own?
Louis-Dreyfus: Christine’s escapades have the foundation of an intense desperation. I’m very familiar with that feeling, which I try to keep under wraps as much as possible. Christine doesn’t do a good job of keeping her desperation under wraps.
THR: Is keeping desperation under wraps your mantra?
Louis-Dreyfus: My high school physics teacher always used to say, “Have fun at all costs.” I’m not sure that “all costs” is necessary — that can be misinterpreted. But consider the good interpretation of that phrase. That’s what I try to live my life by.
THR: You also live your life committed to social causes. Which ones?
Louis-Dreyfus: Environmental issues that impact Los Angeles are very much on my mind. I’m keenly aware of the water quality and air quality. It’s all a part of a big picture of climate change and global warming.
THR: You and your husband, writer Brad Hall, are also producing a socially minded documentary.
Louis-Dreyfus: Yes. We haven’t shot it yet. It’s about highlighting NGOs around the world that are making big changes with small ideas and changing communities with a small innovation or a small notion that has a radical impact.
THR: All this is very noble. What’s your secret vice?
Louis-Dreyfus: I work for the CIA.
THR: What is vice, in fact?
Louis-Dreyfus: My definition of vice is: A metal tool with moveable jaws which are used to hold an object firmly in place while work is done on it. That’s what a vice is.
THR: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Louis-Dreyfus: I collect vices.
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