Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Actress / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In her three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Julia Louis-Dreyfus discusses her early work in comedy as a member of the Second City Improv group in Chicago, and explains how the experience helped her career. She talks about getting cast as a regular on Saturday Night Live, and speaks of working with Larry David. She recounts her role on NBC's Day by Day and working with Gary David Goldberg. She details her role as "Elaine Benes" on Seinfeld, describes working with the cast, and comments on the cultural phenomenon that the show became. She discusses starring in and producing the show Watching Ellie, and guest-starring on Arrested Development. Dreyfus then talks about starring in The New Adventures of Old Christine, and shares how she felt when the show was cancelled. She describes her current show Veep, outlining how it was pitched and how working for HBO differs from working for network television. She speaks of researching D.C politics to develop her character "Selina Meyer," and talks of winning an Emmy for the role. Amy Harrington conducted the interview in two parts on May 16 and June 5, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA.

"'Veep' was unlike anything I'd ever done before from a creative point of view. The script is never locked, ever. Sometimes you would start shooting and you wouldn't know where the story would end. It is a multi-layered organic (process) that is always moving. It has a grittiness and a rawness that is captured. As an actor, it is just very satisfying to play."

Highlights
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her character "Elaine Benes" on Seinfeld
02:41
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her dancing on Seinfeld and how it came about
01:45
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the Seinfeld finale
02:42
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on reuniting with the entire cast of Seinfeld  on Curb Your Enthusiasm
01:20
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on developing her character "Selina Meyer" on Veep; on speaking with actual Vice-Presidents and the research that went into creating the character
05:47
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on advice to aspiring actors
00:35
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on wanting to become an actress; on attending Northwestern University and the shows she performed in during college; on joining Second City
On getting cast on Saturday Night Live; on meeting her future husband Brad Hall at Saturday Night Live; on being on live television for the first time; on the legacy of Saturday Night Live
On moving to Los Angeles; on appearing on Family Ties and The Art of Being Nick  (a pilot spin-off from Family Ties); on getting cast on the NBC show Day by Day
On being cast on Seinfeld in 1990 as "Elaine Benes"; on the tone of the show and shooting her first four episodes

Chapter 2

On her character "Elaine Benes" on Seinfeld; on coming up with the phrase "Get OUT!"; on her character's strengths and weaknesses; on making Seinfeld's unlikable characters likable
On "Elaine Benes'" sense of style and hairstyle; on how the show dealt with her real-life pregnancy
On finally discovering how popular Seinfeld had become; on the lack of censorship on the show
On "Elaine's" relationships with "Jerry", "George" and "Kramer" on Seinfeld; on being the only woman in the ensemble cast
On her Seinfeld co-stars Patrick Warburton and John O'Hurley; on "Elaine's" dance skills
On winning an Emmy; on the Seinfeld series finale and her favorite moments from the series; on the legacy of Seinfeld
On playing herself on Curb Your Enthusiasm and reuniting with Seinfeld creator Larry David; on reuniting with the entire cast of Seinfeld on Curb Your Enthusiasm
On Watching Ellie - a labor of love show she worked on with her husband Brad Hall; on joining the cast of Arrested Development for several episodes in 2004

Chapter 3

On The New Adventures of Old Christine; on the show's premise
On the character "Christine Campbell" on The New Adventures of Old Christine; on the atmosphere on set and her favorite moments from the show; on The New Adventures of Old Christine  being cancelled by CBS
On how she came to guest star on Lisa Kudrow's show Web Therapy as her sister "Shevaun Haig" and working in improv again
On the premiere of Veep in 2012; on the creative freedom she experienced at HBO; on production on the show
On her character "Selina Meyer" and how she researched the Vice Presidency for the role

Chapter 4

On "Selina Meyer's" strengths and weaknesses on Veep; on making the character relatable; on whether her Veep character is "real"
On  her castmates on Veep: Anna Chlumsky as "Amy Brookheimer", Tony Hale as "Gary Walsh", Reid Scott as "Dan Egan", Matt Walsh as "Mike McLintock", Timothy Simons as "Jonah Ryan", and Sufe Bradshaw as "Sue Wilson"
On her duties as a producer on Veep; on how headlines play a role in the plot; on "Selina Meyer's" style on Veep
On her favorite improv moments on the show; on winning an Emmy for her role on Veep; on advice to aspiring actors
Shows

Arrested Development

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on joining the cast of Arrested Development for several episodes in 2004
01:58

Curb Your Enthusiasm

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on playing herself on Curb Your Enthusiasm  and reuniting with Seinfeld  creator Larry David
01:40
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on reuniting with the entire cast of Seinfeld  on Curb Your Enthusiasm
01:20

Day by Day

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on getting cast as "Eileen Swift" on NBC's Day by Day  in 1988
02:08

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on winning an Emmy for her Seinfeld character "Elaine Benes"
01:08
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on winning an Emmy for her role as "Selina Meyer" on Veep
00:48

Family Ties

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on meeting Gary David Goldberg and guest-starring on Family Ties
00:54

New Adventures of Old Christine, The

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the creation and premise of The New Adventures of Old Christine
01:49
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her castmates on The New Adventures of Old Christine;  on bringing in comedian Wanda Sykes to play her best friend
00:40
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her character "Christine Campbell" on The New Adventures of Old Christine;  on the character's personality traits, strengths and weaknesses, and how she "devolved"
02:27
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Christine Campbell's" relationship with her brother on The New Adventures of Old Christine
00:55
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the atmosphere on the set of The New Adventures of Old Christine
02:00
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her favorite moments and episodes of The New Adventures of Old Christine
01:17
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on The New Adventures of Old Christine being cancelled by CBS
00:38

Saturday Night Live

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on getting cast on Saturday Night Live after a play performance
01:35
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the state of Saturday Night Live when she joined the cast and what she learned from the show
03:11
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on not quite finding her groove on Saturday Night Live
00:46
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her first time doing live television on Saturday Night Live
01:58
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her favorite memories from Saturday Night Live - meeting guest hosts
03:05
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on why she left Saturday Night Live
00:48
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on hosting Saturday Night Live in 2006 and 2007
03:37

Seinfeld

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on being cast on Seinfeld as "Elaine Benes"; on almost not being able to get out of her contract with Warner Bros. for the part
04:45
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on shooting her first four episodes of Seinfeld; on the tone of the show
01:10
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the tone of Seinfeld and clicking with the cast
01:39
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her character "Elaine Benes" on Seinfeld
02:41
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her character "Elaine Benes'" phrase "GET OUT!" on Seinfeld
00:38
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her Seinfeld character "Elaine Benes'" strengths and weaknesses; on making Seinfeld's unlikable characters likable
01:49
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Elaine Benes'" sense of style on Seinfeld; on hiding her real-life pregnancy on the show
03:47
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on how iconic Seinfeld became and when she first realized how big an audience the show had amassed
03:51
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on there not being censorship issues in "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld
00:35
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on why Larry David was a great showrunner on Seinfeld; on his dedication to the show
00:32
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Elaine" and "Jerry's" relationship on Seinfeld and the Seinfeld episode "The Deal" when "Elaine" and "Jerry" sleep together again; on how Larry David helped craft the episode
02:21
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Elaine" and "George's" relationship on Seinfeld
01:34
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Elaine" and "Kramer's" relationship on Seinfeld
00:35
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on being the only woman on the set of Seinfeld
00:42
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "David Puddy," one of "Elaine's" boyfriends on Seinfeld
00:56
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her Seinfeld co-star John O'Hurley who played her boss "J. Peterman" and who went on to buy the J. Peterman Company in real life
01:18
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her dancing on Seinfeld and how it came about
01:45
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on winning an Emmy for her Seinfeld character "Elaine Benes"
01:08
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld coming to an end
00:45
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the Seinfeld finale
02:42
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her favorite moments from Seinfeld 
01:32
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on where her Seinfeld character "Elaine Benes" would be today
00:10
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld's legacy
00:50
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the secrecy around shooting the finale of Seinfeld
00:52

Seinfeld: "The Contest"

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on there not being censorship issues in "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld
00:35

Seinfeld: "The Finale"

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the Seinfeld  finale
02:42
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the secrecy around shooting the finale of Seinfeld
00:52

Veep

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the premiere of Veep  in 2012; on how the subject matter was a "goldmine for comedy" 
01:38
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Veep's creator Armando Iannucci and the creative freedom she found working at HBO on Veep
05:59
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Veep's rehearsal process and production
01:59
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the Veep plotline about her character's pregnancy and how director Chris Morris creatively dealt with it
01:47
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on developing her character "Selina Meyer" on Veep; on speaking with actual Vice-Presidents and the research that went into creating the character
05:47
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on how she developed certain gestures for her role as "Selina Meyer" on Veep
01:42
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on not modeling "Selina Meyer" on Veep after a real person
01:26
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her castmates on Veep: Anna Chlumsky as "Amy Brookheimer", Tony Hale as "Gary Walsh", Reid Scott as "Dan Egan", Matt Walsh as "Mike McLintock", Timothy Simons as "Jonah Ryan", and Sufe Bradshaw as "Sue Wilson"
08:22
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her role as a Producer on Veep
00:53
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Selina Meyer's" strengths and weaknesses on Veep; on making the character relatable
06:25
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on how headline news plays a role in the Veep storylines
02:20
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Selina Meyer's" style on Veep
01:25
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on one of her favorite improv moments on Veep from Season 2 Episode 9; on the chair swivel
04:27
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on winning an Emmy for her role as "Selina Meyer" on Veep 
00:48

Watching Ellie

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Watching Ellie - a labor of love show she worked on with her husband Brad Hall
03:52

Web Therapy

View Show Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on appearing on Web Therapy as Lisa Kudrow's sister; on working in improv again
01:39
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on advice to aspiring actors
00:35

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on there not being censorship issues in "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld
00:35

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her character "Elaine Benes'" phrase "GET OUT!" on Seinfeld
00:38
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her character "Elaine Benes" on Seinfeld
05:08
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on developing her character "Selina Meyer" on Veep
02:19
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Selina Meyer's" strengths and weaknesses on Veep; on making the character relatable
06:25

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on being the only woman on the set of Seinfeld
00:42
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the atmosphere on the largely female set of The New Adventures of Old Christine
02:00

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on winning an Emmy for her Seinfeld character "Elaine Benes" 
01:08
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on winning an Emmy for her role as "Selina Meyer" on Veep  

Fame and Celebrity

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on how iconic Seinfeld  became and when she first realized how big an audience the show had amassed
03:51

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on being the only woman on the set of Seinfeld
00:42
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the atmosphere on the largely female set of The New Adventures of Old Christine
02:00

Overcoming Adversity

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Gary David Goldberg helping her with a contract dispute with Warner Bros. and the valuable lesson she learned from him
02:09

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Gary David Goldberg helping her with a contract dispute with Warner Bros. and the valuable lesson she learned from him
02:09

Pop Culture

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on how iconic Seinfeld  became and when she first realized how big an audience the show had amassed
03:51
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her character "Elaine Benes'" phrase "GET OUT!" on Seinfeld
00:38
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her character "Elaine Benes" on Seinfeld
05:08
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on developing her character "Selina Meyer" on Veep
02:19
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Selina Meyer's" strengths and weaknesses on Veep; on making the character relatable
06:25

Television Industry

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on there not being censorship issues in "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld
00:35
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on advice to aspiring actors
00:35

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on what she learned about the Vice-Presidency through her work on Veep; on how her view of politics has changed 
04:21

Women

View Topic
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on being the only woman on the set of Seinfeld
00:42
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the atmosphere on the largely female set of The New Adventures of Old Christine
02:00
Professions

Actress

View Profession
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her early interest in acting
02:39
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the challenge of portraying a version of herself on Curb Your Enthusiasm
01:40
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on developing her character "Selina Meyer" on Veep; on speaking with actual Vice-Presidents and the research that went into creating the character
05:47
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on developing her character "Selina Meyer" on Veep; on speaking with actual Vice-Presidents and the research that went into creating the character
05:47
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on one of her favorite improv moments on Veep
04:27
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on advice to aspiring actors
00:35

Performers

View Profession
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her early interest in acting
02:39
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the challenge of portraying a version of herself on Curb Your Enthusiasm
01:40
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on one of her favorite improv moments on Veep
04:27
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on advice to aspiring actors
00:35

Producers

View Profession
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her role as a Producer on Veep
00:53
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on being cast on Seinfeld as "Elaine Benes"; on almost not being able to get out of her contract with Warner Bros. for the part
04:45
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on shooting her first four episodes of Seinfeld; on the tone of the show and clicking with the cast
02:51
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Seinfeld
33:11
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on playing "Selina Meyer" on Veep
20:19
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on starring in The New Adventures of Old Christine
09:46
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on playing "Selina Meyer" on Veep
24:40
People

Jason Alexander

View Interview Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Jason Alexander's character "George Costanza" on Seinfeld
00:56
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Elaine" and "George's" relationship on Seinfeld
01:34

Drew Barrymore

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Drew Barrymore guest-hosting on Saturday Night Live
00:50

Dan Bucatinksy

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on appearing on Web Therapy as Lisa Kudrow's sister
00:25

Anna Chlumsky

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her castmates on Veep - on actress Anna Chlumsky as "Amy Brookheimer"
01:31

Larry David

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on meeting Larry David when she was a cast member on Saturday Night Live
00:05
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on being approached by Larry David to star in Seinfeld as "Elaine Benes"
01:43
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on why Larry David was a great showrunner on Seinfeld; on his dedication to the show
00:32
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Elaine" and "Jerry's" relationship on Seinfeld and the Seinfeld episode "The Deal" when "Elaine" and "Jerry" sleep together again; on how Larry David helped craft the episode
02:21
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on playing herself on Curb Your Enthusiasm  and reuniting with Seinfeld  creator Larry David
01:40
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on reuniting with the entire cast of Seinfeld  on Curb Your Enthusiasm
01:20

Gary David Goldberg

View Interview Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on meeting Gary David Goldberg, guest-starring on Family Ties, and getting hired on Day by Day
00:54
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Gary David Goldberg helping her with a contract dispute with Warner Bros. and the valuable lesson she learned from him
02:09

Tony Hale

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on joining the cast of Arrested Development for several episodes in 2004
00:26
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her castmates on Veep - Tony Hale as "Gary Walsh" (the Vice President's bag-man)
02:12

Brad Hall

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Watching Ellie - a labor of love show she worked on with her husband Brad Hall
03:52

Mitchell Hurwitz

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on joining the cast of Arrested Development for several episodes in 2004
01:58

Armando Iannucci

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Veep's creator Armando Iannucci and how much she enjoys Veep
05:14

Lisa Kudrow

View Interview Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on appearing on Web Therapy as Lisa Kudrow's sister; on working in improv again
01:39

Kari Lizer

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the atmosphere on the largely female set of The New Adventures of Old Christine
02:00

John O'Hurley

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her Seinfeld co-star John O'Hurley who played her boss "J. Peterman" and who went on to buy the J. Peterman Company in real life
01:18

Michael Richards

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Elaine" and "Kramer's" relationship on Seinfeld
00:35

Reid Scott

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Reid Scott as "Dan Egan" on Veep
01:17

Jerry Seinfeld

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on being approached by Larry David to star in Seinfeld as "Elaine Benes" and meeting Jerry Seinfeld
01:05
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the tone of Seinfeld and clicking with the cast
01:39
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on "Elaine" and "Jerry's" relationship on Seinfeld and the Seinfeld episode "The Deal" when "Elaine" and "Jerry" sleep together again; on how Larry David helped craft the episode
02:21
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the last group hug before shooting the Seinfeld  finale
01:07

Wanda Sykes

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on bringing in comedian Wanda Sykes to play her best friend The New Adventures of Old Christine
00:16

Stevie Wonder

View Person Page
Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her favorite memories from Saturday Night Live - meeting Stevie Wonder
01:12

All Interviews

Q
S