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Julia Louis-Dreyfus says she is just starting to feel back at full strength following her diagnosis of Stage 2 breast cancer. The Veep star spoke to The Washington Post ahead of receiving this year’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center, opening up about how she initially planned to handle treatment while filming the forthcoming final season of the HBO political comedy.
“Originally, I had this idea, ‘Well, we’ll shoot in between my chemo treatments,'” she said. “We could do that. Chemotherapy. What? That’s what sick people get. The whole thing was so astounding. I thought I could muscle through it, and to a certain extent, I did, because we did have table reads of scripts every three weeks. But I got really ill, so I couldn’t have ever shot anything during that period of time.”
The seventh and final season of Veep stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, an ex-president who is hopping back on the campaign trail for another shot at the Oval Office. Production on the season was ultimately pushed back to work around Louis-Dreyfus’ recovery and will air in spring 2019. For the first time since it launched in 2012, the Emmy-winning series was not eligible for the 2018 Emmy year.
The Seinfeld star, however, said she never considered walking away from the show early. “Oh, no,” she flatly replied when asked. Adding, “I love making people laugh, and I love making people cry even, and I find the pursuit of a truthful performance to be deeply satisfying to my core.”
And she also weighed in on whether or not getting sick has changed her perspective on life.
“You know what, I can’t quite answer that, because I feel like I’m still a little bit in the throes of it,” she said. “Except what I would say about the fragility of life, as tropey as that sounds — I really do feel like, I guess people die. You go through life not considering the eventual reality that you’re going to bite the dust, and so is everybody around you.”
Louis-Dreyfus, who had taken to social media throughout her treatment, documented her first day back on set in August. In a video of a behind-the-scenes moment before the first shot of season seven, Louis-Dreyfus addressed her cast and crew before morphing into her once-again presidential hopeful, Selina Meyer. “I really appreciate everyone coming back — working it out to come back. I’m very grateful, thank you very much,” she said, before throwing her hands up in the air for a “Season seven!” chant.
Recalling when she first landed the gig, back in 2010, Louis-Dreyfus told the Post that she saw the show as “ripe, low-hanging fruit” that, surprisingly, no one had tried to pick yet.
“This is going to sound strange but it sounded like really ripe, low-hanging fruit that no one had tried to pick,” she said. “Of course, a female vice president. It’s a perfect metaphor for being a woman and for ambition and everything. It’s conflict built in, and it’s ideal comedically. I couldn’t believe it. I met with [creator Armando Iannucci], and I thought, ‘Jesus Christ, I really hope I get this.'”
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