Julia Louis-Dreyfus Considers the Ethical Question of 'Downhill': "We All Think We Would Stay"

During her interview on 'The Late Show,' the actress emphasizes that the film, releasing Valentine's Day, explores what happens when "good people make bad choices."
Scott Kowalchyk/CBS
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on 'The Late Show'

Ahead of the release of her latest film, Downhill, Julia Louis-Dreyfus dropped by The Late Show on Tuesday to chat with host Stephen Colbert about the black comedy, which is an adaptation of the 2014 Swedish film Force Majeure.

Directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, Downhill tells the story of a couple whose marriage takes a hit when they are both involved in a near-disaster — an avalanche approaching an outdoor restaurant where they are seated —  while on a skiing vacation in Austria. 

As Louis-Dreyfus described a detail in the film where her husband, played by Will Ferrell, runs away from the approaching avalanche (and effectively away from his family), Colbert said "Every man wonders after that, 'What would I have done?'"

He asked his guest what her own husband [Brad Hall] would do, to which she replied with a half-smile, "Well, he absolutely would stay and protect me."

Striking a serious note, the actress went on to say, "We all think we would stay. But what this movie is about [is that] good people make bad choices. How does one redeem themselves [after that moment]?" The late-night host threw in a joke, "It's a great Valentine's Day [movie] if your relationship is very solid." 

As they wrapped up the conversation on the movie, Colbert pulled up a photograph of Louis-Dreyfus and Ferrell in their makeshift dressing room in the Austrian Alps, adding wood logs into a fireplace to stay warm. The actress admitted it was "very cold" on the mountaintop.  Asked if she ever took "a hit" of oxygen, she replied, "No, I'm tough as nails."

Of the experience, she concluded, "It really was fun, it was very exotic."

Speaking briefly about what Veep would be like if it was still happening now with the current Trump news cycle, Louis-Dreyfus joked about the president, "He's doing a far superior version of our show, except it's not even remotely funny, it's deadly serious." Colbert added that it has the tone of Chernobyl.

Downhill, which also features Zach Woods, Miranda Otto and Zoe Chao, hits theaters Feb. 14.