Julia Louis-Dreyfus Is the Veep

April 19, 2012

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep. Photo credit: HBO

What’s it like to be one step away from the most powerful position in the world? HBO’s new comedy Veep, starring Seinfeld alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus, explores this idea through the lens of a ridiculously disempowered Vice President.

Miles away from the man who leads the United States, Vice President Selina Meyer, played by Louis-Dreyfus, is the runner-up if anything goes wrong, but until then she’s pretty much useless. Unlike other shows about the White House where leaders appear confident and sagacious (The West Wing), Selina and her team are anything but. The White House excludes her from important information, and it’s never clear what party she or her administration is part of. Working in such a scattered environment without information or moral principles, it’s no wonder Selina’s office is overrun by incompetence. Lines like this reflect the status quo: “It’s your job to know that if I say ‘I have it covered’ I don’t have it covered and you cover me.”

To play the part of the Vice President Louis-Dreyfus had to do some homework. She spoke with former VP Al Gore, and studied the posture and gesticulations of politicians for hours on C-Span. She noticed many of them had a “clenched thumb” gesture which she uses in Veep.

Louise-Dreyfus got her first big break on SNL, where she met Larry David and was later cast in her career-changing role as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld. Since those days, she has acted in a variety of TV shows, including The New Adventures of Old Christine, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Watching Ellie, Arrested Development, and others. Veep will be another opportunity for her to show her talents to the world and we are excited to see what she has in store for us.

Tune in to the series premiere of Veep on Sunday, April 22, at 10 p.m., on HBO.